Tigard pulls away in second half to top Pacers
LAKE OSWEGO — The first half was definitely a battle.
It was maybe an unexpected battle that left the Tigard and Lakeridge high school football teams in a 7-7 tie going into the halftime break.
The Pacers were pretty happy about that. The Tigers, well, not so much.
The second half was a different story, and Tigard was happy about that.
The top-ranked Tigers, following the first-half deadlock, scored 28 unanswered points in the second half on their way to getting a 41-14 win over Lakeridge in a Three Rivers League game played Friday at Lakeridge High School.
"It was good. We prepared all week, but I don't think we took them as seriously that we should have," said Tigard junior offensive lineman/linebacker Aden Murphy, who had a quarterback sack in the win. "In the second half, we came out and played how we should have. In the first half, we didn't execute like we wanted to. In the second half, we knew we had to fire off, and that's what we did."
"We started slow. We shot ourselves in the foot all game with penalties," said Tigard senior Hunter Gilbert, who scored four rushing touchdowns in the contest. "But, overall, we still played hard. We had great blocking. It was a good team win."
With the victory, Tigard improved to 4-0 in TRL play (7-0 overall), putting the Tigers alone in first place in the Three Rivers League standings.
"That feels great, but it's on to the next week," Murphy said of the 7-0 start to the season.
A year ago, the Tigers were off to a 6-0 start to the season before falling 48-38 to Lakeridge. That loss, combined with the slow start in Friday's game, may have had Tigard thinking back to last year.
We were struggling, and we remembered last year," said Tigard senior Max Lenzy, who had a touchdown catch in the win. "We just had to clean up the penalties, and stuff. We definitely had a good turnaround. This was good. They beat us last year when we were undefeated, so, to get over this hump was kind of great relief."
Lakeridge moved to 2-4 in TRL games (3-4 overall), putting the Pacers in fifth place in the league standings. Still, Lakeridge is looking to build off its strong first-half performance in Friday's game.
"I think, in the first half, we really locked in," said Pacer senior quarterback Cooper Justice, who had a touchdown run and a touchdown pass in the contest. "In the second half, I think we lost a little bit of the momentum that we had. And I think they came back and made some adjustments. That's a really great team over there, but we've got a great team over here. I think you saw that with some of our plays. We've just got to keep that locked in for a full game, and then there's really no limits to what this team can do."
"That first half, we came out and we were firing on all cylinders," said Lakeridge senior tight end/linebacker Ty Glumbik, who had a TD catch in the game. "We talked about punching them in the mouth first, and I think we did that. Right from the get-go, in that first half, we came out there and gave it our all. We just need to work on finishing. We need to go in the second half with that same mentality."
Tigard, in its first offensive possession of the contest, committed four penalties, including three holding calls. That would turn out to be a theme for the Tigers in the first half of the contest.
Still, the Tigers took the early lead.
In its second possession, Tigard moved 61 yards in seven plays, capping off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run by Gilbert, giving the Tigers a 7-0 lead with 11 minutes and 52 seconds left to play in the second quarter.
The determined Lakeridge squad answered right back. In the Pacers' ensuing possession, a 30-yard run by senior Jalen John and passes of 28 yards from Justice to senior Carson Mike, and 10 yards from Justice to senior Matt Petersen, helped set up a 6-yard touchdown run by Justice, which tied the score a 7-7 with 8:09 remaining in the second quarter.
Neither team was able to score in the remainder of the period, with both squads' defenses stepping up, keeping the score at 7-7 going into halftime.
But it seemed to be a much-more fired-up Tiger team that took the field for the second half.
"We got our focus a little more, changed a couple of things, and finished it off," Gilbert said.
Tigard opened the third quarter by putting together another 69-yard scoring drive. A 16-yard pass from junior quarterback Drew Carter to Lenzy, and a 14-yard run by Lenzy, helped set up Gilbert's 9-yard touchdown run, which upped the Tiger lead to 14-7 with 7:45 left in the period.
In Tigard's next possession, a 17-yard run by senior Josh Burns set the table for Carter to score on a 15-yard run, upping the margin to 21-7 with 4:52 remaining in the third quarter.
The Tigers stuck again quickly the next time they had the ball. Carter and Lenzy teamed up for a 27-yard touchdown on a play-action pass, making the score 28-7 with 4.5 seconds left in the third quarter.
"It was a great call," Lenzy said. "We were running it down their throats. They were running cover-2, and we got behind them. The line had some great blocking and it was a good play all around."
The Tigers, continuing their second-half scoring spree, then got a 12-yard touchdown run by Gilbert, upping the lead to 35-7 with 10:09 left to play in the contest.
Lakeridge, still fighting, came back with a 65-yard scoring drive, which ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass from Justice to Glumbik, who was falling backwards when he made a scooping catch at the goal line, cutting the Tigard lead to 35-14 with 7:29 left in the game.
"That was the first touchdown of my high school career, so that's pretty cool," Glumbik said. "It feels great. It was a low catch, but I knew it was my one chance to get a touchdown, so I made sure to pull that in."
"That's what I love about this team," Justice said. "We don't quit, no matter what the scoreboard says. We give up some big plays, but we don't quit. We want to keep fighting. We want to punch you in the mouth."
Gilbert's fourth touchdown run of the game, this one a 1-yard blast coming with 2:31 left to play in the game, capped off the scoring in the Tigers' 41-14 win.
"That feels good," Gilbert said of his four-touchdown night. "It was just great blocking all around."
Behind the blocking of linemen Edward Beglaryan, Bryce Goetz, Erik Schulz, Murphy and Johnny Nomani, as well as tight ends Andrew Carter and Kamryn Hosley, among others, Gilbert ran for 197 yards on 32 carries in the contest. He had 142 of those yards, on 22 carries, in the decisive second half. Burns added 54 yards on seven carries.
Carter completed 11 of 16 pass attempts for 140 yards and a touchdown, with no interceptions. Lenzy had three catches ford 74 yards. Andrew Carter, senior Cole Scott and Gilbert had two catches apiece.
The Tigard defense, which limited Lakeridge to just 49 yards of offense in the second half (193 for the game), had seven quarterback sacks in the contest.
"(Tigard defensive coach Shane) Kessler does a great job game-planning for that," Murphy said. "We like to load the box, and our secondary is great at keeping coverage. We get to the quarterback, and they stay on the receivers, and it works well."
Hosley had three quarterback sacks for the Tigers. Murphy, Andrew Carter and Nomani each had a quarterback sack and a tackle for a loss. Gilbert added a tackle for a loss and junior Hewitt Sullivan had an interception.
"There's still a little bit of a sour taste in our mouth, because we know we should have won by a lot more, but we're still happy with the win," Murphy said.
"It was good," Lenzy said. "We all stayed calm and collected. We know we're a really good team, we just had to come together and get the 'W.'"
For Lakeridge, John rushed for 117 yards on 20 carries. Justice completed four of 12 pass attempts for 57 yards, in addition to rushing for a touchdown. Mike, Petersen, Glumbik and senior Xander Houck had one catch apiece.
"I really love these guys. I'm really proud of them, and it was a good game," Justice said. "We all know how good this team can be, and we're excited to work this week."
"We're looking at this as a positive. That first half, we were right there with them," Glumbik said. "We just have to work on keep fighting in the second half. We have to work on playing all four quarters."
Both teams will be back in action next Friday. Tigard will host West Linn in a Three Rivers League game. Lakeridge will travel to Bend for a non-league contest. Both of those games are set to start at 7 p.m.
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