Tualatin flexes its muscles in 58-25 win over Westview
Bigger, faster, stronger. Maybe it was a bit of that, but more than anything Tualatin was just better in a 58-25 second round state playoff win over Westview Friday night, Nov. 12, on a warm, wet night at Tualatin High School.
"We were pretty fierce," Tualatin head coach Dan Lever said. "We won every phase of that football game and we did it with our physicality."
The Timberwolves' Malik Ross scored six first half touchdowns, including an 80-yard kickoff return, and finished with 170 yards rushing on 19 carries. But as good as he was, Lever was quick to point to his guys in the trenches that made the difference against a highly skilled Westview team.
"Everybody always wants to focus on the skill players, but it's the guys that put their hands in the dirt that win football games," the coach said. "Guys like Charlie Freadman, Lucas Edwards, Drew Corcoran, Jake Helton, CJ Hazelett, Richie Anderson, Kellen Hale, Brandon Chin, and I'm sure I'm forgetting someone, but the guys absolutely played their butts off against a very talented offensive squad. This game is about physicality and turnovers, and we won those far and away."
That they did. The Wolves intercepted Westview quarterback Sam Leavitt six times, the first of which came on the Wildcats' third play from scrimmage when Tualatin's Cole Prusia jumped an out-route and went 35 yards for the game's first score.
Prusia said the play was no coincidence, and in fact it was something they picked up on during film study earlier in the week.
"We schemed it all week," Prusia said. "Practice and repetition is how we got here, and then the instincts took over and it was a heck of a way to start the game."
The standout receiver and defensive back said he knew they had something special this week, beginning with practice and ending in the locker room just before kickoff.
"I don't even know how to describe it, there was just an intensity," he said. "It's about everyone doing their job, and there's not just one leader on this team. Everybody leads together and we feed off each other."
The game â€“ which featured two of the state's most potent offensive teams â€“ was fast-paced from the start. After Prusia's pick-six, Westview answered with a 74-yard touchdown pass to standout receiver Darrius Clemons which cut the Wolves' lead to 8-6.
Ross made it 15-6 with his first score two drives later, but the teams then went back-and-forth before Ross' kick return put the home team ahead 29-19.
From there it was nearly all Wolves, who got three more scores from their running back en route to a 51-25 halftime lead.
Lever nearly ran out of superlatives to describe the senior back, but said his contributions are countless â€“ on and off the field.
"The guy is just lightning in a bottle," Lever said. "He plays damn near every play and we rode him tonight. He's just an unbelievable kid and player, and I'm lucky to get to coach a guy like that."
Equally impressive were Westview's Clemons and running back Jordan Fisher. Clemons is one of the country's most sought after recruits and looked the part in catching three balls for 109 yards and a score. Meanwhile Fisher tallied 23 carries for 100 yards, while catching three balls for 104 yards and two total scores.
It wasn't their night, but Clemons couldn't hide his love for his team and their otherwise outstanding season in the aftermath of their defeat.
"Man, I love my teammates," he said as he fought-back tears. "That's one of the best teams in the state and they're probably going to win the state championship, but my guys played to the last snap."
Clemons said they hoped to take away Tualatin's outstanding receiving corp as part of the gameplan, and for the most part thought they did a good job. But in the end it was Ross that did the damage, and that fact didn't come as a surprise to the Wildcats star.
"He's (Ross) a dude," Clemons said. "I don't know how many yards he rushed for, and he ran through me a few times, but all respect to him and that team. They were the better team tonight."
Now Tualatin will face Summit of Bend, who defeated Roseburg 37-19 in their second round game Friday night. Prusia said they'll be ready, and additionally their mindset won't change.
"It's win or go home, and none of us want to go home," he said. "So we'll keep putting all our blood, sweat and tears into this, studying those playbooks and working in practice, and obviously that worked tonight."
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.