Tigard bests Newberg in thrilling contest
TIGARD — Before Friday night's football game between Tigard and Newberg, a show of defiance toward the Newberg school board took center stage as the Tigard High student section was filled with Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ Pride signage, the Tigard team knelt, and the public address announcer shared a message of inclusion and solidarity with marginalized groups.
Given the past few weeks of news in the city of Newberg, the message couldn't have been clearer or more poignant through the lens of sports.
When the dust settled on the pregame events, the two teams with Tigers as their mascots played a thrilling football game. Tigard emerged victorious 27-23.
"They are tough kids, and with the amount of scrutiny that is on our players and our program and the entire school right now, there is more incentive to show up and battle," Newberg coach Jeremy Johnson said. "They played their hearts out and it was impressive. A lot of programs around the state can see how hard our kids play.
"I think our kids are handling everything that's been going on tremendously. The school, the administration, everyone working in the school district is supporting these kids and every other sports team in our school. These kids are getting a ton of love from our community."
Tigard opened the scoring with a 17-yard pass from Cameron Masters-Doble to Karson Boschma. Through one quarter, they held a 7-0 lead.
On the first play of the second quarter, Newberg tied it up on a deceptive play. Wideout Sam Murphy took the reverse handoff and sprinted 57 yards for the score, knotting it up 7-7.
After a big kickoff return to the Newberg 33, Tigard scored again on a two-yard run by Luke Davis. A missed extra point made it 13-7 Tigard at that point.
Newberg's next offensive drive took just two plays. After a 49-yard run by Price Pothier, the athletic Murphy got on his horse again and scored on another long run, making it 14-13 Newberg midway through the second quarter.
Late in the second, Tigard reached paydirt again, taking advantage of a lost fumble by Newberg's Hudson Davis. Tigard scored on a short run by Konner Grant to take a 20-14 lead.
A 27-yard field goal by Newberg brought the margin down to 20-17 at the half.
On its first drive of the second half, Newberg marched down the field and scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak from Levi Durrell. Pothier's running fueled the Newberg Tigers' offensive success, and after a blocked extra point, they led 23-20 in the third.
After a tremendous performance on the ground, Pothier (a senior) went down with an apparent leg injury later in the third quarter and had to be helped off the field by trainers without putting weight on his right leg.
With 8:33 to go in the game, Tigard scored the deciding touchdown on an 11-yard pass from Masters-Doble to Austin Goetz. That made it 27-23. Newberg had multiple chances including a trip to the red zone, but was unable to get the touchdown it needed.
"Our defense hung in tight," Johnson said. "They had a couple plays where they were able to get the ball in over the top, and our offense stalled at times in that second half. The field position battle became the big thing in that second half."
Newberg falls to 0-4 with the loss, while Tigard improves to 2-2. Next up for Newberg is its Pacific Conference opener on the road at Sherwood Oct. 1.
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