Turnovers take toll on Tigard's Tigers
- Bill Wilson
- The Times - Sports
Westview, taking advantage of the miscues, scores a 51-35 victory
TIGARD - Everything appeared in working order for a talented, yet inexperienced Tigard football team through the first few drives of its season opener.
The Tigers had the home crowd and a 14-10 lead working for them early in the second quarter of its non-conference game against Westview on Friday.
One game-changing play later and the Wildcats were on their way to starting the season with an emotional uplift while Tigard was left wondering how the wheels fell off.
Wildcat defensive back Dan Wells returned a interception 15 yards for a touchdown and 17-14 Westview lead, sparking a 34-0 run in which the Wildcats took advantage of numerous Tigard miscues.
The youthful Tigers tossed four interceptions and fumbled eight times, losing three, allowing Westview to pull away for a 51-35 victory.
'I think our offense played poorly,' Tigard coach Mitch Sanders said. 'And as the game went on, our defense decided to join them. All around, just not a good effort. That's a game we feel like we have the talent to win. We imploded and whooped ourselves.'
And the Wildcats made sure to take advantage of nearly every Tigard mistake.
Westview scored 35 of its points after a Tigers' turnover, including 28 straight to help turn a 14-10 deficit into a 44-14 advantage by early in the fourth quarter.
'When we first came out, our offense was running well, but turnovers killed us,' Tigard senior receiver Justin Lehner said. 'You can't win a football game with that many turnovers.'
Tigard scored on two of its first three drives, before its fourth ended on the first play. A fumbled shotgun snap led quarterback Isaiah Ferrer, who started 6 of 9 with two touchdowns, to make a desperation throw to the left flat. Wells read the play perfectly, stepping in front of the pass to deflect it into the air before collecting the ball in stride and running into the end zone untouched for a 15-yard touchdown and 17-14 Westview lead.
'That interception return for a touchdown was huge in my opinion,' Sanders said.
And it only led to more of the same. On Tigard's ensuing drive, Andrew Jones stole the ball out of a intended receiver's hands for the first of his two interceptions.
Three plays later, Westview quarterback Josh Hill scrambled and found Kamal Ali open in the end zone for a leaping 14-yard touchdown reception and 24-14 lead.
The Tigers' had a chance to respond after Lehner's punt and Axel Cederberg's acrobatic effort saved the ball from bouncing into the end zone to pin Westview at its own 1-yard line. Three plays and Ryan Gorton's 14-yard punt return later, Tigard was on the Westview 22.
An intentional grounding penalty set them back, but consecutive pass interference calls kept the drive alive. Gorton hooked up with Lehner for a 15-yard touchdown pass, but the score was negated by a penalty.
After a dropped pass in the end zone, Brian Kostol kicked a 37-yard field goal. But Westview was called for roughing the kicker and Tigard elected to take the points off the board.
The plan backfired on the next play when Andrew DeGarmo, who had three sacks and a fumble recovery, intercepted Gorton's pass along the Westview sideline and the Wildcats took a 24-14 lead into halftime.
Things didn't get much better for the Tigers after the intermission. Tigard fumbled the ball away its first two possessions with Westview quickly cashing in on the second turnover when Jones hauled in a 28-yard pass from Hill in the left corner of the end zone.
Tigard blocked the extra point attempt, but the ball kept bouncing Westview's way as Kaale Papas scooped up the pigskin and bulled his way into the end zone for the two-point conversion and 32-14 lead.
Jones' second interception ended Tigard's next drive after two plays. Westview put the ball in its shifty running back Duane Prewitt's hands the next eight plays. Prewitt, who finished with 84 rushing yards and three touchdowns, ran the left side three consecutive times for gains of 10, 7 and 13 yards to take Westview inside Tigard's 10-yard line.
Two plays later, it was Hill's turn. The sophomore quarterback escaped three would-be tacklers in the backfield on his way to scoring from 13 yards out.
After a Tigard three-and-out, Westview went back on the attack to close out its 34-0 run, set up by Wells' 38-yard reception to the Tigers' 6. On third-and-goal, Prewitt grabbed a screen pass from Hill, juked one tackler in the backfield and streaked toward the outside, slipping inside the pylon for a 7-yard touchdown and 44-14 lead.
'Nobody was wrapping up,' Tigard linebacker Zach Leary said. 'We couldn't tackle.'
'When we needed to get him (Prewitt), we couldn't,' Lehner added.
Tigard finally got back on the board with a 10-play, 61-yard drive, but it was too little, too late. Gorton capped the drive by twisting his way into the end zone while dragging two defenders for a 24-yard touchdown reception. But the Tigers still trailed 44-20 midway through the final quarter.
Tigard maintained some hope when Prewitt fumbled on the first play of Westview's ensuing possession and Spencer Hansen scooped up the loose ball and ran it in for a 9-yard touchdown.
Westview punted its next possession, but Tigard did the same after three consecutive incompletions. The Wildcats finished off the Tigers when Prewitt ran off tackle untouched for a 17-yard touchdown and 51-28 lead.
Gorton, who finished with seven catches for 83 yards, caught his second touchdown pass late in the game before Westview took a knee to finish off the upset.
Things don't get much easier for Tigard in the upcoming weeks with a game at last year's state runner-up Lincoln this Friday before traveling to perennial powerhouse Sheldon and hosting defending state champion Jesuit.
'We're green, but we've got good kids,' Sanders said. 'Unfortunately, it's not a good time to be green because the big dogs are lined up.'
'We have the talent,' Lehner said. 'We just can't make those mistakes. We beat ourselves.'