Westview's new-look Cats rack up the points in a 51-35 win vs. Tigard
TIGARD - It's not often a team gives up 35 points, but owes its win to its defense.
But that was the case in Westview's 51-35 season-opening victory over Tigard on Friday.
The Wildcats consistently turned Tiger turnovers into points, blowing open the game by making four interceptions and picking up three fumbles. Westview scored 35 of its points after Tigers turnovers, including 28 straight to turn a 14-10 deficit into a 44-14 rout early in the fourth quarter.
The Wildcats blitzed and pressured the Tigers' backfield consistently to create some of the miscues. On others, Tigard simply fumbled away handoffs and snaps its shotgun set.
'We've been working so hard reading all their runs and passes,' said Westview end Andrew DeGarmo, who had three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery. 'We were extremely confident coming in. Our defense kept holding and sooner than later the game was ours.'
And it all started with one game-changing play. 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 forced Tigard turnovers on six of seven possessions.
Tigard scored on two of its first three drives, but things began to go wrong after that. On Tigard's next series, quarterback Isaiah Ferrer (who started 6-of-9 passing with two touchdowns) fumbled the snap, then made a desperation throw to the left flat. Wells read the play perfectly, stepped in to deflect the ball, then collected it in stride and raced in to score untouched for a 17-14 Westview lead.
'That was my coverage area and I just jumped in front of it,' Wells said. 'Once the ball was in the air, I knew I would get it and run it in.'
And it only led to more of the same. On Tigard's ensuing drive, Westview's Andrew Jones stole the ball out of the intended receiver's hands for the first of his two interceptions. Three plays later, Westview quarterback Josh Hill scrambled and found Kamal Ali for a leaping 14-yard TD catch and a 24-14 lead.
The Tigers had a chance to respond after pinning Westview deep in its end, then taking over after three Wildcat plays and Ryan Gorton's 14-yard punt return later to the Westview 22.
After a penalty negated a touchdown and a dropped pass in the end zone prevented another score, Brian Kostol kicked a 37-yard field goal. But Westview roughed the kicker and Tigard took the points off the board.
The plan backfired on the next play when DeGarmo intercepted Gorton's pass and the Wildcats took a 24-14 lead into halftime.
Westview kept rolling after intermission too, while Tigard continued to throw away its chances. Tigard fumbled on its first two possessions with Westview quickly cashing in on the second when Jones hauled in a 28-yard pass from Hill to score.
'You're expecting the opponent to come out and get after you after halftime,' Westview coach Jon Evans said. 'But we got after them.'
Tigard blocked the extra point attempt, but the ball kept bouncing Westview's way - Kaale Papas scooped it up and bulled into the end zone for the two-point conversion and 32-14 lead.
Jones' second interception ended Tigard's next drive, and Westview put the ball in running back Duane Prewitt's hands the next eight plays. Prewitt, who finished with 84 rushing yards and three touchdowns total, ran the left side three consecutive times for gains of 10, 7 and 13 yards to take the Cats inside Tigard's 10.
'If the lineman block, I'll find a place to run,' Prewitt said. 'We just had to keep up the intensity.'
Two plays later, Hill escaped three would-be tacklers, headed upfield before cutting to the left sideline and diving for a stunning 13-yard touchdown run.
'I think he's a pretty special athlete and he showed that tonight,' Evans said of his first-year starter. 'He's running our offense like he's being doing it longer than he has.'
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 TD and 44-14 lead.
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.
Westview's ensuing possession and Spencer Hansen scooped up the loose ball and ran it in for a 9-yard touchdown. But the Wildcats finished off the Tigers when Prewitt ran off tackle untouched for a 17-yard touchdown and 51-28 lead.
Gorton caught his second touchdown pass late in the game before Westview ended its win.