Tualatin builds up a 23-0 lead at Beaverton, then holds on to win 23-16 on Friday night
by: DAN BROOD, ‘E’ FOR EFFORT — A long pass sails just out of the reach of diving Tualatin receiver Matt Losli while Beaverton's Nieco Biggi defends the play during Beaverton’s 23-16 home loss on Friday night.

BEAVERTON - Beaverton's first-ever game with Tualatin proved to be a memorable one.

And a late, furious Beaver rally almost made it a game that the Wolves would want to forget.

Beaverton, in the very first meeting of the two perennial powerhouses, found itself trailing Tualatin 23-0 at halftime. But the young Beaver squad came back strong, scoring a pair of late touchdowns to make the final score 23-16 in the season-opening non-league high school football game played Friday at Beaverton High School.

'We're young, and we want to build on this,' said Beaverton senior receiver Tyler McBee, who had seven receptions for 71 yards in the contest. 'This shows we can play.'

'I don't think we lost so much as we just ran out of time,' said Beaverton coach Bob Boyer. 'I'm extremely proud of the kids and how they stepped it up in the second half.'

With the win, the Timberwolves start their season with a 1-0 record, while Beaverton fell to 0-1.

The Wolves, from the Pacific Conference, controlled the game in the early going, getting points from their offense, their defense and their special teams in the first half.

Junior Jesse Clemente got Tualatin off to a roaring start as he returned the opening kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown. Senior Glauber Mazzo added the extra point kick to give the Wolves a 7-0 lead just 13 seconds into the contest.

The Wolves upped their lead to 14-0 with 6:13 left to play in the first half thanks to a spectacular 64-yard touchdown run by senior Kyle Johnson. On the TD run, Johnson, who ran for 255 yards on 31 carries in the contest, powered his way through the line and then seemed to bounce off of a pair of fallen Beaverton would-be tacklers on his way to the end zone.

The Tualatin defense then got into the scoring act.

With the Beavers backed up on their own 6-yard line, Tualatin junior defensive end Woody Toms sacked Beaverton quarterback Austin Potter for a safety, giving Tualatin a 16-0 lead with 3:53 remaining before halftime.

The Wolves weren't done yet either. Johnson, following the blocks of Wakefield and fullback Dennis Ranck, scored on a 1-yard run with 51 seconds left in the first half to give the Wolves a 23-0 lead at the intermission.

Beaverton, however, got some key defensive plays, including a fumble recovery by James Testa and a fourth-down pass broken up in the end zone by Ryan Fullmer, to keep the game that close.

'We got focused at halftime,' McBee said.

'We just kind of came out flat,' Boyer said. 'We're young and sometimes that happens.'

Tualatin was still holding its 23-0 lead going into the fourth quarter, but that's when things got really interesting.

The Wolves moved the ball down to the Beaverton 18-yard-line early in the period. But, soon after, Beaver junior Joel Gross stripped the ball away from Clemente and sprinted 80 yards down the sideline for the first Beaverton touchdown of the game. Gross then added a two-point conversion run to cut the lead to 23-8 with 10:36 to play in the contest.

Then, following a Tualatin punt, Beaverton was at it again.

The Beavers, led by Potter, moved 73 yards in 12 plays, ending the drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass from Potter to David Mabry, coming on a fourth-and-goal play.

Potter, in the scoring drive, completed a 23-yard pass to Gross and passes of 15, 12 and nine yards to McBee to set up the TD.

Potter then completed a two-point conversion pass to senior Josh Ahn to make the score 23-16 with 3:07 remaining in the game.

Tualatin's Cory Lerum recovered the ensuing onside kick at the 50-yard line, and Johnson followed with a 31-yard run to the Beaverton 19. But, from there, the Wolves turned the ball over on downs on the Beaverton 18 with 1:15 to play.

The Beavers, however, weren't able to capitalize on their last opportunity. Potter completed a 6-yard pass to Gross, but his next three attempts fell incomplete, giving Tualatin the ball an, finally, the 23-16 victory.

'Once we got going, we just started clicking,' McBee said. 'And we were just in better condition.'

'We dug our own hole, but we kind of stepped it up in the second half,' Boyer added.

Potter, in the contest, completed 14 of 23 passes for 124 yards.

Gross had five catches for 48 yards to go with his defensive touchdown.

Testa and Fullmer each added fumble recoveries for Beaverton. Cam McDonnell and Tony Falotico each had quarterback sacks.

Miles Vance contributed to this story.

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