Tualatin moves to 3-0 on the season with its 28-21 win over South Medford
MEDFORD - The Tualatin High School football team turned a lengthy trip into a winning trip.
Although, the Timberwolves didn't have that win wrapped up until the final seconds.
Tualatin, getting a 1-yard touchdown run by senior running back Kyle Johnson with 16.9 seconds left in the game, scored a 28-21 win over South Medford in a non-league game played Friday at Spiegelberg Stadium.
'It was a good game and a long trip,' Tualatin coach Craig Hastin said. 'We had some very good things happen and some not-so-good things happen. But we're having different guys stepping up and that's good.'
With the win, the No. 4-ranked Timberwolves improved to 3-0 on the season. South Medford saw its season record evened at 1-1 with the setback.
However, the Panthers struck first in Friday's contest, getting a 39-yard touchdown pass from Ben Weaver to Mitch Singler to go up 7-0 in the early going.
The Wolves answered back, putting together an 89-yard drive that was capped off by a 10-yard touchdown run by junior fullback Dennis Ranck. Glauber Mazzo added the extra-point kick to tie the game at 7-7.
Johnson then scored the first of his three touchdowns, coming from a yard out, to help the Wolves claim a 14-7 lead at halftime.
Another touchdown run by Johnson, this one from three yards away, pushed the Timberwolf advantage to 21-7 in the third quarter.
South Medford closed the gap to 21-13 on a 40-yard touchdown run by Patrick Thibeault coming with 8:43 remaining in the contest.
The Panthers then tied the score, at 21-21 with 6:20 left to play, when Andrew Bennett had a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown followed by a two-point conversion pass from Weaver to Singler.
But Tualatin answered back with a 15-play, 68-yard winning touchdown drive, capped off by Johnson's late touchdown run.
'Kyle ran real well,' Hastin said of Johnson, who had 196 rushing yards on 29 carries in the victory. 'Phil Pauly had a good game running from the wingback spot and Dennis Ranck also ran well.'
Tualatin also got a strong game from its offensive line, including Corey Lerum, who was making his first start at left tackle.
On defense, the Timberwolves came up with six turnovers, including five interception. Matt Losli and Rylan Firth each had a pair of interceptions while Cameron Harper picked off the other South Medford pass. Junior Mick Bies came up with a fumble recovery for the other turnover.
Tualatin faces another big test Friday when it hosts No. 2-ranked Lincoln in a non-league game starting at 7 p.m. at Tualatin High School. The Cardinals, led by quarterback Connor Kavanaugh, the 2005 Offensive Player of the Year for the state, bring a 2-0 record into the game.
'They appear to be one of the strongest teams we've seen the past couple of years,' Hastin said. 'No one has slowed them down yet and their quarterback is very special.'