Tigard falls to quick-starting Cougars
Football -- Canby comes away with a 50-35 victory in the Pacific Conference opening tilt
CANBY - It wasn't a very good omen for the Tigers.
The Tigard High School football team, looking to score its first win of the season, instead found itself facing a super-quick deficit. The Tigers never could recover.
Canby, scoring on the first play from scrimmage in the contest, ran to a 50-35 win over Tigard in a Pacific Conference opener played Friday at Canby.
'From that first play, it was real tough,' Tigard junior quarterback Ryan Gorton said after the game. 'It kind of took the wind out of our sails.'
The Cougars, with the victory, not only got off to a 1-0 start in Pacific Conference play, but they also evened their season record at 3-3. Tigard fell to 0-1 in league games and to 0-5 on the season.
'This one is tough,' said Gorton, who completed 14 of 28 passes for 208 yards and three touchdowns. 'We thought we had a good scouting report and we were ready. But we'll come back. We'll get there.'
Canby, in Friday's game, wasted little time grabbing the lead as, on its very first offensive play of the game, senior quarterback Taylor Hunter connected with senior Chris Roth for a 63-yard touchdown on a play-action pass. The extra point failed, but Canby was still holding a 6-0 lead just 19 seconds into the game.
It was the start of a big night for Taylor. For the game, he completed 12 of 19 pass attempts for 233 yards and three TDs. He also ran for 56 yards on six carries and kicked a 22-yard field goal.
Canby, the next time it had the ball, moved deep into Tigard territory. But the Tiger defense stiffened, forcing the Cougars to settle for Hunter's field goal, which gave them a 9-0 lead with 5:02 left in the first quarter.
Canby struck again before the quarter ended, getting a one-yard touchdown run by senior fullback Andy Loscutoff with 35 seconds left in the period, making the score 16-0.
'We didn't start off as well as we wanted to,' Tigard coach Mitch Sanders said.
Tigard answered with its first touchdown of the game, a 53-yard touchdown pass from Gorton to junior running back Scott Grady, coming with 11 seconds left in the first quarter. On the play, Gorton, on a double pump pass, found the speedy Grady open down the right sideline for the TD.
The touchdown, along with Daniel Hunter's first of five extra-point kicks, cut the lead to 16-7.
But Canby answered back right away. The Cougars, after getting a 79-yard kickoff return by Jake Fowler on the last play of the first quarter, started the second quarter by getting a 10-yard TD run by Roth.
However, the Tigers, thanks to senior Justin Lehner, answered back even quicker. Lehner taking the ensuing kickoff, started up the middle, cut to his left sideline and sprinted to the end zone for an 88-yard touchdown.
Lehner's TD - the third touchdown in a game time span of 32 seconds - cut the lead to 23-14, but Tigard couldn't get any closer.
The Cougars got another touchdown pass from Hunter to Roth, this one covering 17 yards, to make the score 30-14 with 9:30 left before halftime.
Tigard, behind the running and passing of Gorton, quickly moved the ball down the field.
An apparent 20-yard touchdown pass from Gorton to Lehner was nullified due to a holding penalty. The Tigers ended up turning the ball over on downs on the Canby 21-yard line.
The Cougars, with 1:19 left in the second quarter, got a five-yard touchdown run by junior T.J. Gorman, giving Canby a 37-14 halftime lead.
Tigard kept battling in the second half.
Trailing 44-14, the Tigers scored back-to-back touchdowns to cut into the lead. The first of those scores came on a 17-yard pass from Gorton to senior receiver Chase Dalton. On the play, Canby junior defensive back Mike Stogsdill deflected the ball, but Dalton kept his concentration and grabbed the pass for the TD.
Then, with 7:19 left to play, Gorton connected with Lehner on a 27-yard touchdown strike that made the score 44-28.
But Canby, after a Tigard violation on the ensuing onside kick, got a nine-yard touchdown run by junior Jake Fowler to put the game out of reach.
The Tigers, however, had the game's final score on a 52-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Kyle Gustafson to Lehner, coming with 1:41 remaining.
'We battled all right,' Sanders said. 'Falling behind like we did took us out of our game.'
For Tigard, Lehner had a big game. In addition to his kickoff return for a TD, he also had seven receptions for 136 yards and two scores. All of his catches came in the second half.
Grady had five catches for 89 yards and Dalton had 4 receptions for 38 yards.
Gorton completed 14 of 28 pass attempts for 208 yards and three touchdowns. Gustafson completed all four of his passes for 86 yards.
'The passing game is really improving,' Gorton said. 'It's getting better every week. We're making some strides.'
Canby rolled to 535 yards of total offense in the victory.
The Cougars got 298 of those yards on the ground, coming in 53 attempts. Loscutoff led a balanced Canby rushing attack with 75 yards on 11 carries.
Tigard will be back in action tonight (Thursday) when it hosts Forest Grove in a Pacific Conference game starting at 7 p.m. at Tigard High School.
'We'll be ready to go,' Gorton said.
'This one is huge,' Sanders said. 'If we lose this one, we're in more trouble than we're in right now.'
The Vikings are 0-1 in Pacific Conference play and 3-2 on the season.