Tigard upends Vikings

football -- Tigers capitalize on an early lead to beat Forest Grove and earn their first victory
by: Dan Brood,

TIGARD - Forest Grove was looking to get its first league win.

Tigard, on the other hand, was looking not only to get its first league win, but the Tigers were desperately seeking their first victory of any kind this season.

And the Tigers, just maybe, wanted the win a little bit more.

The determined Tigard High School football team notched its first win of the season, downing the Vikings 24-8 in a Pacific Conference game played Thursday at Tigard.

'I can't even explain how good it feels to get the monkey off our back,' Tigard senior Justin Lehner said after the win. 'No excuses. We haven't had 11 guys on the field ready to make the plays all season, and I'm at the top of that list. Tonight, we did something about it.'

With the win, the Tigers moved to 1-5 on the season and evened their Pacific Conference record at 1-1.

'We still have to win a lot more,' said Tigard junior Scott Grady, who scored on both offense and defense in the victory. 'Everyone is excited now. This is how we played last year.'

Forest Grove fell to 0-2 in league play with the loss and the Vikings are now 3-3 on the season.

'We could have won this game,' said Viking junior back Jacob Toll, who ran for 89 yards on 20 carries. 'But we made some mental mistakes.'

Tigard's defense gave the Tigers an early lead.

On Forest Grove's first possession of the game, Tigard junior Andrew Woolfe sacked Viking quarterback Brooks Baumgartner in the end zone for a safety, giving the Tigers a 2-0 advantage just four minutes into the contest.

Grady, rushing around left end, ran for an 18-yard touchdown to up the Tigard lead to 9-0 with 1:05 left in the first quarter.

Grady struck again in the first half, this time on defense.

In the final seconds of the second quarter, Grady intercepted a Forest Grove pass in the flat and sprinted untouched 63 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown. Tiger junior quarterback Ryan Gorton ran in a two-point conversion to give Tigard a 17-0 lead with just 3 seconds remaining before the intermission.

'I kind of took a risk on that one,' Grady said of the interception. 'I jumped out in the flat and was able to grab the ball. I was pretty excited to see open field ahead of me.'

Gorton then guided Tigard on a 91-yard scoring drive early in the third quarter. He completed passes of 20 and 22 yards to Lehner and added a 22-yard strike to junior Patrick Chabreck to set up his own 1-yard touchdown run, which upped the margin to 24-0 with 2:56 left in the third quarter.

But the Vikings didn't give up, and they ended up getting a touchdown for their effort.

Forest Grove senior Sidney Soto intercepted a Tigard pass and returned the ball 11 yards to the Tiger 36-yard line. A 27-yard pass from Baumgartner to Dylan Sullivan gave the Vikings the ball at the Tigard 7-yard line. Three plays later, junior fullback Josh Matiaco scored on a 1-yard burst.

Baumgartner connected with junior Joey Flanery for a two-point conversion pass to make the score 24-8 with 3:05 left to play in the contest.

'It was good to get that last touchdown,' Toll said with a smile.

In addition to Toll's 89 rushing yards, Matiaco had 17 yards on 10 carries for the Vikings. Baumgartner completed five of 16 passes for 65 yards.

Flanery had two receptions for 30 yards.

For the Forest Grove defense, Soto, Flannery and Sullivan each had interceptions.

Lehner led a balanced Tigard rushing attack with 64 yards on 13 carries. He also had five receptions for 48 more yards.

Grady rushed for 51 yards on 11 carries. Gorton rushed for 35 yards and also completed six of 13 pass attempts for 70 yards.

Baumgartner completed five of 16 passes for 65 yards.

Head coach Mike McCabe had an answer for why his Vikings have now lost three games in a row after opening the season with three straight wins.

Tigard kept its mojo over the Viks, defeating them for the eighth straight season.

'It's real simple. The quality of teams we're playing is much better,' McCabe said. 'It's a whole different scenario. We knew that at the start of the season.'

Regarding the interception with three seconds left in the first half, McCabe said, 'That killed us. That deflated us quite a bit. It was one of the things that made the first half culminate in disaster for us.'

To turn things around in the final three regular season games, McCabe said, 'the bottom line is we need to minimize our mistakes.

'When you make fewer mistakes, more power to you. If you don't, you set yourself up for a bad situation.'

McCabe praised Jacob Toll, who rushed for 91 yards on 20 trips and had a pass interception. He also pointed to the stalwart defensive play of Dylan Sullivan.

The Vikings have a chance to halt their skid when they host league rival Newberg this week. The Tigers have given up a lot of points this season, including a 49-26 drubbing by Canby last week.

McCabe isn't taking them lightly, however.

'They've had some tough fortunes this season, but we respect everyone we play,' he said. 'Every team we meet is a capable opponent. We hope we can pull out a win.

Tigard will be back in action Friday when it plays at McMinnville. The Vikings are set to face Newberg (0-2, 1-6) on Friday in a Homecoming game starting at 7 p.m.