Tigers' wait ends

Football -- Tigard runs past Forest Grove, 24-8, to get its first victory of the season
by: DAN BROOD, ON THE MOVE – Tigard quarterback Ryan Gorton (left) looks to escape from Forest Grove’s Josh Matiaco.

TIGARD - The wait is over.

The preverbal monkey is off their backs.

The Tigers finally got their victory.

Now they're looking to score many more.

The Tigard High School football team notched its first win of the season, downing Forest Grove 24-8 in a Pacific Conference game played last 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. The 1-1 league mark puts Tigard in a tie with Tualatin for third place in the Pacific Conference standings.

'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. It was good.'

'We're going to take off,' Lehner said.

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

Tigard's defense gave the Tigers an early lead in last Thursday's league tilt.

On Forest Grove's first possession of the game, Tigard senior defensive lineman Karl Pututau sacked Viking quarterback Brooks Baumgarter for a 5-yard loss down to the Forest Grove 2-yard line. On the very next play, Tiger junior linebacker Andrew Woolfe sacked Baumgartner in the end zone for a safety, giving the Tigers a 2-0 advantage just four minutes into the contest.

The Tigard offense - operating at times out of a set that included two tight ends and a fullback in front of a tailback, instead of the team's usual spread formation - added onto the lead.

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 right 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. 'I jumped 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 move the ball down to the Viking 3-yard line.

Sophomore fullback Tim Beckman carried the ball to the 1-yard line. On third-and-goal, Gorton, running out of the shotgun formation, scored on a 1-yard run behind the block of junior center Conor Clark. Senior Brian Kostol added the extra-point kick to give Tigard a 24-0 lead with 2:56 left in the third quarter.

Forest Grove got on the scoreboard when junior fullback Josh Matiaco scored on a 1-yard run with 3:05 left in the game.

'We wanted the shutout,' said Lehner, who also intercepted a Forest Grove pass. 'But we scored eight points on defense, so it evened out. We wanted it tonight. Everyone really wanted it.'

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

'I was lucky to get the ball tonight,' Lehner said.

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

The Tigard defense limited Forest Grove to 178 yards of total offense. Lehner and Grady each had interceptions while Pututau and Woolfe each had a quarterback sack.

'Defense was huge for us,' Lehner said.

Tigard will be back in action Friday when it plays at McMinnville starting at 7 p.m..