Homecoming heroics

Forest Grove gets its first Pacific Conference win of the season in a blowout against Newberg
by: Chase Allgood,

Forest Grove was not about to let a rowdy Homecoming crowd walk away unfulfilled, so the Vikings laid a 40-14 beat down on Newberg Friday night to notch the team's first Pacific Conference win of the year.

Forest Grove (4-3, 1-2) scored early, often and in just about every imaginable way against the visiting Tigers, building a 33-6 halftime lead and then putting the offense on cruise control in the second half.

The Vikings churned out 265 yards on the ground and quarterback Brooks Baumgartner was nearly flawless, completing 6 of 10 passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns.

'We ran the ball really well and threw it just enough to be effective,' said Forest Grove head coach Mike McCabe. 'We did enough things right offensively to keep some drives going and eat some clock. I thought we played pretty well.'

Junior running back Jake Toll spearheaded the offensive effort, carrying 27 times for 120 yards and the Vikings' first touchdown of the night, a 4-yard scamper that made it 6-0. Josh Matiaco would bang into the end zone from a yard out later in the first quarter to make it 13-6, and Joey Flanery opened the scoring in the second quarter with a 60-yard burst through the Newberg defense.

With the momentum clearly in their favor, the Viks heaped it on before halftime. Jake Freeman stepped in front of a Levi Fletcher pass and took it 42 yards to the house for a 26-6 Forest Grove lead, and Baumgartner would hook up with sophomore wideout John Grissom near the end of the half on an 11-yard scoring play that nudged the Viks' lead to 27 points at the break.

'It was a good win,' said McCabe. 'Any time you can beat anybody in this league it's a good win.'

Forest Grove added the exclamation point in the third quarter when Baumgartner connected with tight end Kyle Swaja for an 8-yard touchdown. It would be the last pass the senior quarterback would throw as Forest Grove settled in and rode its strong ground game the rest of the way.

In addition to Toll's big night, Flanery had three carries for 73 yards and two catches for 50 more. Matiaco rushed eight times for 26 yards.

The good news for Forest Grove was that the team got its first conference win of the year, but the bad news is that the Viks must now prepare to face first-place Canby on Friday. The Cougars racked up over 500 yards of total offense in a 46-14 drubbing of Tualatin last week.

'We've got Canby coming up, and they're pretty darn good,' said McCabe. 'This was a good win and the kids feel good about it. Obviously you'd like to be able to savor it a little more, but we've got to get ready for Canby. They're going to be tough.'

Friday's game will kick off at 7 p.m. at Canby High School.