Rivals are ready to rumble
Football -- Sherwood will play at Wilsonville and Tualatin will host Tigard in Friday's showdowns
Two big games.
Two intense, furious rivalries. Two stadiums packed with boisterous fans. And it's all going to happen on one night.
The local area is in for a big night of high school football on Friday as rivals Tigard and Tualatin will square off, as will another pair of rival teams in Sherwood and Wilsonville.
'It's a rivalry game. It's a big game,' Tigard coach Mitch Sanders said of the Tigers' match-up with the Timberwolves. 'We're excited for it.'
That Pacific Conference match-up will start at 7 p.m. at Tualatin High School.
Just a few miles south of there, Sherwood will play at Wilsonville, starting at 7 p.m., in a game that will determine the Northwest Oregon Conference champion.
'We hoped it would end up like this since the beginning of the season,' Sherwood coach Greg Lawrence said. 'The whole town of Sherwood will be there, and all of Wilsonville will be there, too.'
Here's a look at each of Friday night's big games.
Sherwood at Wilsonville
The Bowmen and the Wildcats may have moved up from Class 3A to Class 5A this year in the OSAA's realignment. They may have moved from the Tri-Valley League to the NWOC. But one thing is staying the same - everything's on the line in their match-up.
For the third straight year, the Sherwood-Wilsonville game will determine a league championship.
Last year, Sherwood scored a 35-21 win at Wilsonville to claim the Tri-Valley League championship, leading to a wild Bowmen celebration on the turf at Randall Stadium.
'That was a great feeling, and we'd love to have to have that feeling again,' Lawrence said. 'We don't have to worry about getting the team motivated for this one.'
The teams go into Friday's game tied for the NWOC lead, each with 5-0 league records. Wilsonville is 8-0 on the season and ranked No. 2 in the state among Class 5A teams. Sherwood, at 7-1, is ranked No. 3.
'We like that they're ranked higher,' Lawrence said.
Wilsonville, under first-year head coach Doug Sommer, boasts a high-powered offense featuring senior quarterback Tyler Reeves and a pair of running threats in junior Morrie Conway and 240-pound senior Carl Sommer.
'They like to run Conway and they move Sommer all over the place,' Lawrence said. 'I think we'll have their offense down pat before Friday. Hopefully, we'll be able to shut them down.'
On offense, the Bowmen will be led by senior quarterback Aaron Czyzewski, senior fullback Derek Kotowski, senior receiver Austin Snow and a plethora of running backs.
'The key will be Aaron,' Lawrence said. 'We need him to have a good night throwing the ball. We also will have to do a good job blocking Sommer (who plays at defensive end). Special teams can also be a big key.'
The Bowmen have some good news and some back news on the injury front.
For the good news, starting center Michael Worrell and running back/defensive back Travis Lutes may both be ready to return to the lineup after missing the past few games due to injury.
For the bad news, Sherwood will likely be without senior running back/linebacker Jared Newell, who suffered a high ankle sprain in last Friday's win over St. Helens.
The Bowmen may also be without lineman Nic Clure, who had to have 65 stitches put in his face due to a weekend chainsaw accident.
Tigard at Tualatin
The Tigers and Timberwolves have followed different paths to Friday's showdown.
Tigard, after losing its first five games of the season, has won its last two contests in impressive fashion.
The Tigers (2-5 on the season), with those victories, are now 2-1 in Pacific Conference play, putting them in a tie for second place in the league standings.
Tualatin (4-3) has dropped its last two games and now is 1-2 in Pacific Conference games.
That has both teams anxiously looking for a win on Friday.
'It's a rivalry game and a big game,' Tualatin coach Craig Hastin said. 'Every game is a big game for us. Our kids will be excited for it.'
The Wolves will feature senior running back Kyle Johnson, who has rushed for 1,033 yards and 13 touchdowns this season behind a powerful offensive line.
'Tualatin has a great program and is a great team,' Sanders said. 'We have to keep the ball away from them. We have to be able to run and control the football.'
The Tigers, using a new offensive set with senior Justin Lehner at running back, have excelled at running the ball the past two weeks. Lehner rushed for 160 yards in the team's win at McMinnville last Friday.
'They've put some pieces together and they're running the ball well,' Hastin said.
The Tigers have also been efficient passing the ball. Junior quarterback Ryan Gorton threw just 13 passes at McMinnville, but he completed nine of those passes for 200 yards and four touchdowns.
'Which ever team can keep its composure and stay focused will have a good chance to win,' Sanders said. 'Our big thing will be to keep focused. We're excited for this game.'