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Wolves find a way to win

Tualatin, behind a late TD pass and a swarming defense, beats Crater


by: DAN BROOD - PICKED OFF -- Tualatin senior Randall Tainer (19) heads up field after grabbing the second of his three interceptions in the win over Crater.TUALATIN — Six quarterback sacks.

Three Randall Tainer interceptions.

One late-game, clutch 60-yard touchdown pass play.

It all added up to a huge, thrilling, come-from-behind, season-opening victory for the Tualatin High School football team.

The Timberwolves, after falling behind 8-0 to Crater in the second half, rallied to get a 12-8 win over the Comets in a non-league contest played Friday at Tualatin High School.

“We knew we couldn’t start with a loss,” said Tualatin senior running back/linebacker Jeffrey Williams, who had a 59-yard touchdown catch on offense and three quarterback sacks on defense.

“This was very important to us,” said Tainer, a Timberwolf senior cornerback who tied a school single-game record with his three interceptions. “Our motto this year is ‘no regrets, no surrender.’ We didn’t surrender and it was great to start with a win.”

And the Wolves are happy with their 1-0 start to the season.

“It was huge,” said Tualatin junior receiver Nick Hines, who caught what turned out to be the game-winning touchdown pass with 2 minutes and 29 seconds left to play in the game. “Starting the season with a win means a lot to us.”by: DAN BROOD - TEAM DEFENSE -- The swarming Tualatin defense, including Zach Salton (left) and Brennan Symes (right) brings down Crater senior R.J. Morgan in Friday's game. The Timberwolves won 12-8.

The teams, who have never met before Friday’s game, found themselves knotted in a scoreless tie at halftime of the contest. The Wolves struggled on offense in the first half, but the team’s defense — with Tainer intercepting Crater’s first two pass attempts of the game — kept the Comets off the scoreboard.

But Crater took a 2-0 lead with 7:15 left in the third quarter when a Tualatin center snap on a punt play sailed high and out of the end zone for a safety.

Four plays after the ensuing free kick, Crater senior quarterback Chase Mackey scored on a 16-yard run to give the visitors an 8-0 lead with 6:13 left in the third quarter.

“Even then, we were thinking win,” Hines said. “We came to play four quarters.”

Crater, after getting an interception and 47-yard return by senior R.J. Morgan to the Tualatin 28-yard line, looked poised to strike again.

But Tainer, picking off his third pass of the game, ended the threat. And the turnover seemed to fire up the Wolves.

Two plays later, Tualatin junior quarterback Brandon Shroyer found Williams open on a quick-hitter up the middle for a 59-yard touchdown pass play.

“I got the ball, and I really wanted to score,” said Williams, who sprinted past the Crater defense after catching a short pass.

The two-point conversion run came up short, but the touchdown got Tualatin within two, at 8-6, with 1:05 remaining in the third quarter.

Still, time was ticking away for Tualatin in the fourth quarter, and the Comets were threatening again. With 3:06 left to play in the game, Crater faced a fourth-and-9 play at the Tualatin 13-yard-line. But, on fourth down, Timberwolf junior linebacker Chandler Schoonmaker sacked Mackey for a 13-yard loss.

On the next play, Shroyer threw a 14-yard pass to Hines. On the play after that. Shroyer and Hines teamed up again — with the results being huge.

Shroyer found Hines open on the left side of the field. Hines, after making the catch, followed his blockers down the left sideline and then sprinted into the clear for a 60-yard touchdown, which gave the Wolves a 12-8 lead with 2:29 left in the game.

“We needed a play,” Hines said. “I did all I could, and it happened. I ran as fast as I could and It felt great. I have to thank our line. They made it happen.”

Crater, trying to come up with a rally of its own, moved the ball to the Tualatin 41-yard line, where it had a first down with just under a minute to play.

But the Wolves, swarming from sideline to sideline, sacked Mackey on each of the next four plays. Williams had the final two quarterback sacks to wrap up the 12-8 victory.

“That felt awesome — game over,” Williams said with a smile. “We decided that we weren’t going to let them score.”

“That was a pretty fun finish,” Tualatin coach Rob Hastin said. “We decided to play to win, and we found a way.”

The Tualatin defense limited Crater to 191 yards of total offense in the contest.

Of course, that defensive attack featured Tainer’s three interceptions in his first varsity start.

“I guess I was in the right place at the right time,” he said. “I just tried to make the plays. But I would have been OK with no interceptions as long as we got the win.”

Williams, in addition to his three quarterback sacks, had two other tackles for losses.

Schoonmaker had two quarterack sacks, two other tackles for losses and he also blocked an extra-point kick. Sophomore Cameron Frey also had a quarterback sack and senior Dane Simonsen had two tackles for losses.

For the Tualatin offense, Shroyer completed 12 of 18 pass attempts for 194 yards. Hines had four catches for 82 yards. Senior Andrew Schlottmann was the Wolves’ leading rusher with 42 yards on seven carries.

For Crater, Mackey completed 15 of 21 passes for 86 yards. Junior Carlow Higuera rushed for 49 yards on eight carries.

Tualatin will be back in action next Friday when it plays at Southridge in a non-league game starting at 7:30 p.m.