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Aloha, Tyner amaze in 84-63 victory

The Warrior senior tailback racks up 643 yards rushing and 10 TDs


ALOHA — Thomas Tyner is a guy who knows how to celebrate a birthday.

While most people get presents from other people on their birthdays, let’s be honest — Tyner, Aloha’s senior tailback — isn’t most people.

Tyner celebrated his 18th birthday in style Friday night, putting together a record-breaking performance that included Oregon records of 643 yards rushing and 10 rushing touchdowns to lead the Warrior football team past Lakeridge 83-64 at Aloha High School.

BIRTHDAY BOY - Aloha senior tailback Thomas Tyner breaks through the line on Friday, his 18th birthday, en route to some of his 643 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns.

The victory, besides being notable for Tyner’s incredible successes and the amazing number of points scored, also helped lift the Warriors’ season record to 3-0, while the visiting Pacers fell to 1-2.

“We think our staff had a very good game plan and we also made very good in-game adjustments,” said Aloha coach Chris Casey, crediting assistant coach Bill Volk’s contributions on the night. “Our blocking at the point of attack was awesome, and we blocked downfield well most of the night.”

That said, the night — which coincided with the Oregon-bound Tyner’s 18th birthday — belonged to the Warriors’ senior tailback. Tyner’s efforts — his way paved by linemen Brayden Kearsley, Michael Kluge, AJ McCollum, Calvin Liggins, Ryan Papenfuhs, Matt Fischer, Jonny Schwartz and tight ends Jason Richie and Sam Klingsporn — included touchdown runs of 20, 41, 62, 60, 65, 48, 41, 40, 34 and 10 yards.

“Thomas just ran as well as I’ve ever seen,” Casey said. “And a lot of things came together for us on offense.”

As it turned out, the Warriors needed all of those TDs to ensure their victory, that thanks in great part to the challenge provided by Lakeridge quarterback Eric Dungey. Dungey rushed 22 times for 63 yards and two TDs, and completed 20-of-31 passes for 362 yards and four more TDs.

Even more impressive, though, was Dungey’s ability to escape Aloha’s pressure, escape sacks and keep Pacer drives alive.

“There were so many times, we just had him dead in the water and didn’t get him,” Casey said. “He has eyes everywhere on his body. He can see things in the backfield and also downfield. That kid is amazing.”

After a relatively pedestrian first quarter that saw Aloha take a 14-7 lead — Tyner scored on runs of 20 and 41 yards while Lakeridge got a 68-yard Dungey-to-Rick Hiller TD pass — the game really hit high gear in the second period.

There, the two teams combined for 55 points, with the Pacers posting a 34-21 edge in the quarter to push ahead 41-35 at the half. Aloha helped fuel Lakeridge’s fire in the frame, fumbling the ball away deep in their end of the field once, turning the ball over again on a bad long snap, and losing the ball twice on Pacer onside kicks.

On the Lakeridge side of the ledger, Alex Alamida scored on runs of four and 21 yards, Dungey cashed in on the ground from two, and Dungey threw touchdown passes to Madison Pihl (eight yards) and JR McLaughlin (eight yards).

The Warriors, meanwhile, kept rolling with their ground game, with the offensive line breaking Tyner loose for TD runs of 62, 60 and 65 yards. By halftime, Tyner had already amassed 362 yards and five touchdowns.

The Warriors regrouped at the half and came back with a solid 21-7 edge in the third period, with Maurice McSwain catching a 40-yard TD pass from Aloha quarterback CJ Eytel and Tyner tacking on scoring runs of 48 and 41 yards. Lakeridge added another two-yard Dungey score, but the Warriors had re-taken the lead at 56-48.

Lakeridge wasn’t quite done yet, though. The Pacers opened the fourth quarter by sandwiching a 58-yard Nick Yun TD run and a 27-yard Dungey-to-Mark Grothe scoring pass around a 60-yard Tyner touchdown run to knot the score at 63-63.

But Aloha was not going to let this one get away, and powered through the final half of the fourth quarter with three unanswered touchdowns to pull away and seal the win. Tyner got the first of those on a 34-yard burst, Kluge stepped up next to pick off a Dungey pass and take it back 20 yards for a score, and Tyner capped the festivities with his final scoring run, a mere five-yarder, for the final 84-63 margin.

“We finished on a 21-0 run and that’s what we’ve been talking about as a staff is being able to finish,” Casey said. “I thought we showed character, commitment, courage, perseverance and great conditioning.”

Thus far in 2012, Tyner — the 2011 state 100-meter champion and the fastest sprinter in Oregon history — has amassed 1,228 yards and 17 touchdowns in three games.

For Lakeridge, McLaughlin made six catches for 144 yards and Hiller five for 101.