The Tigers roar to a 46-36 victory in league showdown

by: DAN BROOD - GOOD FOR TWO -- Tigard senior Chance Taylor makes a sliding catch for a two-point coversion in the showdown with Century.TIGARD — Century had all the credentials.

The Jaguars were a perfect 3-0 on the season and they boasted a high-octane, no-huddle spread attack offense that was scoring at an average of nearly 60 points a game.

Yes, it looked like the Tigard High School football team had a heck of a challenge on its hands.

But the Tigers met that challenge head on and remained standing tall.

The defending Pacific Conference champion Tigard squad proved it very well still may be the team to beat in the league after powering its way past the Century Jaguars for a 46-36 victory in a conference showdown played Friday at Tigard High School.

“This was a big game,” Tigard senior running back/defensive back Kaz Greene said after the victory. “They tried to take us off our throne, but I think we proved a lot of things tonight.”

Century moved to 1-1 in Pacific Conference play and to 3-1 on the season with the DAN BROOD - GOT HIM -- Tigard junior Nick Duron drags down Century quarterback Sam Riddle.

With the win, its ninth straight in league play going back to last year, Tigard improved to 2-0 in Pacific Conference game, putting the Tigers in a tie with McMinnville and Tualatin for first place in the league standings.

“This feels really good,” said Tigard senior receiver/linebacker Chance Taylor, who had three catches for 117 yards and a touchdown in the win. “They’re a good team, but we came out with a good game plan and we played together for four quarters.”

“They were talking about knocking us off,” Tigard junior linebacker/tight end Jake Biglow said. ‘That pumped us up. We came out and took it to them.”

Biglow took it to the Jaguars right away. In Century’s first offensive possession of the game, he first had a tackle for a loss and then he intercepted a Sam Riddle pass — the first interception Riddle has thrown all season.

“I just saw it coming my way and snagged it,” Biglow said with a smile.

After a scoreless first quarter in Friday’s game, the fireworks started in the second quarter.

A 46-yard run bv junior Manu Rasmussen helped set up a 2-yard scoring burst by Greene, giving Tigard a 7-0 lead with 10 minutes and 51 seconds left in the period.

Century answered back with a 1-yard touchdown run by senior Josh Wise. But the Jaguars’ two-point conversion pass failed, leaving the Tigers with a 7-6 lead with 8:51 left in the quarter.

On Tigard’s ensuing possession, junior quarterback Jett Even connected with Taylor for a 57-yard touchdown on a play-action pass play, upping the Tiger lead to 14-6 with 7:51 remaining before halftime.

“It was a read route, and Jett threw a perfect ball,” Taylor said. “I caught it in stride.”

“He’s great,” Even said of Taylor. “He runs great routes and, with our running game, the passes are open.”

Century came right back, getting a 28-yard touchdown pass from Riddle to senior receiver Xavier Mitchell. A successful two-point conversion pass tied the game at 14-14 with 6:31 left before halftime.

The Jaguars quickly were at it again, after senior Vance Hamilton recovered a Tigard fumble deep in Tiger territory on the ensuing kickoff.

On the very next play following the turnover, Riddle tossed a 9-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell. Century’s two-point conversion pass was also successful, giving the Jaguars a 22-14 lead with 6:23 left in the game.

Now, it was Tigard’s turn to answer back. A 36-yard pass from Even to Greene helped set up a 2-yard touchdown plunge by senior Zach Floyd. A two-point conversion pass from Even to Taylor tied the game at 22-22 with 3:17 left in the half.

Century threatened to score again late in the first half, but Tigard senior defensive back Anthony Consolo intercepted a pass in the end zone to thwart the threat and keep the game tied at 22-22 at halftime.

Tigard then came out and made a statement to start the second half.

The Tigers, in their first possession of the third quarter, marched 63 yards in 10 plays, capping the drive off with a 9-yard touchdown run by Floyd, who then added a two-point conversion run to give Tigard a 30-22 advantage with 7:22 left in the third quarter.

“That was huge,” Even said of the scoring drive. “We needed a good drive like that.”

The Tigard defense, getting a quarterback sack by senior Benny Wick and tackles for losses by junior defensive end A.J. Hotchkins and senior linebacker Robby Chabreck, made a stand of its own, forcing the Jaguars to punt.

Following the punt, the Tigers moved the ball inside the Century 10-yard line and ended up getting a 23-yard field goal by Wick, which upped the margin to 33-22 with 2:28 left in the third quarter.

Tigard kept rolling early in the fourth quarter. Facing fourth-and-2 at the Jaguar 14-yard line, Floyd, operating out the wildcat formation, threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Conner Olson, making the score 39-22 with 9:31 remaining in the game.

But Century wouldn’t give up. An 11-yard TD pass from Riddle to Mitchell made the score 39-30 with 8:54 remaining.

Again, Tigard answered back. A 38-yard pass from Even to Taylor helped set up Floyd’s 2-yard touchdown run, which upped the margin to 46-30 with 5:39 left in the game.

Century then struck again. Jaguar senior Brad Bennett, replacing an injured Riddle at quarterback, threw a 6-yard scoring pass to Mitchell to cut the lead to 46-36 with 3:10 left to play.

But Tiger junior Bruin Campbell recovered the ensuing pooch kickoff. From there, Tigard, with Wick carrying the ball on six straight plays, ate the remaining 3:10 off the clock to wrap up the 46-36 victory.

“That was a really good win,” Tigard coach Craig Ruecker said. “This sounds crazy, but we made some wonderful defensive plays. Our players put together four quarters.”

“This was a pretty big win,” Hotchkins said. “They called us out, so we were ready. In the second half, we were more intense. It was a pretty intense game, but I thought it was a lot of fun.”

“This was pretty big,” Tigard junior Nick Dauphinais said. “They lit a fire underneath us and we really came together as a team. It was a lot of fun.”

For the Tigers, Even completed six of nine pass attempts for 168 yards. Taylor had three receptions for 117 yards.

Floyd led a balanced Tigard rushing attack with 77 yards on 16 carries. Greene added 59 yards on 16 carries and Wick rushed for 48 yards on 11 carries.

“Our offensive line did great,” Taylor said. “They got the job done.”

The Tigard defense came up with six quarterback sacks in the win. Juniors Nick Duron and Jacob Mullen each had a pair of sacks while Wick and Greene added one sack apiece. Hotchkins had two tackles for losses.

Biglow, senior Cain Adams and Chabreck each had one tackle for a loss. Biglow and Consolo each had an interception.

“We wanted to be aggressive on defense,” Biglow said. “We got to them.”

For Century, Riddle completed 16 of 26 passes for 293 yards. Mitchell had eight catches for 114 yards and four touchdowns.

Both teams will be back in action on Friday. Tigard will travel to McMinnville and Century will play Forest Grove at Hillsboro Stadium in games starting at 7 p.m.

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