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Tigers pull away to get win over Grizzlies

Tigard bests Mac to improve to 3-0 in league contests


McMINNVILLE — It wasn’t easy.

After all, McMinnville has some talented players, and the Tigers had a couple of defensive breakdowns.

But, in the end, the Tigard High School football team, stepping up big when it needed to, pulled away to get another key victory.

The Tigers remained unbeaten in Pacific Conference play by scoring a 43-24 win over the Grizzlies in a league game played Friday at McMinnville High School.

“McMinnville is a pretty good team with some fine playmakers,” Tigard coach Craig Ruecker said. “Overall, we played well on the road. We had a couple breakdowns on defense, but we also did a lot of good things on defense. On offense, we ran the ball well and passed well. We had a good mix.”

Tigard moved to 4-1 on the season with the win while also improving to 3-0 in Pacific Conference play, putting the Tigers in a tie with rival Tualatin for first place in the league standings.

McMinnville dropped to 2-1 in league play and to 3-2 on the season with the setback.

Tigard took an early 6-0 lead in Friday’s game following an 8-yard touchdown pass from senior running back Zach Floyd, operating at quarterback in the Tigers’ wildcat attack, to senior tight end Conner Olson coming with 52 seconds left in the first quarter.

McMinnville cut the lead in half after Jacob Bannister booted a 42-yard field goal with 8:55 remaining in the second quarter.

Tigard answered back with a 79-yard touchdown run by Floyd, giving the Tigers a 13-3 advantage with 7:25 left before halftime.

But McMinnville struck again, getting a 4-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Gage Gubrud to senior Blake Egli with 1:32 left in the quarter.

The Tigers came back again, moving 58 yards in 10 plays in their ensuing possession, capping off the drive with a 32-yard field goal by senior Benny Wick on the last play of the first half.

The three-pointer gave Tigard a 16-10 lead at the intermission.

Then, to start the second half, Tigard marched 72 yards in seven plays, ending with a 7-yard run by Floyd that upped the margin to 22-10 with 8:20 left in the third quarter.

“Those two drives were really big,” Ruecker said.

Still, the Grizzlies stayed close. McMinnville senior receiver Kane Kennedy scored on a 32-yard run on a reverse to cut Tigard’s lead to 22-17 with 3:23 left in the period.

The Tigers answered back again, getting an 11-yard touchdown pass from Floyd, again out of the wildcat, to senior tight end Robby Chabreck on the final play of the third quarter.

The TD pass, and two-point conversion run by Floyd, gave Tigard a 30-17 lead going into the final stanza.

McMinnville got a 44-yard touchdown pass from Gubrud to Bryce Anderson to start the fourth quarter.

But Tigard, getting a 17-yard TD run by Wick and a 2-yard scoring run by senior Kaz Greene, pulled away to get the 43-24 victory.

Tigard, as a team, rushed for 351 yards in the win. Floyd led the rushing attack, getting 245 yards on 17 carries. He also completed three of five pass attempts for 45 yards and he had an interception on defense.

Wick ran for 70 yards on 10 carries.

Tigard junior quarterback Jett Even completed five passes for 64 yards. Greene was the Tigers’ top receiver with three catches for 47 yards.

For the Tiger defense, junior defensive end A.J. Hotchkins had a quarterback sack and another tackle for a loss