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Big-play Generals escape Beaverton upset bid – barely

Grant scores the game-winner with just 1:27 left to beat the Beavers 35-28

PORTLAND - Opportunities.

Those cashed in on and those missed were the story of the day in Beaverton's 35-28 non-league loss at Grant on Friday.

The Generals (3-1 in non-league action) scored four touchdowns of 63 yards or longer on Friday, and none of those were bigger than Jack Fitzpatrick-Blackmun's 73-yard TD catch from Paris Penn with 1 minute 27 seconds left in Friday's fourth quarter.

The Beavers, meanwhile, who fell to 2-2 in non-league play, came up empty on back-to-back possessions in the first half when they had first downs inside the Grant 10-yard line.

"We did good, but we could have done better," said Beaverton senior noseguard Pita Tafea. "It was just little mistakes. We've just got to stay more aware of everyone."

"If we just execute the plays that were open, we would have won," added senior wide receiver Devon Adams, who led his team in receiving and also returned a Grant punt for a 37-yard touchdown in the second quarter. "We'll see them again and we'll get our execution down."

The Beavers took the day's opening possession and marched downfield to take a 7-0 lead when Nick Houlemard scored on a 3-yard touchdown run just 2 minutes, 21 seconds into the game.

Grant answered midway through the period with the first of its four long TDs. Facing second-and-six from the Grant 25-yard line, the Generals sent LJ Sly-Cain up the middle and he broke through the middle clean and raced 75 yards to score.

Beaverton misfired next on consecutive possessions deep in Grant territory, stopped once after getting a first down at the Generals' 8-yard line, then a second time after notching a first down at the Grant 4.

But Adams came through next after the Beaverton "D" made a big stop of its own, taking a short Daniel Halverson punt at the Grant 37, cutting right and breaking a tackle for a 37-yard TD return and a 14-7 lead.

Grant tied the game just 20 seconds later, though, getting a Paris Penn-to-Sly-Cain screen pass that turned into a 63-yard score and tied the game at 14-14.

Grant notched yet another big play to open the third quarter, with Penn completing a pass to Cordell Harris in the left flat and Harris breaking tackles en route to a 65-yard touchdown.

Beaverton's Ershad Mahmood set up his team's next score when he picked off a Penn pass near midfield, and nine plays later, Malik Fontleroy-Smith went 12 yards up the middle to score and - after a missed PAT -- bring his team within 21-20.

Grant extended its lead to 28-20 when Sly-Cain scored on a 2-yard run, but Beaverton came back one more time, getting a 2-yard TD run from quarterback Kyle Eckrosh, and then the conversion run by Brandon Cornwell to make it 28-28 with

just 3:14 left to play.

But the Generals had one last arrow in their quiver and they used it, with Penn connecting with Fitzpatrick-Blackmun down the left sideline for the 73-yard game-winning score with just 1:27 left to play.

Next week, Beaverton will open Metro League play at Southridge at 7:30 p.m. Friday.

For a complete game story and more photos, please see next week's edition of the Beaverton Valley Times.