The junior rushes for 286 yards and four TDs in Tigard's 49-13 win
FOREST GROVE - Tigard's usual three-headed monster of a running attack because just a one-headed monster on Friday.
But that one-headed monster ended up running rampant all over Forest Grove.
Tigard junior tailback Kaz Greene, thrust into a workhorse role due to injuries to Zach Floyd and Benny Wick, rushed for 286 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries to help the Tigers score a 49-13 win over Forest Grove in a Pacific Conference football game played at Forest Grove High School.
'That was fun,' the 5-foot-7, 150-pound Greene said after the game. 'I broke some long ones, finally. I didn't expect that I was going to get the ball that much. I had to step up.'
With the loss, Forest Grove moved to 1-2 in Pacific Conference play and to 1-4 on the season. Tigard improved to 3-0 in league games (5-0 overall), keeping the Tigers tied with Tualatin (a 48-0 winner at home over McMinnville on Friday) for first place in the league standings. Tigard will host the rival Timberwolves in a Pacific Conference showdown next Friday at 7 p.m.
'This win was big for us,' Greene said. 'We needed some momentum heading into the Tualatin game.'
But, the Tigers insist, they weren't overlooking Forest Grove. And that was probably a good thing, as the Vikings came out fired-up to start Friday's contest.
'Our hats are off to Forest Grove,' Tigard coach Craig Ruecker said. 'They took the fight to us in the first half. They did some good things.'
It didn't help the Tigers that they went into the contest without Floyd, who was held out to heal some nagging injuries. Then, on Tigard's first offensive series of the game, Wick went out of the game with what was described as a minor foot injury.
Time for Greene to step up.
'Going into the game, I thought I was going to split time with Benny. I thought I'd get some carries here and there,' said Greene, who also had an interception on defense. 'When he went out, I knew I was going to get the ball.'
And, when he got the ball, he did a lot with it. On his second carry of the game, Greene took a pitch to the left side and sprinted 74 yards down the sideline for a touchdown that gave Tigard a 7-0 lead with 6 minutes and 22 seconds left in the first quarter. And that was just the start of things.
'Kaz just exploded all over the place,' Tigard senior receiver/defensive back Brandon Wick said.
'He was just amazing,' Tigard senior fullback/defensive end Nolan Friesen said. 'He did an amazing job.'
But Greene was the first to admit that he had plenty of help.
'The offensive line did great all game. They're the heart of our team,' Greene said of the group that included junior center Matt Franz, senior guard Jarrad Schulte, junior guard Ethan Lange and senior tackles Isaac Schimmels and Jeremy Moore among others. 'And (sophomore running back) Manu Rasmussen really stepped up.'
'I think we're a special group,' Schimmels said of the Tigard linemen. 'We've got experience. We've really come together and have responded well.'
Tigard upped its lead to 14-0 when senior quarterback Niko Freni connected with sophomore tight end Jack Biglow for an eight-yard touchdown pass coming with 9:39 left in the second quarter. The TD toss capped off a 13-play, 64-yard scoring march.
Tigard pushed the margin to 21-0 when Brandon Wick, who was wide open down the left sideline, pulled in a 40-yard touchdown catch from junior quarterback Sam Stelk with 7:09 left before halftime.
'We practice and practice that play,' Wick said.
The Vikings got on the scoreboard when senior running back Jake Bennett scored a three-yard run with 2:01 left in the second quarter, cutting the Tigard lead to 21-7 going into halftime.
But the Tigers pulled away in decisive fashion in the third quarter.
Rasmussen had an 18-yard touchdown run and Green scored on runs of 46 and 16 yards in the period, giving Tigard a 42-7 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The margin was pushed to 49-7 when Greene scored on a 13-yard run with 9:43 left in the game.
Forest Grove got a six-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jesse Zamora to senior receiver Kyle Vanderkin with 1:10 remaining in the contest to make the final score 49-13.
'I feel like this was a big win for us,' Friesen said. 'Every game is big.'
'Every game is important,' Brandon Wick said. 'We try to treat them all the same.'
Greene, in having his big game, rushed for 164 yards in 12 carries in the first half and he went for 122 yards on 11 carries in the second half.
'We are blessed to have three outstanding tailbacks,' Ruecker said. 'Tonight, we went from three to one. We were kind of scrambling, but Kaz stepped up and the offensive line made it happen.'
Rasmussen added 30 yards and a touchdown on four carries.
Freni completed five of 11 pass attempts for 83 yards. Brandon Wick had two catches for 67 yards.
For the Tigard defense, senior Jesse Wantland, Friesen and senior Cody Bliss each had a quarterback sack. Junior Blake Chamberlain, Biglow and senior Travis Eurick each had a tackle for a loss. Brandon Wick had an interception.
'Everyone did their job on defense,' Wick said.
For Forest Grove, Zamora completed eight of 25 pass attempts for 119 yards. He also rushed for 30 yards on 11 carries. Bennett led the Vikings with 74 rushing yards on 12 carries. Junior Estevan Izquierdo ran for 35 yards on nine carries and senior tight end Chris Wertz had four catches for 75 yards.
For a compete game story, more photos and a preview of next week's Tigard-Tualatin game, see the Oct. 6 issue of the Tigard/Tualatin Times.