Unbeaten Tigers pull away in second half

Football: Tigard scores 47 2nd-half points in its 61-21 victory at McMinnville

McMINNVILLE - It was close for a half.

But, in the third quarter, the Tigard High School football team stepped on the gas.

The Tigers then slammed the pedal through the medal in the fourth quarter.

Tigard, scoring 47 second-half points, including 33 in the final stanza, pulled away from McMinnville to get a 61-21 win over the Grizzlies in a Pacific Conference game played last Thursday at McMinnville High School.

McMinnville fell to 2-3 in league games and to 3-4 on the season with the setback. Tigard improved to 5-0 in Pacific Conference contests - keeping the Tigers alone in first place in the league standings - and to 7-0 on the season.

Last Thursday's game started off well enough for the Tigers.

On the first play from scrimmage, Tigard senior quarterback Niko Freni and senior receiver Brandon Wick teamed up for a 63-yard pass play that moved the ball to the McMinnville 21-yard line.

Tigard junior running back Benny Wick took the ball to the end zone two plays later from 21 yards out to give Tigard a 7-0 lead with 11 minutes and 6 seconds left in the first quarter.

Tigard upped the lead to 14-0 when Freni threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to sophomore tight end Jake Biglow with 9:28 left in the second quarter.

McMinnville answered back, getting a 14-yard touchdown run by junior Spencer Payne to cut the lead to 14-7 with 5:50 left before halftime. Neither team scored again in the first half, leaving Tigard with a seven-point lead at the intermission.

The Tigers then began to pull away in the third quarter. They got a 13-yard scoring toss from Freni to Biglow and a 1-yard touchdown run by junior Zach Floyd to up their lead to 28-7 going into the fourth quarter.

That's when things really got crazy.

Floyd scored on a 24-yard run on the second play from scrimmage in the final period, upping the lead to 35-7.

On the very next play from scrimmage, McMinnville sophomore quarterback Gabe Gubrud threw a 42-yard touchdown pass to junior Kane Kennedy, making the score 35-14 with 10:50 left in the game.

Floyd's third touchdown run of the game, this one coming from four yards out, upped the margin to 41-14 with 7:43 remaining in the game.

It didn't take Tigard long to strike again.

On the ensuing McMinnville possession, Tigard senior lineman Jeremy Moore sacked Gubrud, and forced a fumble. Tiger junior defensive end Sam Stelk recovered the ball on the Grizzly 11-yard line.

On the very next play, Freni and Biglow teamed up for their third TD pass play of the game, pushing the lead to 47-14 with 7:09 left to play.

Tigard added on a 1-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Brad Davis and a 51-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Manu Rasmussen in the final minutes of the game to cap off its 33-point fourth quarter and 61-21 victory.

In the fourth quarter alone, Tigard had 198 yards of total offense, with Rasmussen rushing for 106 yards on seven carries in the period. Moore also had three quarterback sacks in the quarter.

For the game, Tigard amassed 607 yards of total offense. The Tigers had 359 rushing yards on 41 carries.

Benny Wick led the rushing attack with 153 yards on 17 carries. Rasmussen had his big fourth quarter on the ground and Floyd rushed for 79 yards on 11 carries.

Freni completed 10 of 17 pass attempts for 244 yards and three touchdowns, all to Biglow, who had four catches for 47 yards.

Brandon Wick added three receptions for 126 yards.

Moore, in addition to his three quarterback sacks in the contest, also recovered a McMinnville fumble.

Senior linebacker Jesse Wantland also had a sack for the Tiger defense.

Tigard will be back in action Friday when it hosts Newberg (2-3, 3-4) in a Pacific Conference game starting at 7 p.m. at Tigard High School.