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Vikings struggle against physical Tualatin squad

Timberwolves rush for 304 yards in a dominant 42-7 Pacific Conference win over Forest Grove

Forest Grove's playoff credentials took a hit on Friday night with a 42-7 loss to Tualatin in Pacific Conference play, but the Vikings can still earn a first-round home game with a win in their regular-season finale this week against Glencoe.

The conference's top four teams earn byes through the play-in round of the Class 6A state playoffs, while the bottom four must play their way into the postseason. Only the league's fifth-place finisher gets to host a game in the play-in round, and a Viking win on Friday could keep the team from traveling.

Forest Grove (2-6, 2-4) is currently tied with Newberg and Glencoe for fifth place in the conference standings, and McMinnville is a game ahead in fourth.

A Forest Grove win this week, coupled with a McMinnville victory over Newberg, would land the Vikings in fifth place and earn them a home game against the last-place finisher from the Three Rivers League. A loss could sink the Viks as low as seventh, which would send them on the road against the Three Rivers' No. 4 seed.

No matter how you slice it, this week's game is a big one for the Vikings, especially coming off Friday's loss.

Tualatin (6-2, 5-1) established a physical presence early in the game, taking a quick 7-0 lead on Brady Watts' 96-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Watts scored on a 2-yard plunge midway through the second quarter, and Aireon Tavarres made it 21-0 just before halftime with a 5-yard scoring run.

The Timberwolves pulled away in the second half behind quarterback Travis Johnson, who ran in an 8-yard score and then added a 24-yard touchdown pass to Alex Fonseca that made it 35-0 with 2:35 left in the third quarter. Jeffrey Williams added a 4-yard scoring run near the end of the period to give Tualatin a 42-0 advantage.

Forest Grove got its only touchdown early in the fourth quarter on a 29-yard pass from Jesse Zamora to Chris Wertz, who finished with five receptions for a game-high 100 yards. Zamora completed 11-of-19 passes for 147 yards.

Tualatin held a significant advantage in offensive yardage, especially on the ground. The Timberwolves rushed for 304 yards in the game and finished with 425 yards of total offense to 149 for Forest Grove.

The Vikings were limited to only two yards rushing as a team. Jon Dober led Forest Grove with 54 yards on 16 carries.

Forest Grove will face Glencoe (2-6, 2-4) at 7 p.m. on Friday at Hare Field in Hillsboro.