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Late drive gives Wolves thrilling playoff victory

Football: Tualatin will play at Jesuit in a state playoff second round tilt Friday

TUALATIN - An exciting finish.

A thrilling win.

And a bunch of happy Timberwolves.

The Tualatin High School football team was all smiles after it scored a nail-biting 17-14 victory over Sunset in a Class 6A state playoff game held Friday at Tualatin.

'That was pretty exciting,' Tualatin coach Rob Hastin said. 'It was just a great finish and a great game.'

Sunset, the No. 3 team out of the Metro League, finished its season with a final overall record of 604.

Tualatin, the Pacific Conference runner-up, improved to 8-2 on the season with the victory. The Timberwolves also advance to the second round of the state playoffs. They'll face Jesuit in a Class 6A state playoff second-round contest Friday, starting at 7 p.m. at Jesuit High School.

'That's going to be a huge challenge,' Hastin said. 'Jesuit always has a great team. They've got a quality team with great size and good speed.'

Jesuit, the Metro League co-champion, brings a 7-3 overall record into Friday's game.

This will be the second straight year Tualatin has clashed with the Crusaders in the state playoffs. Last year, the Wolves posted a 26-22 win over Jesuit in the semifinal round of the state playoffs.

'That was an unbelievable game,' Hastin said. 'But we're a different team this year and they're a different team. We'll have to play a flawless game and keep playing great defense. That's been the backbone of our team this year.'

Defense way key for the Wolves in Friday's playoff opener with Sunset.

Neither team mounted much offense in the first half of Friday's game, with Tualatin notching the only score on a 1-yard touch-down run by junior Zach Salton run in the second quarter to lead 7-0 at the break.

Timberwolf senior Nathan Suyematsu added a 41-yard field goal in the third quarter, but Sunset answered later with an 11-yard touchdown pass from Dave Poorman toRyan Hendry to close within 10-7.

Sunset then took its first lead in the fourth quarter when Poorman found Cole Abdie on a 46-yard TD pass to push ahead 14-10.

But Tualatin responded late in the game, capping off a clutch scoring drive with a 5-yard touchdown run by junior Andrew Schlottmann on a sweep around right end to give the Wolves a 17-14 lead with just 1 minute and 13 seconds left in the contest.

Sunset had one last shot. The Apollos moved the ball to the Tualatin 5-yard line in the final minute. After two incomplete passes to the end zone, Sunset attempted a potential game-tying 23-yard field goal attempt, but the kick sailed wide left, leaving Tualatin with the three-point victory.

'The game-winning drive was incredible,' Hastin said. '(Tualatin senior quarterback) Travis (Johnson) went out there and said 'we're going to do this.''

Senior Brady Watts was Tigard's leading rusher in the contest with 54 yards on 15 carries. Johnson added 27 rushing yards while also completing eight of 17 pass attempts for 129 yards.

Junior Jeffrey Williams was the Wolves' leading receiver with a pair of catches for 48 yards. Kevin MacPherson added two catches for 39 yards and Suyematsu had two grabs for 36 yards.

Watts had an interception on defense for Tualatin.

Bruce Jones led Sunset runners with eight carries for 41 yards, Poorman went 12-for-28 passing for 195 yards, with Abdie making four catches for 64 yards, Sam Moshofsky catching four for 60 and Hendry three for 52.

The winner of Friday's game at Jesuit will face either Tigard or Southridge in the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs.