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Wolves' rally falls short in loss to Jesuit

Tualatin rallies from 22-0 down within 22-14 before falling short
by: Miles Vance WING IT – Tualatin senior quarterback Travis Johnson releases a pass in his team's 22-14 loss to Jesuit in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs on Friday at Jesuit High School.

BEAVERTON - Tualatin's Friday night playoff game at Jesuit just about had it all.

A match-up of two of the state's top programs, a scintillating second-half comeback by the Timberwolves, and even a first-quarter snow flurry.

What it didn't have, however, was a Tualatin victory.

The Timberwolves rallied from a 22-0 deficit at Jesuit High School in their second-round Class 6A state playoff game, closed within 22-14 and created a turnover with 3 minutes, 7 seconds left to play. But Tualatin couldn't capitalize on that late opportunity and saw its season end in a 22-14 loss.

Tualatin, the Pacific Conference runner-up, saw its season end at 8-3, while Jesuit, the Metro League co-champ, improved to 8-3 and advanced to a Friday quarterfinal match-up against Tigard.

'We came up short. I'm disappointed, but I'm proud of our team,' said Tualatin senior running back/linebacker Brady Watts, who recovered a Jesuit fumble to set up the Wolves' last-gasp shot at victory. 'We knew couldn't let them get away from us in the second half, and we really came together.'

'I'm so proud of my team. We stepped up in the second half,' said senior quarterback/defensive back Travis Johnson, who went 7-of-18 passing for 124 yards and one touchdown. 'They were really tough, but I'm just proud of our guys to come back and not get down on themselves.'

As exciting as the second half was, Jesuit definitely owned the first half. The Crusaders got a 28-yard Ryan Cope field goal on their first series, then -- after Jesuit's Harrison Bruce recovered a Brady Brajavich fumble -- added a 10-yard TD run by AJ Glass to make it 10-0 late in the first quarter.

The Wolves stopped Jesuit's first series of the second quarter with a Brajavich interception, but the Crusaders forced a Tualatin punt, then drove 53 yards to score, capping that possession with a 1-yard TD plunge by quarterback Nicholas Rothstein to make it 16-0 at the half.

Jesuit then drove 89 yards to open the second half and extended its lead to 22-0 on another 1-yard Rothstein run, that score set up by Glass' 71 run.

But Jesuit wouldn't score again and the Wolves began to rally then and there. Tualatin drove 65 yards on its ensuing series, with Johnson hitting Aireon Tavarres for 48 yards, then connecting with Salton on an 18-yard scoring strike to the right flag midway through the third.

Then, after Austin Green recovered a Glass fumble early in the fourth, the Wolves drove 62 yards to score, with Johnson going 4-of-8 on the drive for 53 yards and Jeffrey Williams scoring from 1 yards out to close within 22-14 with 5:11 left on the clock.

Five plays later, Watts recovered another Glass fumble and Tualatin had its last chance with 3:07 to go at the Jesuit 47. But Tualatin came up empty on four plays, and Jesuit killed the clock to close out its win.

To see a complete story and more photos, please see Thursday's edition of the Times.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.