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Second-half surge lifts Tigers past Skyhawks

The Skyhawks trail just 21-17 in the second quarter before falling
by: Dan Brood ROUND TWO — Southridge running back Jake Pruit breaks a tackle during his team’s 48-17 loss to Tigard in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs at Tigard High School on Friday.

TIGARD - The season came to an end earlier than the Southridge High School football team had hoped.

But it was a season that saw the Skyhawks step up, win a share of the Metro League championship, and in Friday's Class 6A state playoff second round game, battle to the end.

But, in the end, undefeated Tigard proved to be just too much.

Southridge saw its season come to a close with a 48-17 loss to the Tigers in a contest that was played at Tigard High School.

'We played hard and battled,' Southridge junior receiver/defensive back Kevin McClean said after the game. 'They have a great run game. It was hard to stop them, but we tried our best.'

'Tigard's a good football team. They were flawless and we didn't play as well as we've been playing,' added Southridge coach Brad Mastrud.

Tigard, the Pacific Conference champion, improved to 11-0 on the season with the victory. The Tigers also advanced to the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs. Tigard will play at Jesuit Friday in a quarterfinal game set to start at 7 p.m.

Southridge, coming off a 2010 season that saw the team go 4-7, finished this year with an overall record of 6-5. The Skyhawks also went 4-1 in Metro League play, sharing the league crown with Jesuit.

'It was a lot better than last year,' McClean said. 'We started the season slow, but something happened on defense, and we took off.'

'I think our team came a long way this season,' Mastrud said. 'We've played better games this year, but we're not going to let one game define our season.'

Southridge lost its first three games of the season, including a 49-41 season-opening setback to Tigard. But the Skyhawks rebounded in a big way, winning six of their last seven contests going into the playoff game at Tigard. Included in that span of games was a 21-20 victory over Jesuit.

But Southridge had trouble carrying that momentum into Friday's contest at Tigard, and the Tigers got off to a flying start in the contest.

In Tigard's second possession of the game, with junior running back Zach Floyd operating at quarterback in a wildcat formation, the home team took a 7-0 lead when junior running back Kaz Greene scored on a 29-yard run with 5 minutes and 40 seconds left in the first quarter.

The next time Tigard had the ball, Floyd, again working out of the wildcat, scored on an 11-yard run to give the Tigers a 14-0 advantage with 59 seconds to go in the first quarter.

But Southridge quickly came back.

A 58-yard pass from junior quarterback Reza Aleaziz to McClean, who was open sprinting down the right sideline, put the ball at the Tigard 3-yard line. A 2-yard run by senior fullback Mason Tanuvasa put the ball at the 1-yard line. From there, Aleaziz powered hits way into the end zone on a quarterback sneak for a touchdown that trimmed the Tigard lead to 14-7 with 11:25 left in the second quarter.

But the Tigers answered back immediately, as Floyd returned the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown, upping the lead to 21-7 with 11:11 left before halftime.

The persistent Skyhawks battled back again, putting together an 85-yard scoring drive on their next possession.

An 18-yard pass from Aleaziz to McClean and a 30-yard connection between Aleaziz and sophomore receiver Jordan Morgan moved the ball to the Tigard 30-yard line. Sophomore running back Jake Pruit then carried the ball 13 yards to the Tiger 17-yard line.

Two plays later, Aleaziz, under pressure and scrambling to his right, found McClean open in the middle of the end zone. McClean made a sliding catch of the 14-yard pass for a touchdown that trimmed the lead to 21-14 with 8:41 remaining before halftime.

Soon after, the Skyhawks got even closer.

On the next Tigard possession, Southridge senior defensive back Matt Miller made a leaping interception of a Niko Freni pass at the Tiger 41-yard line.

The Skyhawks took advantage of the turnover, eventually getting a 36-yard field goal by sophomore Alex Beekman to cut the margin to 21-17 with 4:37 left in the second quarter.

But Tigard answered back, as junior running back Benny Wick capped off a 65-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown burst coming with 39.5 seconds left in the first half, giving the Tigers a 27-17 lead at the intermission.

The Tigers, while happy with their 10-point halftime lead, took over in a big way in the second half.

Tigard, on its first possession of the third quarter, marched 94 yards in 14 plays, capping things off with a 1-yard touchdown run by Wick, making the score 34-17 with 2:37 left in the period.

On their next possession, the Tigers went 76 yards in 12 plays, getting a 17-yard touchdown run by Floyd out of the wildcat formation to up the margin to 41-17 with 6:58 left to play in the game.

Tigard, which held a 16:02 to 7:58 advantage in time of possession in the second half, finished the scoring with a 63-yard scoring scamper by Greene coming with 2:49 left to play.

In the second half, the Tigard defense held Southridge to 57 total yards on 18 plays. Meanwhile, the Tigard offense had 226 yards of total offense on 32 plays in the second half.

'That 10-point lead we had at halftime wasn't enough,' Floyd said. 'In the second half, we played great defense and, on offense, we did what we needed to do.'

Tigard had 373 yards of total offense in the win, rushing for 337 yards on 51 carries.

Floyd rushed for a game-high 153 rushing yards on 19 carries. Greene added 137 rushing yards on 10 carries and Wick ran for 59 yards on 17 carries.

Freni went 5-of-6 passing for 36 yards. Senior receiver Sean McGetrick had two receptions for 22 yards for the Tigers.

Southridge had 255 yards of total offense in the contest.

'We could have played better,' McClean said. 'I'm not saying we could have beat them, but you never know.'

'We played OK in the first half, but after that, we just couldn't convert third downs,' Mastrud said. 'But we've got a lot of young kids who contributed to the program that will be back next year.'

Aleaziz completed 10 of 21 pass attempts for 171 yards. Sophomore Devin Martinez was the Skyhawks' leading rusher with 32 yards on 12 carries. Junior receiver Justin Calo had three catches for 20 yards and Morgan had two receptions for 44 yards.