Tigard football: The Green team comes away with a 46-42 win, and gets to enjoy the complete postgame meal
by: DAN BROOD ON THE RUN — Chad Colson (20) heads upfield during Saturday’s Chicken and Beans Bowl.

TIGARD - Motivation.

It sure seemed to be evident in a very big way Saturday night at Tigard High School.

For the Tiger football players there was motivation in the form of getting to play a game in front of an enthusiastic crowd. They were motivated by the chance to do some hitting and they were motivated by the thoughts of the 2011 season being just a few months away.

But there was even more motivation.

Food - and the smell of barbecue chicken that was drifting through the air.

A full barbecue meal with all the fixings was on the line when the split-up Tigard team took the field for the third-annual Chicken and Beans Bowl, held at Tiger Stadium.

'Food is good bribery,' Tigard lineman Jarrad Schulte said after the game.

The premise to the game was simple. The winning team in the Chicken and Beans Bowl got to enjoy a postgame meal of barbecue chicken and beans, as well as the other fixings. The losing team was allowed only beans for its postgame meal.

'No one wants to eat just beans,' said Niko Freni, who quarterbacked the Green team to a 46-42 victory over the White squad. 'This game is a lot of fun. And winning is always fun.'

The game, which capped off Tigard's spring practice session, featured plenty of offensive fireworks as well as some hard-smacking hits and a few trick plays.

'That was a lot of fun,' Tigard coach Craig Ruecker said. 'I'm real proud of our guys. We've been practicing for about a week and a half, and these young men went out and made the plays. They executed a lot of good things out there tonight.'

It didn't take long for the offensive explosion to begin in Saturday's game.

On the first play of the game, Freni, who will be a Tiger senior this fall, completed a 48-yard pass to Chance Taylor. That helped set up a 9-yard touchdown run by Chad Colson. Benny Wick added the two-point conversion run to give the Green squad an 8-0 lead just 56 seconds into the contest.

The White team answered right back. The White squad moved 70 yards in eight plays, capping off the drive with a 2-yard TD burst by Zach Floyd. The conversion pass failed, leaving the Green squad with an 8-6 lead with 7:35 left in the first quarter.

The Green squad came right back with Wick scoring on a 28-yard TD run to give his team a 14-6 lead with 2:40 left in the opening quarter. Wick carried the ball four times for 97 yards on the scoring drive, where the Green team had to overcome a pair of quarterback sacks and an offensive pass interference penalty.

The White squad, getting a 12-yard touchdown run by Floyd and a two-point conversion pass from Sam Stelk to tight end Jesse Wantland, tied the game at 14-14 to open the second quarter.

But the Green team took charge from there. Freni had a 34-yard touchdown reception coming on a double reverse pass from receiver Sean McGetrick. Wick added a two-point conversion run to give the Green a 22-14 lead with 10:47 left in the first half.

Green defensive lineman Cody Bliss then recovered a White fumble on the next offensive possession.

The Green squad took advantage of the turnover, getting a 3-yard touchdown run by Wick, followed by a two-point conversion pass from Freni to McGetrick, giving the Green squad a 30-14 lead.

The White squad answered back when Stelk found Wantland open on a quick-hitter over the middle for a 26-yard touchdown pass play, which trimmed the Green lead to 30-20 at halftime.

The second half of the game was played with a running clock, but that didn't seem to slow down the offenses.

The White team quickly moved the ball down the field to start the third quarter. A 49-yard pass from Stelk to Brandon Wick set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Nolan Friesen. Stelk then threw a two-point conversion pass to Wick to make the score 30-28.

The Green team then got a 21-yard touchdown run from Benny Wick, who also added a two-point conversion run, upping the margin back to 10, at 38-28 with 2:24 left in the third quarter.

On the very next play from scrimmage, Stelk threw a quick pass to Floyd out in the left flat. Floyd, after making one quick cut, got to the sideline and outsprinted the defense to complete a 70-yard touchdown play. He added the two-point conversion to make the score 38-36.

In the fourth quarter, the Green team got a 7-yard touchdown run by Freni on a bootleg play and the White squad got a 3-yard TD run by Floyd, making the final score 46-42.

'That was really good,' Freni said. 'There was a lot of good hitting out there.'

In addition to the Green and White teams, there was also a Black team in Saturday's game. That group, which mainly included offensive linemen, played for both teams.

The group of Black team linemen, including Schulte, Janak Ward, Matt Franz, Blake Chamberlain, Isaac Schimmels and Sam Crawford, helped pave the way for 879 yards of total offense in the contest.

'I'm so proud of the linemen,' Freni said. 'I have the most confidence in our line, and they stepped up.'

'That was absolutely fun,' said Schulte, who will be a Tigard senior in the fall. 'Playing for both teams was a little tiring at first, but once we started hitting, it was good. For as much time we had in practice, I thought things went great. People on the line stepped up and did their jobs.'

The Green squad rushed for 251 yards on 20 carries in the victory. Benny Wick, who will be a junior in the fall, rushed for 149 yards and three touchdowns on 11 carries. Colson, who will be a Tigard senior in the fall, added 107 rushing yards on five carries.

Freni, who also quarterbacked the winning team in last year's Chicken and Beans Bowl, completed eight of 12 pass attempts for 150 yards.

'It was great to win again,' he said.

Taylor had two receptions for 57 yards. Robby Chabreck had two catches for 40 yards and McGetrick had two grabs for 18 yards.

For the Green defense, Bliss had a fumble recovery and lineman Nick Smith had a tackle for a loss.

Floyd, who will be a Tigard junior in the fall, led the White squad with 151 rushing yards on 15 carries. He had three rushing touchdowns and four total TDs in the game.

Stelk, who played at Summit of Bend last fall as a sophomore, completed 10 of 14 pass attempts for 253 yards. Brandon Wick had four catches for 118 yards.

For the White defense, linemen Andrew Jones and Braden Anderton each had a quarterback sack.

As soon as Saturday's game ended, the teams all gathered as one.

'We're absolutely one big team now,' Schulte said.

'We're totally one big team again,' Freni said. 'As a team, we've got a long way to go, but I'm excited. I think we've got a lot to look forward to.'

Tigard will open the 2011 season Sept. 2 when it plays at Southridge in a non-league game.

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