Vikings get a huge 43-34 victory over the rival Grizzlies

As it turns out, these Vikings are for real.

Last Friday, the Forest Grove football team traveled to McMinnville to take on a Grizzlies squad that coach Dwight Jensen had previously pegged as belonging in the Pacific Conference’s upper echelon. By a score of 43-34, Forest Grove walked away with a win, easily the program’s most significant of the year.

Both teams moved to 3-1 on the season and 1-1 in league play, and the victory meant that this year’s Vikings squad has already topped last year’s win total.

Against the Grizzlies, quarterback Taylor Jensen and running back Gio Tayetto combined for six scores, the offense racked up 646 total yards and the Vikings picked up a resounding victory to follow up their first loss of the season, to Tualatin on Sept. 13.

Last Friday’s contest was a back-and-forth affair most of the way. Forest Grove took a narrow 17-14 lead into halftime thanks to Tony Matiaco’s 16-yard touchdown reception from Jensen on a screen pass and a two-point conversion by the same duo with 43 seconds remaining in the second quarter.

McMinnville responded less than two minutes into the third quarter with a touchdown that gave the Grizzlies a 21-17 lead.

After that, though, Forest Grove took control. Starting with Tayetto’s 27-yard rushing touchdown with 8:26 remaining in the quarter, Forest Grove put three consecutive scores on the board to build a lead that would not be relinquished. Matiaco caught his second touchdown pass of the night from Jensen, this time for 30 yards, and Tayetto added a 4-yard scoring plunge with 1:34 left in the period to give the Vikings a 36-21 lead.

McMinnville did not disappear in the fourth quarter, scoring two touchdowns, but in between them, Ethan Thursam tallied one of his own on a 43-yard flea flicker from Jensen with 3:30 remaining to help keep the game out of reach.

Thursam was Jensen’s favorite target on the night with nine receptions for 190 yards. Zac Collins added seven catches for 111 yards and a touchdown, while Matiaco had three catches for 82 yards.

In addition to his two scores, Tayetto ran for 130 yards on 16 carries, and Jensen went 23-for-33 and threw for an eye-popping 433 yards — his second 400-yard performance of the season. Cody Smith led the defense with total 16 tackles.

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