The Tigers turn the ball over eight times and are unable to overcome a 28-0 halftime deficit Friday on the road

CANBY — Entering the first round of the OSAA state playoffs, the matchup between No. 12 Canby and No. 21 Newberg promised to be one of the most interesting and perhaps evenly-matched contests in the 6A bracket.

That didn’t turn out to be the case as the Tigers turned the ball over six times in the first half, helping the Cougars roll to a 35-7 victory Friday night at Canby High School. by: SETH GORDON - Escape artist - Grayson Oviatt avoids a defender with the help of block from offensive lineman Dakota Church during Newberg's 35-7 loss to Canby Friday in a 6A first-round state playoff game. Oviatt finished with 52 yards rushing.

“You can’t have turnovers in the playoffs and expect to win any game, the teams are just too good, and that’s just what we did,” head coach T.J. Tomlin said. “If we don’t do that, it’s at least a close game and we have a chance to play and win. That was frustrating because I thought we were more prepared and ready than it showed in the first half.”

Running back Dominic Shorter opened the scoring for Canby with a 46-yard touchdown jaunt 4:24 into the game. The Cougars stuffed Newberg’s next drive and quickly doubled their lead on the following possession, cashing in on a 1-yard Noah Kyllo touchdown plunge with 4:51 remaining in the first.

Canby successfully recovered the ensuing onside kick to maintain possession, but the Newberg defense held, forcing a turnover on downs. Canby appeared to be going for it on fourth-and-8, but snapped the ball over quarterback Austin Taylor’s head.

The Tigers drove inside the 30-yard line on the ensuing drive, but the cavalcade of turnovers started in earnest with a fumble following a completed pass.

Newberg again held on defense, forcing a punt, but the ball was fumbled on the return and recovered by Canby along the home team’s sideline.

Canby pushed the lead to 21-0 on a 1-yard Shorter touchdown run. Disaster struck again for the Tigers as the ensuing kickoff was misplayed and the Cougars pounced on the ball at the Newberg 12-yard line.

Amazingly, the Newberg defense produced a goal-line stand to regain possession, but fumbled again on the ensuing possession, setting Canby up for an easy 4-yard touchdown on the ensuing play to make it 28-0.

“It’s tough to get back when you dig yourself a hole,” senior Andy Tautfest said. “When you’re away and you have the home crowd against you, it’s hard to build momentum.”

Newberg (5-5) opened the second half with an impressive 78-yard touchdown drive that was capped by a 1-yard Matthew McCarthy run, but the Cougars answered back with a score of their own to thwart any realistic chance of a comeback. The game closed out in sloppy fashion from that point on, as both teams struggled with turnovers. Newberg finished with eight for the game.

“I was trying to tell the seniors that anytime you lose your last game it’s going to hurt no matter what,” Tomlin said. “But they can hold their heads high. They’ve set an expectation here at Newberg that we expect to be in the playoffs every year and the foundation has to be built somewhere. I told the seniors they started the foundation, hopefully, for great years to come for Newberg football.”

The Tigers were seeking their first playoff victory since 2000 after making the playoffs for the first time since 2009 and that’s what Tautfest said he will remember, not the final loss.

“I’m so proud of my team, my coaches and all the fans,” Taufest said. “The team had a great year, so I’m not going to dwell on the loss. Like coach Tomlin said, we started something here. We raised the bar for Newberg football. I’m going to look back at that and know we did something good here.”

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