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Tigers power their way past Canby

Tigard advances to the quarterfinals with a 42-14 win


by: DAN BROOD - ZACH ATTACK -- Tigard senior Zach Floyd (23) looks for running room in Friday's state playoff second round game. Floyd rushed for 320 yards and three touchdown in the Tigers' 42-14 win.TIGARD — One word.

Power.

Power blocking. Power running. Power defense.

Well, there are a few more words you could add — such as speed, determination and focus.

Put those words all together, and you have an impressive postseason victory for the Tigard High School football team.

The Tigers, behind their powerful attack, drove their way to a 42-14 win over Canby in a Class 6A state playoff second-round game played Friday at Tigard High School.

“That was just awesome,” Tigard senior center/linebacker Matt Franz said after the win. “We were focused all week and came out played hard.”

“Our offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage,” Tigard coach Craig Ruecker said. “And our defense was magnificent.”

“Our offensive line played with a lot of power,” said Tigard senior running back Zach Floyd, who rushed for 320 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries, despite not feeling, in his own words, under the weather. “And we have a lot of speed. It’s hard for other teams to match our speed.”

Canby, the No. 2 team out of the Three Rivers League, finished its season with a final overall record of 6-5. Tigard, the Pacific Conference champion, improved to 10-1 on the season. The Tigers also advance to play in the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs. They’ll meet Central Catholic next Friday in a state playoff quarterfinal game at a site and time to be determined.

“We’re excited to get to play another game and we’re excited that we get to practice on Thanksgiving,” Ruecker said.

And it was a dominating running attack that helped lead the Tigers to that quarterfinal berth.

“Last time we played them (a 40-13 season-opening win at Canby in a game played Aug. 31 at Canby), we had to pass more because we couldn’t open holes,” Tigard lineman Ethan Lange said. “We wanted to prove we could run against a team that packed the box against us.”by: DAN BROOD - NO YOU DON'T -- Tigard junior Jake Biglow brings down Canby senior Konnen Bell in Friday's state playoff contest.

Mission accomplished.

Tigard, behind the offensive line of Franz, Lange, Cain Adams, Blake Chamberlain, Janak Ward and tight ends Conner Olson and Jake Biglow, rushed for 483 yards on 50 carries in the victory.

“The line opened up holes all night,” said Tigard junior running back Manu Rasmussen, who ran for 141 yards on 14 carries. “I just followed them. It was a lot of fun.”

Tigard, which threw just three passes all game, turned to its running attack to take the early lead. Floyd had a 55-yard run to help set up his own 1-yard touchdown blast to give Tigard a 7-0 advantage with 3 minutes and 48 seconds left to play in the first quarter.

A 26-yard touchdown run by Rasmussen upped the Tigard lead to 14-0 with 10:56 remaining in the second quarter.

Floyd then capped off an 82-yard drive with a 6-yard TD run that made the score 21-0 with 5:40 remaining before halftime.

Canby, after recovering a Tigard fumble at the Tiger 24-yard line, got a 6-yard touchdown pass from junior Timmy Johnson to junior Dominic Shorter with 3.4 seconds left in the second quarter to trim the Tigard lead to 21-7 at halftime.

But Tigard continued with its potent power attack to start the second half. The Tigers opened the third quarter with a 12-play, 65-yard drive that concluded with a 2-yard touchdown run by Floyd, which made the score 28-7 with 6:34 left in the period.

Rasmussen added a 43-yard touchdown run to push the margin to 35-7 with 2:12 left in the game.

With 3:23 left to play in the game, the Tigard defense got into the scoring act. Tigard senior Robby Chabreck forced a Canby fumble, and Rasmussen scooped up the loose ball and sprinted 57 yards for a touchdown that made the score 42-7 with 3:23 left in the game.

“Rob made that happen,” Rasmussen said. “It was all Rob. I had the easy part.”

Canby got a touchdown run by sophomore Devon Fortier with 10.8 seconds left in the game to make the final score 42-14.

“This was a big win for us,” Floyd said. “This class, the class of 2013, always has been determined to be the best we can be. We’re no joke. We can play with anyone.”

“This was real fun tonight,” Rasmussen said. “It was fun for everyone.”

The Tigard linemen certainly seemed to have fun.

“We all stepped up and played big,” Franz said. “We always want to run the ball. Our backs are outstanding, especially with the way they responded to the circumstances. They all stepped up.”

The Tigard backfield corps was missing two of its main contributors in seniors Benny Wick and Kaz Greene, who are out of action due to injury. But the Tiger running attack didn’t seem to miss a beat.

The Tigard defense also seemed to be hitting on all cylinders in Friday’s game, as the Tigers limited Canby to 231 yards of total offense.

“We played huge on defense,” Lange said. “We played hard and stayed focused.”

“We played with great discipline and speed on defense,” Ruecker said.

Tigard junior A.J. Hotchkins had a pair of tackles for losses before he had to leave the game due to injury. Ward and senior Anthony Consolo each added a tackle for a loss.

Johnson led the Cougars in rushing with 47 yards on seven carries.

For a complete game story, more photos and a preview of Tigard’s quarterfinal game with Central Catholic, see the Nov. 22 issue of the Tigard/Tualatin Times.