The Wolves, behind some clutch plays on defense, get a 17-7 victory

TUALATIN — Coming off a loss to rival Tigard, the Tualatin High School football team really felt the need to bounce back with a big win.

Thanks to some clutch play on the defensive side of the ball, the Timberwolves got that needed victory.

Tualatin, coming up with goal-line stand after goal-line stand, powered its way to a 17-7 win over McMinnville in a key Pacific Conference contest played last Thursday at Tualatin High School.

“This is a big one for us,” Tualatin coach Rob Hastin said. “We had to come back together and be a team. McMinnville is a good team. They’re big and fast, but our defense played really well in the red zone.”

McMinnville fell to 3-2 in league contests and to 4-3 on the season. Tualatin improved to 4-1 in Pacific Conference play and to 6-1 on the season. The 4-1 league mark keeps the Wolves in a tie with Century for second place in the league standings. The Wolves earned that spot behind its unyielding defense.

“The team played hard when it really counted and came up big,” Hastin said. “It was a real team effort on defense.”

That team effort started early, as Tualatin got a hand on a 27-yard field goal attempt by McMinnville’s Jacob Bannister in the game’s first series. Three more times in the first half, the Timberwolf defense stopped the Grizzlies, and standout junior quarterback Gage Gubrud, inside the Tualatin 1-yard line — one of those times, forcing a Gubrud fumble right before he crossed the goal line.

Meanwhile, Tualatin took a 7-0 lead on a 12-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Brandon Shroyer coming late in the second quarter.

After neither team was able to score in the third quarter, Tualatin upped its lead to 14-0 when Shroyer scored on a 1-yard run with 10 minutes and 19 seconds remaining.

McMinnville senior Kane Kennedy returned the ensuing kickoff 93 yards for a touchdown, trimming the lead to 14-7 with 10:05 left in the contest.

But the Grizzlies couldn’t get any closer.

Tualatin senior Caio Alves booted a 27-yard field goal with 1:18 left in the contest to cap off the Wolves’ 17-7 win.

Tualatin faces another big league challenge Friday when it faces Century in a league game set to start at 7 p.m. at Hillsboro Stadium.

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