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Tigard eyes Central Catholic challenge

The quarterfinal tilt will be played Friday at Hillsboro Stadium


by: DAN BROOD - THERE IT IS -- Tigard High School senior Robby Chabreck looks to scoop up a Canby fumble during Friday's state playoff second-round game. The Tigers picked up a 42-14 victory to advance to this week's state quarterfinal round. HILLSBORO — For the Tigard High School football team, it’s a new challenge.

And, likely, it’s going to be a bigger challenge.

But that doesn’t seem to matter to the Tigers. They plan to keep on playing just as they have been.

That sure would seem to make sense, as they’ve been playing pretty darn good in the playoffs.

Tigard will be aiming at its third straight postseason victory when it faces powerful Central Catholic in a Class 6A state playoff quarterfinal game set to start at 7 p.m. Friday at Hillsboro Stadium.

“We’re going to have to keep preparing like we have been,” Tigard junior running back Manu Rasmussen said following the Tigers’ 42-14 win over Canby in a state playoff second-round game played last Friday at Tigard High School. “This is very fun. Hopefully, we can keep this going for a long time.”

“We’re excited to keep playing,” Tigard senior lineman Ethan Lange said following the win over Canby. “We’re going to practice hard and come out focused like we did tonight.”

So far, the Pacific Conference-champion Tigers, who are 10-1 on the season, have met every playoff roadblock head on. But the Rams do look to present quite a challenge.

Central Catholic, the Mt. Hood Conference champion, has an overall record of 9-2, with the Rams’ losses coming to Lake Oswego and Sheldon, who met in last year’s state championship game and who are both quarterfinalists this year.

“They’re a very good football team,” Tigard coach Craig Ruecker said of the Rams. “They spread things out and they’re very balanced on offense. They’re very aggressive on defense.”

Central Catholic is led on offense by junior quarterback Aidan Wilder (5-foot-10, 170 pounds), who was a first-team All-Mt. Hood Conference selection. For the season, Wilder has completed 104 of 174 pass attempts for 1,753 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions.

Senior receiver Beau Duronslet (6-1, 195), a first-team all-league pick, is among Wilder’s favorite targets with 23 catches for 498 yards and six touchdowns.

Junior Ryan Nall (6-3, 215) leads a balanced Central Catholic rushing attack with 517 yards and four touchdowns on 59 carries.

The Rams also have a pair of first-team all-league offensive linemen in seniors Queintin Fulsher (6-2, 205) and Fergus Frederickson (6-2, 250).

“We need to be able to cover their receivers and pressure their quarterback, and then rally to stop their running game,” Ruecker said. “We’ve got to prevent big plays and make them earn their points.”

On defense, senior defensive back Dailin Leavitt (5-11, 200) leads the Rams. He was selected the Mt. Hood Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

Duronslet, at defensive back, also was a first-team all-league pick.

The Rams have a pair of first-team all-league defensive linemen in junior Connor Humphreys (6-3, 255) and Frederickson.

Central Catholic senior Xavier Griggs (6-2, 225) was a first-team all-league selection at linebacker.

The Rams have another weapon in senior Mitch Seeley (5-11, 180), who was an all-league pick at both kicker and punter. Seeley has booted nine field goals on the season.

“Against them on offense, we’re going to need to put together some good drives,” Ruecker said.

Tigard looks to have the offensive weapons capable of doing just that.

The Tiger rushing attack, which is averaging more than 320 yards a game, is led by senior Zach Floyd.

For the season, Floyd has ran for 1,571 yards on 149 carries (a 10.5 yards-per-carry average). Floyd also has 21 rushing touchdowns, two receiving TDs, two kickoff returns for touchdown, one punt return for a score and one interception return for a TD.

In addition, Floyd also had thrown five touchdown passes out of the wildcat formation.

Tigard junior quarterback Jett Even has completed 63 of 113 pass attempts for 1,204 yards and 16 touchdowns with 16 touchdowns and only three interceptions.

The Tigard offense also includes a powerful offensive line, including Matt Franz, Lange, Cain Adams, Janak Ward and Blake Chamberlain as well as tight ends Conner Olson and Jake Biglow.

Meanwhile, Tigard boasts a swarming defense with a lot of speed all over the field.

Floyd, senior defensive back Anthony Consolo and Biglow at linebacker and Adams and junior A.J. Hotchkins on the defensive line were among the Tigers’ first-team all-league picks on defense.

The winner of Friday’s game at Hillsboro Stadium will meet either Lake Oswego or West Salem in a state playoff semifinal game to be played Dec. 1 at Portland’s JELD-WEN Field.




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