by: DAN BROOD - CHAMPIONSHIP CELEBRATION -- Players on the Sherwood football team start to celebrate near the end of the state championship game. For me, it all started back on Aug. 31, wearing a T-shirt and shorts as I watched the Tualatin High School football team score a season-opening 12-8 win over Crater.

It ended on Dec. 1, as I was in full rain gear, shivering underneath an umbrella as I watched the Sherwood High School football team post a 46-20 win over Marist in the Class 5A state championship.

In between and including those events, I saw a whole bunch of success, achievements, amazing efforts and a lot of pride.

Yeah, it’s been a heck of a fall season on the local sports scene.

So, before totally putting away the rain gear, and getting ready for the warm and dry winter season, here’s a look back at the 2012 fall sports season.

Football Frenzy

When it comes to covering high school football, I have to admit, I’ve been a little spoiled.

That’s because the four teams in the local area — Tigard, Tualatin, Sherwood and Horizon Christian — enjoyed a whole lot of success in the 2012 season.

In fact, those four teams combined to go 40-7 on the season, with Sherwood winning the Class 5A state championship and Tigard reaching the semifinal round of the Class 6A state playoffs.

And, maybe the best thing about these four programs are their classy head coaches — Craig Ruecker at Tigard, Rob Hastin at Tualatin, Greg Lawrence at Sherwood and George Crace at Horizon Christian.

Team of the Fall

Well, that would have to be the Sherwood football team, which claimed its second state title in the past three years with its championship-game victory over Marist.

The best thing I can say about the Bowmen is that they work hard. That goes from the coaching staff, to the players all the way down to the ball boys. Sherwood may not always have the most talent (except for Cristian Morris, who is about as talented as they come), but no one outworks the Bowmen.

And, wow, there’s a whole bunch of players on the Sherwood sideline. I’m guessing most every boy in that town can’t wait to play Sherwood High School football.

There are other area teams that also had great fall seasons. I’m talking about the Tualatin girls water polo team and the Sherwood girls soccer team, who each reached their respective state championship contests.

Both of those teams won state titles in 2011, and to get back to the championship games a year later is a heck of an achievement. And both of those squads definitely battled hard to the end.

Best Celebration

That would have to go to the Tigard High School volleyball team.

And the Tigers’ celebration was a long time in the making.

The Tigers got their first state playoff victory since 1992 when they scored a 25-12, 25-11, 25-4 victory over Grant in a Class 6A state playoff first-round match played at Tigard High DAN BROOD - BIG, BIG WIN -- Tigard's Cassidy Freeman (left) and Meeka Mayhew celebrate following the Tigers' state playoff volleyball victory over Grant. It was the Tigers' first state playoff victory since 1992.

After the long-awaited state playoff win, the Tigers had quite the celebration. There were hugs, smiles, plenty of photo opportunities and more hugs.

It was a fun night.

Performance of the Fall

That would have to go to Tigard senior Zach Floyd for the amazing night he had for the Tiger football team in its 43-37 win over Central Catholic in a Class 6A state playoff quarterfinal game.

For the contest, Floyd rushed for 341 yards and three touchdowns on 47 carries. It was a performance that seemed to leave Floyd physically, mentally and emotionally drained after the game.

Floyd had an astounding season for the Tigers, rushing for more than 2,000 yards and 27 TDs on the year. He also had two receiving touchdowns, two kickoff returns for touchdowns, an interception return for a touchdown and a punt return for a score and he threw five TD passes out of the wildcat formation.

And, the best thing I can say about Zach Floyd is that he just might be the nicest kid you’ll ever talk to.

Gutsy Efforts

I’m always extremely impressed and amazed by the dedication, determination and devotion shown by the area high school athletes.

I saw two prime example of this during the fall season.

The first happened in the Sherwood girls soccer team’s state playoff semifinal match at Willamette. In the first half of the game, Sherwood senior Jessica Imbrie went down with an ankle injury after a violent collision with the Willamette goalie. As she was on the turf in tears, I thought her season was over.

She got her ankle taped up and came back to score two second-half goals in the Lady Bowmen’s 2-1 victory.

The second happened in the Tigard-Central Catholic football playoff game. Tigard junior linebacker Jake Biglow had to be helped off the field after suffering a first-half ankle injury. He got his ankle taped, went back in, came out again, got it taped again, and went back in again to help preserve the Tiger victory.

Special Mention

Being a former punter myself, I wanted to give acknowledgement to the best punt I’ve ever seen in a high school game.

It happened when Tualatin faced Century in a Pacific Conference football game played Oct. 19 at Hillsboro Stadium. Timberwolf senior Austin Green hit a long, high kick over the Century returner’s head, resulting in a 73-yard punt that bounded out of bounds at the 3-yard line. Well done.

Dan Brood, who hopes he doesn’t need the rain gear again until the first track meet of the spring season, is the sports editor at The Times.

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