QB Jett Even has a big night in the 38-7 victory

by: DAN BROOD - NICE CATCH -- Tigard senior receiver Daren Rodrigues pulls in a 38-yard pass from senior quarterback Jett Even in the second quarter of the Tigers' 38-7 victory.TIGARD — Sure, it was the start of a brand new season.

But it must have felt like old times to the Tigard High School football team.

And, for Tigard, that is a good thing.

The Tigers, who scored a pair of wins over Canby in the 2012 season, including a victory in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs, opened their 2013 campaign by running past the Cougars for a 38-7 win in a non-league game played Friday at Tigard High School.

“That was crazy,” Tigard senior receiver Daren Rodrigues said after the victory. “It was so much fun to win our first game like that.”

“That was fun,” Tigard senior linebacker/tight end Jake Biglow said. “We obliterated them. Our motto this year is 'fight,' and we fought all game.”

With the victory, Tigard not only got its season off to a 1-0 start, but it also scored its third lopsided win over the Cougars in less than 12 months.

But, while the Tigers relied many on their running game in last year's victories over Canby, they showed off a balanced offensive attack in Friday's game, including a total of 299 yards coming in the passing game.

“We showed that we can both run and pass,” said Tigard senior quarterback Jett Even, who completed 14 of 20 pass attempts for 281 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. “I was feeling really good out there. I was seeing everything.”

The Tigers wasted little time in taking control in Friday's opener. On their first drive of the game, they moved 94 yards in nine plays. A 2-yard touchdown run by senior Manu Rasmussen capped off the drive and gave Tigard a 7-0 lead with 5 minutes and 16 seconds left in the first quarter.

In Tigard's next offensive possession, a 38-yard pass from Even to Rodrigues helped set up a 10-yard TD toss from Even to Biglow, upping the Tigard lead to 14-0 with 1:18 left in the opening period.

That was fun,” Biglow said with a smile.

Tigard pushed the margin to 21-0 with 8:44 left in the second quarter when Even and Rodrigues teamed up for a 36-yard touchdown on a play-action pass play going over the middle.

“We call that the money route,” Rodrigues said with a smile.

Canby looked to have a prime scoring opportunity late in the first half, as the Cougars moved the ball to the Tigard 5-yard line, where they had a first-and-goal situation. From there, Tigard stuffed two Canby runs. On third and goal from the 2-yard line, Tigard senior lineman Byron Hammick threw Canby running back Dominic Shorter down for a three-yard loss. Rodrigues then broke up a fourth-down pass attempt to the end zone on the final play of the first half.

“That was a great goalline stand,” Tigard coach Craig Ruecker said.

In the second half, Tigard got a 58-yard touchdown pass play from Even to junior Brady McGetrick, a 30-yard field goal by McGetrick and a 7-yard TD pass from junior quarterback J.T. Greenough to junior receiver Kyle Baldes on its way to wrapping up the 38-7 victory.

“We knew we were ready,” Rodrigues said. “We worked our butts off all summer for this.”

Rodrigues and Even looked to be in midseason form in Friday's opener, with Rodrigues pulling in seven seven of Even's passes for 155 yards.

by: DAN BROOD - GOT HIM -- Tigard junior defensive end Marcos Verhelho (33) lets out a yell after sacking Canby quarterback Austin Taylor.“It's been like that for awhile,” Rodrigues said of his connection with Even. “It's all thanks to Jett and the line.”

“Daren and I are best friends,” Even said. “I've been throwing passes to him since freshman year.

In addition to passing for 299 yards, Tigard also rushed for 227 yards on 34 carries as a team in the victory.

The Tigers' revamped offensive line looked to play a big part in the offensive outburst.

“I think we did pretty good,” said Hammick, who is one of four new starters in Tigard's offensive line. “For our first game together, we held together pretty well. We're like a family on the line.”

Senior Nathan Wick,, sophomore Conner Crist and senior Alex Anokhin are the other new starters on Tigard line, joining senior returning starter Janak Ward.

“Our offensive line had a great night,” Ruecker said. “We ran the ball effectively and we protected the quarterback. And our defense tonight was outstanding. We were extremely tough on defense.”

The Tigard defense, with Biglow and fellow senior linebacker A.J. Hotchkins helping lead the way, held Canby to just 218 yards on total offense.

For Tigard, Rasmussen led the rushing attack with 77 yards on 14 carries. Hotchkins added 63 yards on eight carries and junior Tyler Walker added 54 yards on three carries.

McGetrick had three catches for 80 yards to go with his field goal and five extra-point kicks.

For the Tigers defense, junior Marcos Vermelho had a quarterback sack and senior Joe Lobbato recovered a Canby fumble.

Senior Noah Kyllo led the Cougars with 64 rushing yards on six carries.

Tigard will be back in action next Friday when it travels to Aloha for a non-league game starting at 7 p.m.

For a complete game story, with more photos, see the Sept. 5 issue of the Tigard Times.

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