First place in league is at stake when the rivals clash on Friday

by: DAN BROOD - SHIFTING GEARS -- Zach Floyd has had a big senior season running the ball for Tigard.TIGARD — Tigard.


When the rival high schools meet on the football field, it’s always big — really big.

But, this year, it’s downright huge.

Sole possession of first place in the Pacific Conference standings will be on the line when the rival Tigers and Timberwolves clash in a league showdown set to start at 7 p.m. Friday at Tigard High School.

“It’s a big deal,” Tualatin senior running back/defensive back Andrew Schlottmann said of the upcoming game at Tigard. “We’re definitely looking forward to it. Since my freshman year, I’ve been looking forward to playing Tigard as a senior.”

Tualatin brings a perfect record into Friday’s showdown. The Timberwolves are 5-0 on the season and they are 3-0 in Pacific Conference play, putting them in a tie with Tigard for first place in the league DAN BROOD - DEEP THREAT -- Nick Hines has been a big-play receiver for the Timberwolves.

“Tualatin looks very, very good, and their record shows that,” Tigard coach Craig Ruecker said. “They are, overall, just a very good football team. Their defense has been outstanding all five games. Their offense got off to a slow start, but they’ve really been coming on.”

Tualatin’s swarming defense has been giving up just an average of 7.4 points a contest. Meanwhile, the Timberwolves are scoring at an average of 35.2 points a game.

Tualatin scored just a total of 25 points in its first two games, but picked things up in a big way in its past three contests, scoring a total of 151 points.

Junior Brandon Shroyer, in his first year starting at quarterback for the Wolves, has completed 49 of 79 pass attempts for 682 yards and six touchdowns. Senior receiver Brennan Symes has 17 receptions for 179 yards and junior receiver Nick Hines has 13 catches for 301 yards and three touchdowns.

Schlottmann is Tualatin’s leading rusher on the season with 310 yards and five touchdowns on 39 carries. He also has a receiving touchdown.

Scoring hasn’t been a problem for Tigard all season, as the Tigers are scoring at an average of 36.8 points a contest.

“Tigard’s a very good team with very good players,” Tualatin senior cornerback Randall Tainer said. “It’s going to be a big challenge for us, but we’re really looking forward to it.”

The Tigard offense features many big-time weapons, including a standout trio of running backs in seniors Zach Floyd, Benny Wick and Kaz Greene.

For the season, Floyd has rushed for 724 yards on 87 carries with nine rushing touchdowns.

He’s also thrown three touchdown passes while operating at quarterback in Tigard’s wildcat formation.

Greene has rushed for 338 yards and five touchdowns on 42 carries and Wick has added 267 rushing yards and a pair of TDs on 49 carries.

The Tigers, like Tualatin, have a first-year starter at quarterback in junior Jett Even.

For the season, Even has completed 31 of 63 pass attempts for 530 yards and five TDs.

Tigard has gotten strong play from its offensive line all season long. Tualatin’s offensive line seems to be getting better every contest.

“We’re going to need to continue to improve on offense and defense,” Tainer said. “We’re going to have to perfect a game plan and try to slow them down.”

According to Ruecker, the team that makes the fewer mistakes will likely have an advantage.

“Often times, the team that makes more miscues, turnovers and penalties at the wrong time, puts themselves in jeopardy,” he said. “I think both teams will go in with the idea of playing as error-free as possible. It ought to be a very good game.”

Tigard scored a 35-7 home win over the Timberwolves in last year’s game.

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