Tigard moves to the quarterfinals with its 42-14 victory

by: DAN BROOD - ROOM TO RUN -- Tigard senior running back Zack Floyd looks to head up field behind the block of senior lineman Ethan Lange (52) during Friday's playoff victory over Canby. Floyd rushed for 320 yards and three touchdowns in the Tigers' 42-14 win. TIGARD — It’s no secret that the Tigers have a lot of speed.

But, guess what? They’re also pretty darn powerful.

And that speed and power combination is hard to overcome — just ask Canby.

The Tigard High School football team, with its power blocking, power running and power defense (in addition to its focus, determination and teamwork), powered its way to a 42-14 win over the Cougars in a Class 6A state playoff second-round game played Friday at Tigard High School.

“That was just awesome,” Tigard senior center/linebacker Matt Franz said after the win. “We were focused all week and came out played hard.”

“Our offensive line dominated the line of scrimmage,” Tigard coach Craig Ruecker said. “And our defense was magnificent.”

“Our offensive line played with a lot of power,” said Tigard senior running back Zach Floyd, who rushed for 320 yards and three touchdowns on 31 carries, despite feeling, in his own words, under the weather. “And we have a lot of speed. It’s hard for other teams to match our speed.”

The Cougars sure couldn’t.

Canby, the No. 2 team out of the Three Rivers League, finished its season with a final overall record of 6-5. Tigard, the Pacific Conference champion, improved to 10-1 on the season. The Tigers also advance to play in the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs. They’ll meet Central Catholic Friday in a state playoff quarterfinal game starting at 7 p.m. at Hillsboro DAN BROOD - SMACK -- Tigard senior defensive back Anthony Consolo (right) drills Canby senior receiver Konnen Bell for a 3-yard loss during the Tigers' 42-14 win over the Cougars in Friday's state playoff game.

“We’re excited to get to play another game and we’re excited that we get to practice on Thanksgiving,” Ruecker said.

And it was a dominating running attack that helped lead the Tigers to that quarterfinal berth.

“Last time we played them (a 40-13 season-opening win at Canby in a game played Aug. 31 at Canby), we had to pass more because we couldn’t open holes,” Tigard senior lineman Ethan Lange said. “We wanted to prove we could run against a team that packed the box against us.”

Mission accomplished.

Tigard, behind the offensive line of Franz, Lange, Cain Adams, Blake Chamberlain, Janak Ward and tight ends Conner Olson and Jake Biglow, as well as fullbacks A.J. Hotchkins and Joe Lobbato, rushed for 483 yards on 50 carries in the victory.

“The line opened up holes all night,” said Tigard junior running back Manu Rasmussen, who ran for 141 yards on 14 carries. “I just followed them. It was a lot of fun.”

“We had a lot of other plays ready to go out of our base offense,” Ruecker said. “But we were just running the ball so well.”

Tigard, which threw just three passes all game, turned to its running attack to take the early lead. Floyd had a 55-yard run to help set up his own 1-yard touchdown blast to give Tigard a 7-0 advantage with 3 minutes and 48 seconds left to play in the first quarter.

Rasmussen capped off the next Tigard scoring drive, which covered 73 yards in seven plays, all runs, with a 26-yard scoring scamper.

Sophomore Brady McGetrick added the second of his six extra-point kicks on the night to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead with 10:56 left in the second quarter.

Floyd then capped off an 82-yard drive with a 6-yard TD run that made the score 21-0 with 5:40 remaining before halftime.

Canby, after recovering a Tigard fumble at the Tiger 24-yard line, got a 6-yard touchdown pass from junior Timmy Johnson to junior Dominic Shorter with 3.4 seconds left in the second quarter to trim the Tigard lead to 21-7 at halftime.

But Tigard continued with its potent power attack to start the second half. The Tigers opened the third quarter with a 12-play, 65-yard drive that concluded with a 2-yard touchdown run by Floyd, which made the score 28-7 with 6:34 left in the period.

That drive did include a 15-yard pass from junior quarterback Jett Even to junior receiver Darren Rodrigues. That was the Tigers’ first pass attempt of the game.

Rasmussen added a 43-yard touchdown run to push the margin to 35-7 with 2:12 left in the game.

With 3:23 left to play in the contest, the Tigard defense got into the scoring act. Tigard senior Robby Chabreck forced a Canby fumble, and Rasmussen scooped up the loose ball and sprinted 57 yards for a touchdown that made the score 42-7 with 3:23 left in the game.

“Rob made that happen,” Rasmussen said. “It was all Rob. I had the easy part.”

Canby got a touchdown run by sophomore Devon Fortier with 10.8 seconds left in the game to make the final score 42-14.

“This was a big win for us,” Floyd said. “This class, the class of 2013, always has been determined to be the best we can be. We’re no joke. We can play with anyone.”

“This was real fun tonight,” Rasmussen said. “It was fun for everyone.”

The Tigard linemen certainly seemed to have fun.

“We all stepped up and played big,” Franz said. “We always want to run the ball. Our backs are outstanding, especially with the way they responded to the circumstances. They all stepped up.”

The Tigard backfield corps was missing two of its main contributors in seniors Benny Wick and Kaz Greene, who are out of action due to injury. But the Tiger running attack didn’t seem to miss a beat.

“Manu really picked it up,” Floyd said.

The Tigard defense also seemed to be hitting on all cylinders in Friday’s game, as the Tigers limited Canby to 231 yards of total offense.

“We played huge on defense,” Lange said. “We played hard and stayed focused.”

“We played with great discipline and speed on defense,” Ruecker said.

“Everyone just swarmed to the ball,” Franz said.

Hotchkins had a pair of tackles for losses before he had to leave the game due to injury. Ward and senior Anthony Consolo each added a tackle for a loss. Consolo’s tackle for a loss came on a thunderous hit on Canby senior Konnen Bell after he caught a screen pass.

Johnson led the Cougars in rushing with 47 yards on seven carries.

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