Tualatin plays strong on defense, but falls in the playoff tilt

by: JAIME VALDEZ - TUALATIN TACKLE -- Tualatin  defenders Derek Senger (6) and Andrew Schlottmann (3) tackle wide receiver Tatlor Brotton in the 6A quarterfinal playoff game at Tualatn High School. The Olympians scored a 10-0 win in the second-round postseason contest.TUALATIN — Anyone can have an off night.

The Tualatin High School football team certainly went through one of those off nights on offense.

Unfortunately for the Timberwolves, their off night happened at a bad time.

Tualatin, unable to get its offensive attack on track, fell 10-0 to Sprague in a Class 6A state playoff second-round game played Friday at Tualatin High School.

“It was a defensive battle,” Tualatin coach Rob Hastin said. “Sprague did a real good job and we played good defense all night. But we just couldn’t get into our rhythm on offense. We weren’t in sync.

Sprague, the No. 2 team out of the Central Valley Conference, improved to 10-1 on the season with the victory. The Olympians also advance to the quarterfinal round of the state playoffs. They’ll host Jesuit Friday at 7 p.m. in a quarterfinal match-up.

Tualatin, the No. 2 team out of the Pacific Conference, finished its season with a final overall record of 9-2.

“We had a great season,” Hastin said. “This was a great group of guys. They play in a lot of effort and they bonded well. We have a lot of good memories.”

The Wolves entered Friday’s game a little shorthanded, as they had to play without star senior lineman Dane Simonsen, the Pacific Conference Defensive Player of the Year, who was hurt the week before in a playoff win over Clackamas.

Tualatin then found itself hindered some more during Friday’s contest, as senior Will Chapman, a key player at center and linebacker, went down with an injury.

But that didn’t seen to dissuade the Timberwolf defense, which held Sprague scoreless throughout the first half of play.

In fact, the teams remained tied in a 0-0 deadlock until Sprague got a 21-yard field goal by senior Cale Powers coming with 1 minute and 4 seconds left to play in the third quarter.

Tualatin kept trying to battle back, and was attempting to put an offensive drive together during the fourth quarter, but the Olympians came up with a turnover with 5:29 left to play.

Sprague capitalized on the turnover, getting a 22-yard touchdown pass from senior Jon Schaub to senior Zach Sweet with 2:11 left in the contest, pushing the visitors’ lead to 10-0.

Tualatin kept battling after that, but the Wolves couldn’t cut into the Sprague lead.

“We had opportunities and kept playing hard to the end,” Hastin said.

Tualatin cornerback Randall Tainer had an interception in the contest to cap off his strong senior year. Senior Andrew Schlottmann was the Wolves’ leading rusher in the contest.

The loss marked the final high school game for Tualatin’s strong group of seniors. But the Wolves should have a strong core of players back next year, including starting quarterback Brandon Shroyer.

“We’re going to miss our group of seniors,” Hastin said. “They gave a lot to the program. And we’re looking forward to next year. We picked up good experience this year.”

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