Tualatin starts the season with 35-32 win at Crater

First, the Timberwolves had to try and rally from behind.

Then, they had attempt to fight off a Crater rally.

But, in both instances, they got the job done. And they got an exciting victory to show for it.

The Tualatin High School football team opened its season by scoring a back-and-forth 35-32 win over Crater in a non-league game played Friday at Crater High School in Central Point.

“It was quite a game,” Tualatin coach Rob Hastin said. “For a first game, we got to see a lot and we learned a lot.”

Friday’s contest marked the second straight year that the Wolves opened their season by beating the Comets.

And, for the second straight year, Tualatin had to come from behind to get that season-opening victory.

In Friday’s game, Crater jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead behind a pair of touchdown passes from senior quarterback Ty Fox to receiver Kory Bennett.

But the Wolves came storming back in the second quarter.

“We had a couple of plays that really ignited the team,” Hastin said. “It was a credit to them.”

Senior quarterback Brandon Shroyer scored Tualatin’s first touchdown of the season, coming on a 1-yard run.

The Wolves then cut then tied the game at 14-14 when senior Nick Hines had a 76-yard punt return for a touchdown, followed by a two-point conversion run by junior Eli Robinson.

Tualatin then claimed a 21-14 lead when Shroyer connected with senior receiver Nique Reid on a 13-yard touchdown pass play.

Crater came back to trim the margin to 21-20 on a 49-yard touchdown pass from Fox to junior receiver Dylan Morgan later in the second quarter.

Another 1-yard TD burst by Shroyer was the only score of the third quarter, and it gave the Wolves a 28-20 lead going into the final stanza.

The Tualatin defense then stepped up, as junior lineman Garrison Saina intercepted a Fox pass and returned the ball 30 yards for a touchdown, giving the Wolves a 35-20 advantage.

“Garrison made a great play,” Hastin said.

But, now it was Crater’s turn to come battling back.

The Comets got an 8-yard touchdown run by sophomore Cavin Gillespie, but the two-point conversion pass attempt failed, leaving Tualatin with a 35-26 lead.

Crater struck again, getting a 12-yard TD pass from Fox to Bennett. The extra-point kick attempt failed, keeping the Wolves in front 35-32.

Tualatin maintained that margin to wrap up its first win of the season.

“I think the guys showed a great deal of character,” Hastin said of the come-from-behind win. “That helps define who we are.”

Tualatin, as a team, rushed for 232 yards on 66 carries in the contest.

Robinson led the rushing attack, going for 154 yards on 34 carries. Shroyer ran for 60 yards on 17 carries and senior Chandler Schoonmaker added 34 yards on seven carries.

“We established our running game and played physical,” Hastin said. “Eli ran the ball really well, and he seemed to get better as the game went on.”

Shroyer completed eight of 16 pass attempts for 54 yards. Hines had five catches for 24 yards and Reid had two grabs for 16 yards.

For the Tualatin defense, Saina, junior Steven Shockloss and junior Daeton Harris each had an interception.

For Crater, Fox completed 24 of 42 passes for 362 yards with four touchdowns and four interceptions. Bennett had 10 catches for 185 yards.

The Wolves will be back in action Friday when they host Southridge in a non-league game starting at 7 p.m. at Tualatin High School.

The Skyhawks fell to defending Class 6A state champion Sheldon in their season-opener.

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