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Tigard shows off its strength at the 2015 lineman challenge



DAN BROOD - Tigard High School, with two teams competing, made a lot of noise at the 2015 Metro Area Lineman
Challenge. The Tigers powered their way to victory in the tug of war event.TUALATIN — It’s about power.

And the linemen for the Tigard High School football team certainly demonstrated that they possess plenty of it.

But it’s also about leadership. It’s about pride. It’s about unity and, well, it’s about winning.

The Tigers seemed to put all of that on display at the Metro Area Lineman Challenge, held July 18 at Tualatin High School.

“This is cool,” Tigard senior-to-be Zack Jacobs said about the event. “We have a chance to show what we’ve got. We don’t really get much recognition.”

“It’s going pretty good,” Tigard senior-to-be Conner Crist said. “As a team, this has really brought us together.”

DAN BROOD - Tigard High School senior-to-be Derek McMurray, shown here in the 40-yard dash, was the individual
champion in the heavyweight division at the Metro Area Lineman Challenge.“It’s a lot of fun,” Tigard senior-to-be Derek McMurray said.

“We all cheer for each other,” Jacobs said. “It’s a good bonding experience.”

Tigard finished in sixth place in the final standings at the 27-team event with a score of 35 points. But the Tigers were at their best in the power events.

That was most evident in the tug-of-war event.

“I want a shot at Central Catholic in the tug-of-war,” Crist said prior to the event.

“I want a shot at everyone,” Jacobs added.

The Tigers, with Crist up in front and with McMurray anchoring the rope in back, easily powered their way to victory in the bracket-style competition.

They easily defeated Jesuit in the semifinals and then made quick work of Sprague in the championship bout.

“It’s all about pride,” McMurray said. “Especially in the tug-of-war.”

DAN BROOD - Zack Jacobs, a Tigard High School senior-to-be, helps the Tigers get a victory in the tug-of-war event at the Metro Area Lineman Challenge.Crist, who earned first-team All Three Rivers League accolades last year as an offensive tackle, and McMurray, who was an honorable mention all-league pick despite missing a good part of the season due to a concussion, also put on a power display in the bench press.

Crist finished first among all competitors, lifting 185 pounds 26 times. McMurray was right behind him in second place, with 25 lifts.

The 6-foot-7, 340-pound McMurray emerged as the individual champion in the heavyweight division at the lineman challenge.

In addition to his impressive performance in the bench press, McMurray also had a 40-yard dash time of 5.63 seconds, a shuttle-run mark of 5.08, a vertical jump of 26 inches, a standing broad jump distance of 100 inches, a time of 33.02 in the obstacle course, a mark of 72 yards in the farmer’s carry and a total of 13 flips in the tire-flip event.

The Tigers had other strong performances during the challenge, too.

Tyler Mack, a junior-to-be, had the fastest time on the team in the 40-yard dash with a mark of 5.39.

He also was the fastest Tiger in the shuttle run with a time of 4.72. Jossa Manners, a Tigard senior-to-be, was right behind him in that event with a time of 4.83.

DAN BROOD - Tigard High School senior-to-be Conner Crist celebrates following a Tiger victory in the tug-of-war event at the Metro Area Lineman Challenge.Mack had the top time in the obstacle course at 31.16. Manners was right behind him at 31.20. Crist had a time of 31.49 and Jacobs clocked in at 31.52.

McMurray had the top vertical jump and broad jump marks for the squad. Manners was second in the broad jump with a distance of 93 inches.

Jacobs topped all Tigers in the farmer’s carry with a distance of 93 yards. Mack was second on the team in that event with 83. Crist and McMurray tied for the top spot on the team in the tire flip, with 13 flips apiece. Manners, Chris Choffat and Jacobs each had 11 flips.

In the bench press, Jacobs and Matt Pulapuna each had 12 lifts.

While faring well in the lineman challenge certainly is nice for the Tigers, the team’s focus also is on the big picture, as in building upon last year’s season that saw Tigard win the Three Rivers League championship and reach the Class 6A state championship game. And, the linemen know, they will play a big part in any continued success.

“We want to be as perfect as we can be,” Jacobs said.

“We’re going to take it one week at a time,” McMurray said. “Because we know we’re in the best league in the state.”

DAN BROOD - Tigard's Chris Choffat competes in the 40-yard dash at the Metro Area Lineman Challenge.And the linemen most certainly will have to take on a leadership role. That could especially be true for Crist, Jacobs and McMurray, who have the most experience in the trenches.

“With coach (Craig) Ruecker, seniors always play a big part,” Crist said. “For myself, I’d say the three of us will be leaders. And we want to capitalize on that.”

“Coach wants us to help out,” Jacobs said. “We’ll be ready.”

Jay Mendoza also competed for the Tigard squad at the lineman challenge. The Tigard 2 team, which finished in a tie for 15th place with eight points, included Jordan Fullerton, Alex Kraft, Tai Tanuvasa, Alex Stalen, Gabe Schultz, Luke Benedict, Burke Albaugh and Justin Grant.

Tigard will open its season schedule Sept. 4 when it hosts Sheldon in a non-league game set to start at 7 p.m.

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