In a pivotal Three Rivers League showdown, Tualatin senior quarterback Jack Wagner helped push the Timberwolves to a decisive 31-21 victory over archrival Tigard. Wagner had two passing touchdowns to send the Tigers on a three-game losing streak to finish their season.
Wagner, a senior Washington State commit, hopes to ride this momentum into the playoffs as the Timberwolves take the No. 3 seed in the 2022 state tournament. Last season, Tualatin made it all the way to the title game and lost to Central Catholic 44-14.
“To go all the way, it would be a dream come true,” said Wagner. “We lost there last year so hopefully we can get it this year.”
The Timberwolves tied Lake Oswego for the second spot in the Three Rivers League and are behind West Linn, who clinched the title of what is often the most competitive league in Class 6A.
Tualatin senior running back Luke Ash also helped the Timberwolves secure the spot in the championship bracket. Ash had two running touchdowns to help balance Wagner’s two passing touchdowns.
On the opening drive, Ash found his way into the end zone on a two-yard run to put his team up 7-0. Later in the third, on fourth and inches, Ash scrambled himself through the teeth of the Tigers defense to score a 51-yard running touchdown.
“I gotta get to the end zone and I’ll do whatever I can do to get into the end zone,” said Ash about both of his rushing touchdowns.
With Tualatin shaking off back-to-back losses to Lake Oswego and West Linn, Ash has the confidence that this team can bring home the title.
“We’re gonna get it done,” he said. “Got to worry about the first one but I think we have a real shot and I’m really excited about what we could do with this team.”
With Wagner and Ash leading the way on offense, the Timberwolves defense had Tigard’s senior quarterback Brady Jordan rattled all night.
Tualatin managed to sack Jordan five times and forced an interception at the end of the fourth to secure the win.
Dominic Ferraro, who just completed his first regular season as the Timberwolves’ coach, was impressed by his team’s activity on the defensive end.
“They played with a lot of energy and passion today,” said Ferraro. “I’m really, really proud of the way they flew around and played tonight.”
Ferraro made a point after the game to point out senior defensive back Richie Anderson as a driving force in his team’s stout defense.
“Richie Anderson was that dude, tonight,” said Ferraro about Anderson’s presence and his three sacks.
With his team’s offense and defense looking revved up for the playoffs, Ferraro has been proud to see his team compete after losing 14 all-league players from last year.
Tualatin secured the third seed and will host No. 14 Grants Pass in the first round of the Class 6A football state tournament next week.
With the Timberwolves rolling, the Tigers looked disjointed on both sides of the ball. Tigard scored its first touchdown as senior wide receiver Nate Duenas made a 52-yard return to knot it up at 7-7 in the first quarter.
However, the Tigers’ couldn’t keep up as they allowed the Timberwolves to score 21 unanswered points, including a 99-yard receiving touchdown from junior wide receiver AJ Noland.
In a 28-7 hole at the end of the third, Jordan found senior wide receiver Ethan Cate for another Tigard touchdown.
After Tualatin scored a 35-yard field goal to further its lead to 31-14 late in the game, Jordan found Duenas for a 46-yard receiving touchdown to make the final score 31-21.
With its regular season ending on a three-game skid, Tigard has qualified for the 6A Football State Playoffs as the 14th seed and will visit the fourth-seeded Jesuit Crusaders next Friday.
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