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Viks lose heartbreaker to Glencoe


Forest Grove falls 19-12 when a last-second pass to the end zone is broken up by Andre Becton

NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Forest Grove senior wideout Ethan Thursam slips between Glencoe defenders Andrew Neuman (75) and Andre Becton (21) during last Friday's Pacific Conference football game.Not often does a high school football game come down to the final play.

In Forest Grove’s thriller against Glencoe on Friday night at Hare Field, that’s exactly what happened, though. In a contest that seemingly swung back and forth more than once, the Crimson Tide had the final answer, breaking up a pass in the end zone as time expired to send the Vikings to an agonizing 19-12 defeat.

Forest Grove dipped to 3-3 overall and 1-3 in the Pacific Conference, good for a three-way tie for sixth. Glencoe upped its record to 4-2 overall and 3-1 in league play.

“It was a really good football game,” Forest Grove coach Dwight Jensen said afterward. “Our execution was better than last week, but again, there were plays that we gotta have. We can’t hurt ourselves. We had a few plays that we should have made that we didn’t that could have changed the complexion of the game, but it was improvement from last week.”

No sequence loomed larger than the last drive, which started when Chad Smith intercepted Glencoe quarterback Avery Elrod’s pass and returned the ball to the Vikings’ 38-yard line with 1:35 to play.

“Chad made a nice play on that,” Jensen said. “He made the pick, gave us one more shot. We took it right down ... and didn’t quite get it in. I thought our kids played their hearts out, but unfortunately, (the) execution’s got to keep improving for us to win these games.”

Taylor Jensen proceeded to steer Forest Grove to the Tide 5-yard line with four completions, including one on fourth down to Ethan Thursam, and the last one being a second-down pass to Zac Collins over the middle.

With the precious few remaining seconds ticking off the clock, the Vikings’ offense managed to get lined up just in time, as Jensen spiked the ball with one second remaining, preserving a chance at one play for the away team to force overtime.

And on that final play, the Vikings got what they wanted: Collins isolated with a defender in the back left corner of the end zone.

The 6-foot-2 wide receiver and Glencoe defensive back Andre Becton both jumped in the air and batted at Jensen’s toss. Collins almost came up with the catch on his second effort, but the ball fell to the turf and the Crimson Tide escaped with a victory.

“We had the height advantage,” said Jensen, who went 21-of-38 for 233 yards and two touchdowns. “Zac, he’ll catch 99 percent of those. That defender made a great play. Best football play of the night right there.”

Earlier on, Glencoe seized the initial momentum with Kainoa Hanchett’s 4-yard rushing touchdown less than three minutes into the game and a 26-yard field goal about four minutes before halftime, also by Hanchett.

But Forest Grove also got its offense on track before the intermission. Starting on their own 20, the Vikings pushed back down the field, with Jensen finding Thursam three times to keep the drive going. The effort was rewarded when Jensen hit Collins — who had six receptions for 77 yards — for a 9-yard scoring strike to the back of the end zone with 1:15 remaining in the half, cutting the deficit to 10-6.

After the break, the Vikings picked up where they had left off. On the opening possession of the third quarter, Jensen capped a 95-yard drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Tony Matiaco that staked Forest Grove to a 12-10 lead less than three minutes into the period.

The advantage was short-lived, however, as Hanchett hit another field goal late in the third quarter and Elrod found Kyle Campbell from 9 yards out two minutes into the fourth to put Glencoe in front 19-12 and usher in a wild final stanza that included a weaving 30-yard touchdown run by the Vikings’ Cody Smith that was negated by a holding penalty, a potential game-cementing touchdown catch that bounced off of Becton’s hands, and that interception by Chad Smith to set up the final, decisive drive.

“This is competition. This is what it’s all about,” Thursam said. “It comes down to the final play — can’t ask for better than that.”

In all, Forest Grove recorded 20 first downs to Glencoe’s 17, while the Tide won the yardage battle 375 to 357. Thursam recorded a team-high seven receptions for 80 yards, and Gio Tayetto added 129 rushing yards on 14 carries for Forest Grove.

The Vikings look to snap their two-game losing streak this Friday, when they travel to Newberg for a 7 p.m. contest.