West Linn football gets a second shot at Tigard on Friday
The last time the West Linn and Tigard football teams met, it was — for the Lions — a disaster.
Tigard used its ground-pounding offensive attack, clock control and physical defense to beat the Lions 9-0 at West Linn High School back on back on Oct. 6. In the process, the Tigers snapped West Linn's 19-game winning streak, clipped the Lions' 13-game Three Rivers League winning streak and marked West Linn's first shutout since 2012.
Now, however, the Lions get something that's a rarity in life — a second chance.
And this time — in the win or go-home playoffs — the stakes are even higher.
"In life, you don't get a lot of second chances, so being able to get a second chance against (Tigard) is huge, especially because they are a team that shut us out," said West Linn junior quarterback Ethan Long.
"We want that revenge," added senior defensive end Justin Babcock.
For their part, the Tigers understand what's on the line, too.
"I'm looking forward to it," said Tigard sophomore receiver Max Lenzy. "We beat them 9-0 the first time, and we're looking for another good game against a Three Rivers League rival. We need to stick with what we did the last time we played them. We want another shutout."
One wildcard coming into Friday's game is the status of Tigard senior running back/defensive back Braden Lenzy. Lenzy, a University of Oregon commit who shared TRL Player of the Year honors on both offense and defense, went down with a right knee injury — later diagnosed as a partially torn MCL — in his team's Week Seven loss to Sherwood and Tigard has not made it clear if he will play on Friday.
Braden Lenzy, who had racked up almost 800 yards in total offense before his injury, was instrumental in his team's win over the Lions, picking up 119 yards in total offense and intercepting a West Linn pass.
On offense, the Lions are led by Long (6-foot-3, 212 pounds), a first-team all-TRL pick who has thrown for 2,824 yards and 31 touchdowns with seven interceptions while completing 69 percent of his passes.
On the ground, West Linn uses first-team all-leaguer Dawson Jolley (a 5-10, 166 junior who's rushed for 697 yards and six TDs on 60 carries) and honorable mention pick Ahmir McGee (a 5-11, 185 senior who's rushed for 336 yards and five scores on 63 carries).
At receiver, the Lions look to first-teamer Qawi Ntsasa (a 5-10, 175 senior who's made 79 catches for 1,333 yards and 19 touchdowns), Casey Tawa (a 5-11, 168 sophomore who's made 32 catches for 484 yards and three scores) and first-team tight end Keishon Dawkins (a 6-6, 245 senior who's made 16 catches for 262 yards and three TDs).
Up front, West Linn is led by second-team center Kellen Olsen (a 6-3, 235 senior), second-team guard Ryan Seth (a 5-11, 267 sophomore), and honorable mention picks Chris Comings (a 6-2, 232 senior tackle) and Seth Bagley (a 6-3, 237 senior guard).
"We're super excited for that game," said Tigard senior linebacker Jacob Beck. "We're going to prepare all week, and do what we need to do. It's going to be a big game."
For Tigard, freshman quarterback Drew Carter (6-2, 175) took over as the Tigers' signal caller after an injury to Michael Quintana earlier in the season. Since moving into the starting lineup, Carter has thrown for 785 yards and seven touchdowns with two interceptions while completing 49 percent of his passes.
At running back, Tigard is led by second-team all-TRL picks Spencer Smith (a 5-10, 175 senior who's rushed for 822 yards and 11 TDs on 148 carries) and Malcolm Stockdale (a 5-8, 165 junior who's rushed for 689 yards and 11 TDs on 120 carries), and honorable mention pick Jake Leavitt (a 6-0, 200 senior who's rushed for 299 yards and five TDs on 64 carries).
At receiver, after Braden Lenzy's 377 yards and three TDs, the Tigers look to Jakob Harrold (eight catches for 172 yards and one touchdown) along with honorable mention selection Max Lenzy (5-9, 162 with five catches for 48 yards).
Up front, Tigard is led by first-team tackle Isaia Porter (a 6-0, 240 junior), first-team guards Laytan Tanuvasa (a 6-2, 270 senior) and Burke Albaugh (a 6-4, 310 senior) and first-team center Sean Ryan (a 6-0, 282 senior), and second-team tackle Jaran White (a 6-1, 225 senior).
"We need to start out fast and show (Tigard) that we are here to fight," Babcock said. "It's really important for us to stop the run."
On defense, the Lions are the state's best unit, allowing the fewest total points among all Class 6A teams (107) and holding their opponents to fewer than 10 points a game. They've also picked off eight passes (four by senior Cody Fretwell) and recovered six opposition fumbles.
On defense, West Linn first-teamers include Babcock (6-2, 232 and the team's sack leader), Vince Seth (a 5-11, 264 senior tackle), senior linebackers Taran Floyd (a 5-11, 183 senior who leads his team in tackles) and Luke Hamper (a 6-3, 217 senior who's second in tackles and may return from injury for Friday), Ntsasa at cornerback and Zack Huffstutter (a 6-0, 194 senior) at safety.
Honored on the all-TRL second team this year was Fretwell (a 6-1, 177 cornerback), while honorable mention picks on defense included Seth Bagley and Comings on the line, and Tyler Good (a 5-11, 191 senior) and Elijah Ntsasa (a 6-0, 192 junior) at linebacker.
"It should be a great game," Smith said. "We need to play like we did the last time against them. We just need to play our game."
Tigard, meanwhile, allows just more than 17 points a game, limits its foes to 243 total yards per game and picked off 16 passes (five by Max Lenzy and another four by Braden Lenzy).
Like West Linn, the Tigers' roster is littered with all-TRL picks, led by Player of the Year Braden Lenzy, fellow first-team selection Tanuvasa on the line, and Kyle Bay (a 6-3, 212 senior) and Mitchell Cross (a 6-0, 188 junior) at linebacker.
Honored on the all-TRL second team this year were Porter and Noah Jackman (a 6-2, 219 junior) on the line, and Max Lenzy at cornerback. Tigard's honorable mention picks included Carter Dennis (a 5-10, 202 junior) and Beck at linebacker, Micah O'Donnell (a 5-7, 161 senior) at cornerback and Nick Heinke (a 6-3, 188 senior) at safety.
"(Tigard) had a really good scheme for us last time that we played them," said West Linn coach Chris Miller. "We made a lot of mistakes in that game, but we have looked at the film a lot and we feel that we have made corrections, as well as gotten healthy. It's going to be a good, competitive football game."
— Dan Brood and Matt Rawlings contributed to this story.