No. 2 Tigard Tigers (13-0)
Saturday 12/6, 1 p.m. at Hillsboro Stadium
Jesuit: Central Catholic won 24-17 on Sept. 5. Tigard won 42-41 (3OT) on Nov. 21.
West Linn: Central Catholic won 42-7 on Nov. 21. Tigard won 45-35 on Oct. 17.
70-49 vs. No. 31 David Douglas
42-20 vs. No. 18 Sunset
42-41 (3OT) vs. No. 7 Jesuit
17-14 vs. No. 11 West Salem
What to Expect:
Tigard comes into the State final on the backs of a couple fourth-quarter comebacks. They were down 21-7 with six minutes remaining against Jesuit in the quarterfinals before coming back to win 42-41 in triple overtime. Last week, Tigard scored a game-winning touchdown with under two minutes remaining to beat the West Salem Titans 17-14. Although their last couple wins have not been as dominant as Central Catholic’s, they are still wins, which is what great teams do.
The Tigers have not faced a team as physical as Central Catholic this season. That doesn’t mean Tigard can’t answer with their own brand of physical football, like they have every game this season. The Tigers have no choice if they want to reverse last year’s 83-49 semifinal defeat to Central Catholic. They need to control the time of possession in order to knock off the favorite Rams. Fortunately for the Tigers, they have the personnel to accomplish that feat.
Tigard averages over 230 rushing yards per game. Senior running back Landon Floyd leads the rushing attack with nearly 1,700 yards and 25 touchdowns this season. Floyd rushed for 167 yards in last week’s win over West Salem. He is joined in the backfield by Sam Inos, who has rushed for over 900 yards and 14 touchdowns, including 110 yards last week. However, Inos suffered a leg injury in the fourth quarter of the semifinal win against the Titans. Inos’ playing status is questionable for Saturday. If he can’t go, Tigard will need someone to step up to spell Floyd.
After dealing with numerous injuries during the season, the Tigard offensive line has really gelled in the playoffs. Led by Three Rivers League offensive lineman of the year, Kevin Henderson, the Tigers offensive line must get a consistent push up front. If not, it could mean a long day for Floyd and quarterback JT Greenough.
Greenough has been great this season, throwing 28 touchdowns and just six interceptions. He saved his best for last when pass protection improved in the comeback win against West Salem. The senior was just 4 for 9 for 35 yards heading into the final drive. On Tigard’s game-winning drive, Greenough went 4 for 5, including an eight-yard touchdown pass to Brady McGetrick.
Defensively, the Tigers must stop the run. Central Catholic will try to impose their will. Tigard must withstand it and halt the trio of Ronnie Rust, Tyson Cooper and JJ Wells. Linebacker Pepe Tanuvasa leads the team in tackles and will need to fly around the field. In the secondary, Tigard has playmakers. Inos is one of the top safeties in the state, so his questionable status could be problematic for the Tigers. His safety-mate, Tysen Prunty, leads the team in interceptions this season, including two last week against West Salem.
Tigard went undefeated in perhaps the toughest league in the state. They have continued their run with blowouts and nail-biting victories in the playoffs. If the Tigers can win the battle of run games, they will notch their 14th victory, but more importantly, they will be State champions.