A Season Cut Short

In a conglomerate of athletes, Tigard and Mountain both struggle in moving the ball. Photo: Henry Kaus.

Let me set the scene.

It’s the second playoff match of the season on a chilly Friday night. Seed 1 Tigard was butted up against seed 16 Mountainside. The 4th quarter had just ended with scores of 28 – 28; it was all tied up.

Anticipation, jitters and above all else, stress, filled the stadiums and the stands. Silence fluttered through the crowd. You could hear the breeze during the break between the end of the regular game and overtime. Everyone’s thoughts were on who would win, Tigard or Mountainside?

Josh Burns (#8). Photo: Henry Kaus.

Tigard received the ball first on the 25-yard line. Whoever scored the most on their possession would take the game. No eye strayed from the 22 players on the field.

Tigard’s first three plays landed them further back onto the 33-yard line. A touchdown seemed out of range and with a 43-yard kick from Tigard’s kicker Jackson Cleaver (#44) for three points, Tigard and their fans could only hope Mountainside couldn’t do better than a kick.

On Mountainside’s first play, they couldn’t break the Tigard defense. Cheers were roaring from the mountainous Tigard stands. The next few plays would make or break the team.

Mountainside set up their next formation. With their quarterback, Brian Mannion (#14), launching a dead accurate 25-yard throw through the clutches of Tigard’s defense, to their wide-open receiver Carlos Montero (#7) standing in the end-zone, the scoreboard struck 31 – 34.

From what was the THS crowd exploding with energy had remained no longer. Jaws were dropped, heads were down and Tigard’s promising season had been cut short. How could such an upset be achieved? This was Mountainside’s second varsity season after all.

Well, from the dawn of the first quarter, Mountainside’s Justin Hughes (#2) had recovered a fumble by Tigard on the 40-yard line and ran the remaining distance to leave Tigard behind. This would be the first of five fumbles that Tigard had this game.

Nonetheless, Tigard’s impressive receiver Hunter Gilbert (#3) had led Tigard to a two-touchdown lead into the second half when he ran 92 yards on a punt. Possession transfers a couple of times until Tigard is backed up against the Maverick’s endzone. Tigard’s 4th down punt is bobbled and Mountainside recovers with eight yards to go.

Mountainside sets up for their play. Photo: Henry Kaus.

For the remainder of the second half, Mountainside scored 21 consecutive points with their last touchdown an interception on the 9-yard line with 6:52 left to go. 21 – 28. ‘But there was still time for Tigard.’ That’s what everyone was thinking at least.

Big plays needed to happen for any advancement in the game and it was time for the abundant sloppy moves to halt. Tigard’s quarterback Drew Carter (#9) found his opening and secured a 35-yard pass to Matthew Otness (#33). The vacant morale had begun to return to the team.

Gilbert was able to run for a first down on the 29-yard line. Wide receiver Andrew Carter (#5) caught a 16-yard pass to the 13-yard line and Gilbert ran the final yards for Tigard’s last touchdown of the season tying the game at 28 – 28. Gilbert had completed all four Tigard touchdowns with 161 yards on 24 carries.

From there, the game would end in overtime; Mountainside leading Tigard by three. Mountainside would later lose to Sam Barlow in the quarterfinals. No matter how strange an upset had occurred in this second round of playoffs, the team still had a season to be proud of.

Tigard went undefeated up until the bitter end with a total season record of 10-1 while taking the Three Rivers League crown and ranking #1 in the state. Their last game on their home turf just hadn’t been their night and Mountainside brought everything they had to win by a couple points.