As the first week of school for K-12 had come to an end in the new school year, Tigard High School students began to gather on the fields of Sunset High. The familiar sunny Friday nights from the previous summer still persisted creating an ideal evening for high school football.
Fans cheered and coaches yelled, but the game had been slow the first half; with scores of 17 – 14 and Tigard leading.
Sunset searched for any chance to make any headway on Tigard, but THS would make this game their own in a matter of minutes with their running/defensive back: Hunter Gilbert (#3).
Three far-reaching plays landed Sunset on the 45, but once possession had flipped and Gilbert got a hold of the ball, he ran it all the way back (55 yards total) with a touchdown.
Immediately after, while in possession, Sunset attempted a short pass to gain any extra distance; this had in fact turned into the nail in the coffin of the game. It was knocked out of the air by a Tigard player into Gilbert’s arms as he ran another 21 yards. Ultimately, the next play went into the end zone with scores totaling 45 – 14.
The roar of the Tigard student section was unlike anything else the entire game. With the bleachers shaking and the football team egging the students on, they wanted to make themselves known.
“The energy was crazy. Yelling a cheer and having 150 people yelling with you is something else,” Tigard senior Ethan McClelland said beneath the crowd.
As usual in football games, the student section tends to run with a theme in their attire. This game, with one of the more distinct themes, students would choose to wear Greek robes in what they called a “Toga-Out.”
“It’s becoming a tradition to do for our first game and it’s a little challenging to make a toga, but it’s a cool, unique theme,” McClelland said.
This had also been the first game for John Kemper as head coach for Tigard. He took the place of Craig Ruecker this season as he had been coaching under him for 10 years as the offensive line coach.
“[The game] flew by. It was nerve-wracking, and you just hope that we as coaches did our job in getting these guys ready,” Kemper said.
Last year, Tigard had a very promising season going 10 – 2 until they lost to Jesuit in the 6A quarterfinals. Despite this assurance, many of the prime linemen of the previous season graduated leaving holes to be filled.
The game may have ended 45 – 22 in Tigard’s favor, but many coaches and students thought this game had been a messy one with the possibility of Tigard catching a lucky break.
“We got a lot to clean up, there were a lot of mistakes this week,” Kemper said. “We’ll keep plugging away each and every week, and next week’s a new game so that’s the most important one now.”