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West Salem pulls away late to end Alohas season

Thomas Tyner's record-breaking day is not enough on Friday


ALOHA — Aloha tailback Thomas Tyner and his offensive line played their way into history on Friday night, but at the end of the day, none of it mattered as much as the final score.

Tyner and the Warriors, hosting West Salem in the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs, put together another big offensive performance that made Tyner Oregon’s all-time single-season rushing leader, but Aloha fell short on the scoreboard, falling 59-46 at Aloha High School and ending Tyner’s storied career.

by: MILES VANCE - PASSING FANCY - Aloha junior Nick Krautscheid makes a throw against West Salem on Friday night at Aloha High School.

“I’m just looking at everyone crying, and looking at all the seniors. It’s nothing you want to feel,” said Tyner, who finished with 164 yards and four touchdowns on 23 carries, and also returned two kickoffs for touchdowns as well. “You want to end on a good note.”

“We just needed to make tackles, make plays and win the game,” said senior lineman AJ McCollum, one of the mainstays on the Warrior line.

“It’s been great. It’s a great honor to be part of bringing this program up and I hope it stays like this for a while,” added senior tackle Brayden Kearsley.

For more on Tyner’s record-breaking season, please see the accompanying story.

That said, it was the final score that mattered most in the end, sending 11th-ranked West Salem (10-1), the Central Valley Conference champs, on to host Lake Oswego in a quarterfinal match-up at 7 p.m. Friday night. No. 6 Aloha, meanwhile, ended its year at 8-3 after a third-place finish in the Metro League.

For the longest time, Friday’s game was marked by a thrilling back-and-forth battle between Tyner and the Warriors, and West Salem senior tailback Ambrose Soh and his Titan teammates. Aloha opened the night with a 40-yard scoring drive capped by Tyner’s 14-yard dive to grab a 6-0 lead, but the Titans — who got 202 rushing yards and six TDs from Soh — answered with an eight-yard Soh run to push ahead 7-6 with 1 minute, 51 seconds to go in the first quarter.

That lead lasted just one play and 12 seconds, however — Tyner took the ensuing kickoff back 86 yards to help his team re-take the advantage at 12-7. Soh added his second score — this from eight yards — to make it 13-12 for the Titans on the second play of the second quarter, but Tyner and Aloha responded again, capping its next drive with a six-yard run and a 19-12 lead.

The back and forth continued at high speed, with the Titans getting a big kickoff return from Jordan Arritola to set the table for their next score, a five-yard run by Soh. Then, after Havier Lopez recovered an onside kick for Aloha, Tyner took a first-down carry around right end, cut back and sped 50 to score again, breaking the state rushing record in the process and sending the game to the half with the Warriors leading 25-20.

There was more punch and counterpunch at the start of the third quarter too, Soh kicking things off with a one-yard TD run, and Tyner and the Aloha kickoff return team responding 10 seconds later with a 70-yard touchdown return to keep the Warriors on top 31-28.

West Salem’s Jordan Ward tied the game with a 24-yard field goal, and the Titans then recovered an onside kick at the Aloha 45-yard line and pushed ahead 38-31 when quarterback Cade Smith hit Brady Rediger on the right flat and he turned it into a 20-yard score.

Aloha came back again after recovering another Titan onside kick at the West Salem 42, got a 16-yard Nick Krautscheid-to-Maurice McSwain completion, then a 16-yard Tyner run to tie the game at 38-38 five plays into the fourth quarter.

The next nine minutes of the game, however, were an unmitigated disaster for the Warriors. First, the Titans drove 67 yards to move ahead for good on a three-yard Soh score. Next, West Salem recovered the ensuing onside kick at the Aloha 47 and scored in just two plays, with Soh racing 48 yards around left end to make it 52-38.

Then, West Salem’s Matt Brand picked off a Krautscheid pass at the Aloha 40, and Jalen Jones-Haines ended the ensuing drive with a five-yard TD run that extended the Titan lead to 59-38 with just 35 seconds left to play.

Aloha senior quarterback CJ Eytel — in action for the first time since suffering a separated shoulder against Jesuit on Oct. 19 — led his team to its final score, an eight-yard pass to Cooper Nagy.

“They had a lot of trickery,” McCollum said. “We needed to hang onto the ball and capitalize on it.”

“I’m really proud of the way my teammates fought today,” Kearsley said.

“It’s nothing you want to feel, especially the end of your last senior game,” Tyner added.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.



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