TUALATIN — Talk about a great start.
The Tualatin High School football team got off to a super-fast start in its game with Grant, and the Timberwolves also got their 2017 season off to a fantastic start.
Tualatin, with junior Jake Anderson returning the opening kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown, grabbed a quick lead and never looked back, as it ran to a 55-21 win over the Generals in a season-opening non-league game played Friday at Tualatin High School.
"Going into Game 1 of any season, you always worry about blocking, tackling and if you've spent enough time working on your special teams," first-year Tualatin coach Dan Lever said. "Well, it was in those three areas that we really did well in the game. We blocked well, our defense did a great job and we took the opening kickoff to the house."
With the victory, the Wolves not only got off to a 1-0 start to the season, but they also picked up their first win since they were victorious at Newberg back on Oct. 7, 2016.
"We don't talk about wins and losses, we talk about competing," Lever said. "Good things happen to teams that work hard and do their part."
Grant, from the Portland Interscholastic League, moved to 0-1 on the season with the setback.
Tualatin, following Anderson's kickoff return for a touchdown, kept rolling. Sophomore Kainoa Sayre scored on a 1-yard run later in the first quarter and senior Lucas Noland opened the second quarter scoring with a 2-yard touchdown run, giving the Wolves a 21-0 lead at that point.
Following a Grant touchdown, Tualatin junior quarterback Kyle Dernedde threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Jackson Willig on a play-action toss, making the score 28-7 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Tualatin got a 3-yard touchdown run by junior Dominique Loggins and a 19-yard scoring pass from sophomore quarterback Blake Jackson to sophomore receiver John Miller, giving the Wolves a 41-14 lead going into the fourth quarter.
In the final stanza, Tualatin got a 45-yard touchdown run by Nathan Marx and an 11-yard scoring scamper by Jackson to wrap up the 55-21 victory.
Sayre, in his Tualatin varsity debut, rushed for more than 100 yards and his first varsity touchdown. Noland also neared the 100-yard mark.
"On offense, we attack structure," Lever said. "They gave us the run, and we took it. We also had some good, timely passing."
Senior linemen Ryan Mitton, Jaruis Jackson and Gerald Saina helped lead the running attack, but they had plenty of help.
"We had eight or nine linemen play, and they all did a great job," Lever said.
Meanwhile, the Tualatin defense did a solid job containing a potent Grant offense, led by talented quarterback Demarques Singleton Jr.
"(Tualatin assistant coach) Erik Moen and the defensive staff came up with a phenomenal to contain Grant's skilled players," Lever said.
The Timberwolves will be back in action on Friday, when they host Battle Ground, Wash., in a non-league game set to start at 7 p.m. at Tualatin High School.