Day After Report: Battle Ground 38, Tualatin 7
— Rene Ferran (@ReneJFerranJr) September 10, 2016
Not many players in the region can provide the perspective that Jared Ellison brought after Friday’s game.
The Tualatin senior linebacker was a second-team all-league selection last year, meaning he’s one of the few Timberwolves back this season who went up against West Linn quarterback Tim Tawa, the Oregon 6A Offensive Player of the Year as a junior who’ll play baseball at Stanford after graduation.
On Friday, Ellison faced Battle Ground’s Gunner Talkington, and for him, the comparison between the two seemed appropriate.
“Now that you ask it, they’re really pretty similar quarterbacks,” Ellison said. “Both have great pocket presence, both scramble really well, and they’re both tough to tackle. Both are great quarterbacks.”
Ellison still has to face Tawa once more in Three Rivers League play this year. At least Talkington’s 18-for-27, 259-yard, four-touchdown performance Friday came in a nonleague matchup.
“We knew that he’d be tough,” Ellison said. “We tried to plan for it, but he made some really good plays tonight.”
One in particular starred Ellison as the foil. On a third-and-16 play late in the third quarter, Ellison came unblocked on a middle blitz, and he beelined toward Talkington in the pocket.
Talkington absorbed the contact, slid out of the tackle, then rolled left toward the sideline. Just before crossing the line of scrimmage, he spotted Austin Adams all alone at the 10, and Talkington lofted the ball to Adams for a 37-yard TD pass.
“Just like another day in practice,” Talkington said.
Neither Tawa (6-foot, 175 pounds) nor Talkington (5-10, 185) strike the usual quarterback profile, but while Tawa will trade football for baseball after graduation, Talkington hopes to keep his gridiron career going in college.
He’s talking with Eastern Washington, Central Washington, and Western Oregon, and plans to attend this weekend’s CWU-WOU game.
“Being undersized just puts the fire in the belly to get better,” Talkington said. “I want to show people why I should be there.”
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Fun fact: Battle Ground has now won five consecutive games against Oregon competition. You have to go back to Sept. 8, 1989, and a loss to Aloha for the last time the Tigers dropped a game to a crossriver opponent.
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The Tigers have now allowed one touchdown or fewer in four of their last five regular-season games dating to Week 7 of the 2015 season.
On Friday, they tamed Tualatin’s wing-T attack, holding the Timberwolves to 164 rushing yards and 277 yards total—73 of which came in the fourth quarter once the outcome had been determined.
Adams, who had a team-high nine tackles, attributed the Tigers’ success to film study.
“We read the wing-T like it’s nothing, and then we ended up destroying it,” he said. “It was a great night for the defense.”
Adams also said taking on Tualatin was great preparation for next week’s matchup against former league rival Mountain View, which also runs the wing-T.
The Tigers are 2-0 for the second straight season and primed for a run at one of the GSHL 4A’s two postseason berths a year after qualifying for the playoffs for the first time since 2005 and making it to state for the first time since 1979.
The program has never reached the playoffs in back-to-back seasons.
“I think we’re ready to take that next step,” Adams said. “We’re putting in the work for it, for sure.”