Fall sports kick into gear at Tualatin 

284
Tualatin’s Johnny Rivera-Delao has scored the Timberwolves three goals through the first three games of the season. Adam Littman/Tualatin Life
- Advertisement -

Before the first class of the new school year started, athletes at Tualatin High School were already weeks into their fall seasons.

Here’s a look around at the fall sports to see how the fall has started for the Timberwolves:

Football

There wasn’t much time for the Timberwolves to ease into their 2023 campaign, as they kicked off the year with two tough road games. Tualatin cruised to a Week 1 victory against reigning League 5A Oregon state champ Summit High School in Bend, and hung on for a win against Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Wash., in Week 2. Lincoln was ranked No. 10 in Class 3A in Washington heading into the game with Tualatin.

The Timberwolves left Bend with a 42-14 win in Week 1 and a 17-14 win in Week 2 up in Tacoma.

After an early punt against Summit, the Timberwolves scored on five straight drives, said Coach Dominic Ferraro, who is in his second year leading the Timberwolves. In the summer, Ferraro said the players seemed a bit more comfortable running his offense now that they were familiar with it.

One player who wasn’t familiar with it, however, was junior quarterback Nolan Keeney, who moved to the district this year from Westview High School. Keeney certainly seemed comfortable running the offense in his first game at Tualatin, as he completed 10 of 17 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown.

“He’s still learning the offense, and there are going to be growing pains,” Ferraro said. “I’m confident he’ll work them out. He has a lot of poise out there. He doesn’t seem to get rattled.”

It also helps when you’re throwing to one of the state’s top receiving units. Tualatin boasts a trio of star pass catchers: seniors Jayden Fortier, Kenen Elder, and AJ Noland. Fortier, the top-ranked player in the state who committed to play for Arizona State University next season, kicked off his senior season with four catches for 106 yards and three touchdowns.

Elder caught the other touchdown in Week 1. Noland didn’t play offense against Summit due to a minor knee procedure in the offseason, Ferraro said. The team didn’t want to put too much on his plate right off the bat and decided to use him just on defense.

“He’s so important to our defense,” Ferrao said. “He’s the quarterback of our secondary. He’s the one directing all the other guys to get to the right places.”

Noland led Tualatin with four tackles in the win. The coaches left it up to Noland to decide when he felt comfortable enough to give it a go on offense, and he told the coaches after the first game he was ready. He played a few drives on offense against Lincoln.

Tyson Hunt also had a strong day on both sides of the ball, as the tight end caught three passes for 56 yards and had a sack and three tackles on defense.

While the offense led Tualatin in Week 1, the defense came up big in Week 2 to secure the win, thanks to five fumble recoveries. Three of those fumbles were caused by Fortier.

“He’s just a dominant force on both sides of the ball,” Ferraro said. “On offense, he’s catching six- and seven-yard routes and just dragging multiple defenders for yards. On defense, he’s coming off the edge on blitzes and hitting guys so hard he’s knocking the ball loose. He brings a lot of emotion and positive energy. Our team feeds off it.”

Fortier also had two sacks on defense while catching seven passes for 87 yards on offense.

The scoring offense came from the ground game in Week 2 for Tualatin, as Antonio Russo and Carson Mullins each punched in a score from close.

After opening the year with two tough road games, the Timberwolves have their home opener against Wilsonville up next.

“I’ve got home at 1:45 in the morning two straight weeks,” Ferraro said. “I’m ready for some home cooking.”

Volleyball

Tualatin’s Paige Olivares (left) and Aero Nguyen (right) celebrate after a point in the Timberwolves first match of the season. Adam Littman/Tualatin Life

It has been a tough start to the season for the Tualatin volleyball team, which dropped its first two matches against top-20-ranked teams.

The Timberwolves kicked off their season on the road against McNary, ranked No. 17 out of the 50 teams in the Oregon School Activities Association’s League 6A rankings. McNary won the match’s first three games to sweep Tualatin, holding the Timberwolves to less than 10 points in each game. McNary took the first game, 25-9, the second game, 25-7, and the third game, 25-9.

Things went a bit better for Tualatin in the second game of the season, even if it did end in a loss, as well. The Timberwolves were swept by St. Mary’s Academy, which is ranked No. 14 in the OSAA’s 6A rankings. However, they managed to keep things closer than in the season opener.

Tualatin dropped the first game, 25-15, and St. Mary’s won the match’s second game, 25-5. St. Mary’s finished the sweep in the third game with a 25-17 win.

Just like the second match went better for Tualatin, it could very well be a season where the Timberwolves get stronger as the season goes on, and they get more and more experience. The Timberwolves are a very young team, as more than half of the roster is made up of ninth- and tenth-graders.

Boys Soccer

Tualatin sits at 1-2 this season, as of our publication date, after winning the season opener and dropping the next two contests.

The Timberwolves kicked off their 2023 season in impressive fashion, with a 2-1 win on the road at Century High School. They then lost 3-0 at Aloha High School and 4-1 at home against McDaniel.

The scoring offense so far this year has come from senior Johnny Rivera-Delao, who netted both goals in the winner to open the season and Tualatin’s lone goal in the loss to McDaniel.

Rivera-Delao scored Tualatin’s only goal against McDaniel on a penalty kick late in the first half to give the Timberwolves a 1-0 lead heading into the break. Things quickly went south for Tualatin in the second half, when starting goalie Jared Villa got banged up on a collision right in front of the goal.

To that point, the senior goalkeeper had stopped everything heading his way. He stepped up to corral a ball in front of the net and collided with a McDaniel player. He was taken out right after and didn’t return.

McDaniel piled it on, netting four goals in the second half against Tualatin’s backup goalies.

Tualatin will spend the rest of September wrapping up non-league before kicking off league play in early October with a home game against Tigard.

Girls Soccer

Isabella Hernandez scored Tualatin’s lone goal in a loss to open the season for the Timberwolves, who bounced back with a win in their second game. Adam Littman/Tualatin Life

The Tualatin girls soccer team comes into the season looking to replace some big-name seniors who graduated after last season.

The biggest gap to fill, perhaps, is Maya Loudd, who was named Three Rivers League player of the year and All-State League 6A co-player of the year last year. Loudd is currently playing for the University of Washington. The Timberwolves also lost all-league first-team midfielder Avery Porter and all-league first-team defender Peyton Howard.

The Timberwolves are off to a 1-1 start on the year as of our publication date. They fell behind 5-0 in their season opener at home against Sunset, but got on the board late thanks to a goal by Isabella Hernandez.

Tualatin built off that momentum in its second game, when the Timberwolves scored a 1-0 win on the road at Aloha.

Like the boy’s team, the girls will spend the rest of the month in non-league action before kicking off the league portion of their schedule in early October. The Timberwolves kick off their league play on the road at Tigard.

Cross Country

The Tualatin boys and girls cross county teams have participated in a few races so far this year, starting off with an event at Tigard High School, where the girls finished third in the 5,000 meters, and the boys finished second in the 5,000 meters.

On the girls’ side, freshman Lauren Gerlach scored the fastest finish for the Timberwolves at 19:51:80, followed by senior Karys Gates at 20:41:95, and junior Ayla Becker at 21:24:35. The other top-20 finishers for Tualatin were freshman Jackson Hale, junior Ayla Mosetter, and sophomore Chobei Aubrylle Nivera.

The boys had three top-5 finishers, with Alex Ehrhart placing third with a time of 16:36:17, Nathan Ruybalid finishing fourth at 16:53:83, and Kenyon Thompson coming in fifth at 17:14:67. Carson Page, Keawe Middleton, and Elijah Goiburn were the other top-20 finishers for Tualatin at the event.

The Tualatin girls scored a second-place finish in the 5,000 meters at the Saxon Invite, led by Gerlach, who finished with the fastest overall time at 19:45:96. Becker finished sixth for the Timberwolves, followed by Mosetter and Mariah Aguilar, who both finished in the top 12.

On the boys side, Thompson, Page, and Goiburn finished 11th, 12th, and 13th, respectively. Middleton also scored a top-20 finish.