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Football: Wilsonville finds its rhythm in second half to thrash Liberty

Wildcats outscore Falcons 35-0 after halftime en route to lopsided victory


by: JOSH KULLA / FILE - Derek Sunkle took 23 carries for 215 yards and three touchdowns Oct. 18 at Randall Stadium. The senior running back has 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns on 156 carries this season.Maybe it had something to do with being hammered by Sherwood a week earlier. Perhaps it resulted from maintaining a perfect record against Liberty in the all-time series.

Whatever the reason, the Wilsonville football team clearly had a little extra steam Oct. 18, spontaneously erupting into rowdy celebration in the locker room following its 45-7 thrashing of the Falcons at Randall Stadium.

“I can’t even tell you where it started from,” senior Tanner Crooks said. “A couple people just started going crazy, and it just kind of spread. It was the most fun I’ve ever had after a game.”

The Wildcats (5-3, 4-2 in the Northwest Oregon Conference) led by just three points after two quarters but outscored Liberty 35-0 in the second half to pull away.

They improved to 8-0 all-time against the Falcons (4-4, 3-3), topping the 40-point mark for the sixth time in the series and coming close to their 52-point output in last year’s blowout.

Wilsonville racked up 449 all-purpose yards, its second-highest single-game total of the season, complementing its running offense with an efficient passing game.

Derek Sunkle took 23 carries for 215 yards and three touchdowns, topping the 200-yard mark for the third time this year. The senior running back has 1,253 yards and 11 touchdowns on 156 carries this season.

Junior teammate Garrett Chenoweth added 39 yards and his first two touchdowns of the year on just six carries. The Wildcats averaged 7.27 yards per carry.

Wilsonville also exhibited its ability to move the chains with its air attack. Sophomore quarterback Elijah Benedick threw 17 times, recording season bests in completions (10) and passing yards (151).

His most frequent target was senior receiver Brandon Chao, who caught four passes for 73 yards.

Benedick’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Cole Wilson midway through the third quarter kicked of the Wildcats’ dominant performance in the second half.

Sunkle broke free for an 83-yard touchdown run less than 4 minutes later and darted 53 yards for another score early in the fourth quarter to give Wilsonville a 31-7 edge.

Chenoweth provided insurance for the Wildcats, entering the end zone twice in the final 5:57.

“Our offense had a chip on their shoulder,” Crooks said. “They didn’t do as well as they wanted to (against Sherwood).”

Wilsonville’s defense, meanwhile, bounced back from its performance against the top-ranked Bowmen with a remarkable effort. Liberty mustered just 160 yards of offense.

The Wildcats sacked Falcons quarterback Mike McBride five times and held an opponent to 12 points or fewer for the fifth time in eight games.

Cooper Whittaker tallied 10 tackles, Tyler Carskadon had eight takedowns and Cole Wilson and Victor Oporta each recorded six.

McBride connected with Byron Greenlee for a 24-yard touchdown on the first scoring play of the game with 3:58 left in the first quarter, but Liberty never scored again.

“It’s been a focus point from the very beginning,” Crooks said. “We knew we’d have a good defense with the players coming back and the JV players coming up, and we knew we had a chance to be really good on defense this year. We’ve really rallied behind that. We’ve proven it on the field quite a few times.”

Wilsonville tied the game at 7-7 late in the opening period on a short run by Sunkle and a successful kick by Harry England, who converted all six of his extra-point attempts. The Wildcats took the lead for good on England’s 22-yard field goal with 44 seconds remaining in the first half.

“We came into halftime pumped up,” Crooks said. “(The Falcons’) demeanor coming off, they looked like they were done. So we rallied behind that. The turnovers definitely helped spur our offense on. They really found their rhythm.”

Wilsonville will wrap up its regular-season slate at 7 p.m. Oct. 25 at home against Sandy (6-2, 4-2), which is coming off a 55-20 loss to Sherwood. The Pioneers’ only other defeat in conference play came at the hands of Parkrose.

The Wildcats are currently in a three-way tie for second place in the NWOC standings with Sandy and Parkrose. They are 3-0 in their all-time series against the Pioneers.

***

AT A GLANCE

Wilsonville 45, Liberty 7

Oct. 18 at Randall Stadium

1 2 3 4 F

Liberty 7 0 0 0 7

Wilsonville 7 3 14 21 45

First quarter

L — (3:58) Byron Greenlee 24 pass from Mike McBride (Chris Schramm kick)

W — (0:13) Derek Sunkle 3 run (Harry England kick)

Second quarter

W — (0:44) England 22 field goal

Third quarter

W — (7:02) Cole Wilson 25 pass from Elijah Benedick (England kick)

W — (3:41) Sunkle 83 run (England kick)

Fourth quarter

W — (9:10) Sunkle 53 run (England kick)

W — (5:57) Garrett Chenoweth 12 run (England kick)

W — (0:30) Chenoweth 4 run (England kick)

***

TAKING LIBERTY

The Wilsonville football team improved to 8-0 in its all-time series against Liberty:

2006: WILSONVILLE 42, Liberty 20

2007: Wilsonville 43, LIBERTY 20

2008: Wilsonville 49, LIBERTY 23

2009: WILSONVILLE 26, Liberty 0

2010: WILSONVILLE 40, Liberty 7

2011: Wilsonville 24, LIBERTY 7

2012: Wilsonville 52, LIBERTY 10

2013: WILSONVILLE 45, Liberty 7

***

SERIES STREAK

Wilsonville is 3-0 in its all-time series against Sandy:

2010: Wilsonville 40, SANDY 30

2011: WILSONVILLE 49, Sandy 14

2012: Wilsonville 52, SANDY 20



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