A look back at the Wildcats football season
The Wilsonville football team did not make it to the state finals this past fall season, but they put together an incredible run on their way to the state semi-finals. The Wildcats ended their post season run with a record of 10-2, including a 7-0 league record.
In the post season, the Wildcats defeated the Bend Lava Bears in the first round 41-21, and then followed that up with an even more impressive defeat of the Lebanon Warriors 31-7. That game was a rematch of the state championship game from last year where the Warriors defeated Wilsonville. Ultimately, Wilsonville fell to the Hermiston Bulldogs in the semi-finals 35-27 at Hillsboro Stadium.
Despite the loss, and failing to reach the state championship game again, head coach Adam Guenther is proud of the way his team represented themselves over the course of the season.
"Everyone should want to get to the state title game, it is the ultimate pinnacle of a season," Guenther said. "Only two teams can get to that point. Does it diminish what we accomplished? I don't think so. To say that I am proud of this team is an understatement. The seniors set the standard for what our underclassman have to strive for in the future. I believe our program is one of the best in the state if not the best and next year can't come soon enough for us to show that again."
The Wildcats were indeed one of the best in the state. They lay claim to the Northwest Oregon Conference title and were the second seed in the state playoff tournament.
Guenther credits this to the team's constant improvement over the course of the season, and willingness to put the team before the individual. It also helped that the team avoided off the field issues.
"I will always remember the growth that took place from the time we took our team retreat during the summer to the last game," Guenther said. "I have never seen a team play so unselfishly and truly play for the betterment of their buddies. When you are willing to sacrifice individual accolades and playing time for the good of the team, well it says a lot about the character you possess as a person."
"We had very little if any off the field distractions that took our focus away from the game," Guenther added. "The character that this team displayed was second to none. We had a bunch of good quality young men playing a game the way it is supposed to be played, together."
At the end of the day, it is just a game, according to Guenther. No matter the stakes, no matter the hype that surrounds the state tournament, that the student athletes played the game and got better as athletes and individuals is important first and foremost.
"People need to remember what high school athletics is all about," Guenther said. "It's not about getting scholarships or playing time. It's not about one individual getting all the stats. It's not about what the game "owes" you. It's about lessons that you can't learn in the classroom. It's about learning how to work hard, make sacrifices for the betterment of the whole, how to deal with adversity when it arises, how to be dependent on others and trust your teammates will do the same. It teaches you how not to take short cuts and never to give up when things don't go your way. It teaches lessons that you can take with you well after your playing days are over. Wins and losses come and go, those are the things that are the true measure of success in a high school season."