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The defense continues to be tough while the offense seems to have found its groove as Canby moves to 2-0 in league

A 55-13 thrashing of St. Helens Sept. 24 lifted the Canby High football team to 2-0 in league play, a result that head coach Jimmy Joyce lays at the feet of practice and some tweaks the team made to how it practices.

"That was the product of good practice," Joyce said. "I think it all comes back to practice. After West Albany we made some changes to how we did things Monday through Thursday and I think it lit a fire under us. We also made a number of changes on offense that might not be obvious to some, but they were pretty major, and I think the guys are finally comfortable with what we are doing."

It didn't take long for the offense to get rolling in this one, though the defense drew first blood with a safety.

PMG PHOTO: SARAH OLIVER - Canby running back Tyler Konold cracked the 200-yard rushing barrier in Friday's 55-13 win over St. Helens.

From there, quarterback Mikey Gibson had two touchdown passes — one to Koby Kessler (28 yards) and another to Matt Soles from 11 yards out. Running back Tyler Konold, who had a massive day on the ground, rounded out the scoring in the first quarter with a 19-yard scamper. And with that 29-6 first quarter lead, the rout was on.

Konold would add two more touchdown runs (39 and 56 yards) on his way to 257 yards rushing for the night. Gibson would hit tight end Jacob Strand with a scoring toss from nine yards out in the third quarter, while Cam Lee and Davis Hagen added touchdown runs of their own to the win.

PMG PHOTO: SARAH OLIVER - Canby coach Jimmy Joyce said that as the offense has worked to find an identity, it has been the defense that has led the Cougars in the season's early going.

"The line was really impressive," Joyce noted. "Our big boys up front have been very impressive this year. We have had a number of injuries but it hasn't slowed them down. You can see it in how they practice, confidence has been growing in themselves and in what we are doing. Tyler and Bryce (Oliver) have been putting up big numbers and that is because of the hogs up front."

While the offense looks like it has found its groove, Joyce was clear that it has been the Cougar defense that has been the team's biggest factor thus far.

"Our defense had a great performance — it has been the backbone of our team all season," Joyce said. "When our offense was struggling for an identity early, they kept us in games and flat out won the game against Dallas for us. Brett Rhodes does a great job getting our guys ready. I'm really excited to see what our defense can do as we get deeper into the season. Our goal is to be playing meaningful games in November and you don't get there without a great defense."

Canby (2-0, 3-1 overall) is currently No. 5 in the OSAA rankings and is tied atop 5A-Special District 2 with Wilsonville. The Cougars get a visit from McKay Oct. 1. Game time is 7 p.m.


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