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Cougars only able to muster 183 yards on offense in the home loss to the Wildcats

With two football teams averaging around 40 points a game, things looked like they could get crazy at the de facto Northwest Oregon Conference title game Friday night at Cougar Stadium in Canby.

Instead, things were only wild for one side for the visiting Wilsonville High Wildcats.

Canby was held in check by the Wildcats defense all night with turnovers ending promising drives. Meanwhile, the Wilsonville offense displayed its array of speed and playmakers.

In the end, it was a 38-12 victory for Wilsonville to give it a perfect 9-0 regular season and take the Northwest title at 7-0.

"I think there was a lot of doubt coming from the outside, but I know within us we were confident in ourselves and we knew exactly what we were capable of," Wildcats junior RB/LB Jacob Ogden said. "I think we've shown that so far this season and people aren't ready for what the rest of the season is going to look like."

While the loss dropped Canby to 7-2 overall, the Cougars are still well-positioned for a home playoff game next week in round one of the Class 5A state playoffs.

But Friday, Wilsonville showed Canby what it takes to be a title-contending squad.

The Wildcats moved the ball at will, especially on third down and nothing highlighted that more than their second drive of the game.

After going three-and-out on their first possession, the Wildcats picked up three third downs on their next drive, taking more than 7 minutes off the clock and finishing with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Chase Nix to Nick Crowley.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Canby football's Tyler Konold, middle, rushes the ball against Wilsonville on Oct. 29 at Cougar Stadium at Canby High School.

When Canby was offense, it was either a turnover bringing about an end to the drive or penalties pushing it back to long downs that the Cougars couldn't overcome.

The most hurtful turnover came in the first half when the Cougars fumbled the ball and it turned into a 35-yard return for a touchdown by Wilsonville's Kallen Gutridge.

"It was a great learning experience I think for our team for playoff football," Canby coach Jimmy Joyce said. "We'd get momentum, penalties; turnovers kind of hurt us, and those are the kind of things we have to fix internally.

"They gave us a good lesson on what championship football is all about."

Championship football is the final step for a Canby football program that has taken many steps already to get to the point where it's playing for a league title.

After dropping down to Class 5A, it's been about building culture for Joyce and his staff.

While the loss to Wilsonville kept Canby from a league title, it didn't keep his program from learning exactly what is needed to reach the top.

"We've seen the improvement from a two-win season to a three-win season last year," Joyce said. "But now this year, to see a team that can sustain momentum throughout weeks and weeks (is good). We're still not there, but we're getting there. We hope to be there in four more weeks, but it's been really good to see how kids have bought into everything.

"We're excited about what the next four weeks hold, but we're also excited about what the next four, five, six, eight years will hold."

While the growth has been quick, it wasn't quick enough to snuff out the back-breaking play from Wilsonville in the third quarter.

The game-changing play happened in the third quarter when the Wildcats lined up to attempt a 40-yard field goal. Instead of kicking it, senior Judah Lesh broke out to the left and Jack Johnson, the holder, floated a pass perfectly into Lesh's chest for the 23-yard score that put Wilsonville up 24-0 halfway through the third.

What made the fake field goal so back-breaking for Canby was it came after the Cougars' second fumble of the game and on their first possession of the second half.

In the first half, Canby coughed up a fumble that was returned 35 yards by Wilsonville's Kallen Gutridge that put the Wildcats up 14-0.

A field goal at the first half horn made it 17-0 Wilsonville before the second fumble lost by Canby came and ultimately the spirit-depriving touchdown pass from Johnson.

Canby RB Tyler Konold never quit though and scored the Cougars' two fourth-quarter touchdowns and finished with 132 yards rushing on 20 carries.

However, Wilsonville outgained Canby 344-183 total yards and dominated in nearly every fashion.

With a big loss though can come plenty of lessons, some that will need to be implemented quickly with the playoffs starting next week.

"Playoff football is all about intensity, it's all about bringing it week in and week out, and it's also about having that championship mind-set where you're just going to get things done," Joyce said. "We're in week 10, no one's healthy. Everyone's banged up, everyone's bruised. Who can put that behind them and go for it for four days of practice and turn it on on a Friday night?"

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