A handful of Canby's key contributors on the offensive side of the ball came off with injuries, but that didn't slow the Cougars down any against Beaverton on Thursday, Sept. 15. In fact, injuries to starting quarterback Parker Ackerman and starting running back Tyler Konold highlighted Canby's impressive depth.
Canby (3-0) smashed Beaverton (0-3) by a wide margin of 37-7 to remain unbeaten throughout the early portion of the football season.
The Cougars began the game without their usual starting quarterback, junior Gage Millar, who was dealing with a lingering knee injury, according to head coach Jimmy Joyce. In true next man up fashion, junior Parker Ackerman stepped in to lead the Cougars in the opening drives. Those opening drives resulted in a trio of touchdowns, including one through the air from Ackerman to junior wide receiver Cohen Hall to go up 23-0 with 4:50 to go in the half.
But between that touchdown pass and the end of the second quarter, Ackerman would bow out due to a rolled ankle and see sophomore quarterback Kellen Oliver take over. Likewise, Canby's No. 1 run option Tyler Konold took to the sideline with an injury of his own. Senior Landon Sprague stepped in as Canby's top running back for the duration of the game.
It was a big night for Sprague, who scored Canby's opening touchdown and helped grind down the Beaverton front line.
"I like getting balls, that's fun," Sprague said. "I've kind of learned the plays here and there, but the quarterback helped me a lot; shout out to Kellen."
Oliver helped keep Canby's offense churning in the second half after the injuries to the starters in the first. He passed to Hall on a bootleg right, connecting with his wide receiver in the corner of the endzone to improve to 30-0 early in the third quarter. Hall had three touchdowns on the night, two through the air and one on the ground.
The other touchdown of the night came courtesy of senior Ethan Ensrud on a four-yard-run with 7:39 to go in the game.
"Obviously losing Tyler, arguably one of the best players in the state, to a rolled ankle," Joyce said. "He battled it out for a quarter and a half, but really going running back by committee. Some guys that don't get a lot of carries in practice to eke it out like we did and consistently move the ball. Really happy the whole thing came together and now we just have to put Humpty Dumpty back together."
The win exemplified how deeply the team is committed to imposing its will on the other team. While the option to score through the air is available to the Cougars, Joyce believes his team is one that will win on the ground.
"We continued to pound it out on the ground, and when you lose arguably the best running back in the state, some guys start to panic, but our guys rallied around each other," Joyce said. "I think when you play us, you're going to have to play us for four quarters. It doesn't matter who you are. You're going to expect four quarters of smash mouth football."
Coming out of Beaverton and looking forward to the contest with Bend, Sprague had a few ideas where he wanted to see his team improve, namely passing and getting healthy.
"(We have to be) keeping everybody safe and not injured, healthy," Sprague said. "Maybe passing, got to work on that. Our passing and throws weren't the greatest, but we hadn't practiced that that much this week. But we'll work on it."
Canby improved to 3-0 with the win over Beaverton and had entered the game already No. 1 in the OSAA 2022 football rankings. The team will face the Lava Bears (2-0) at home Friday, Sept. 23, in another class between classifications.
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