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The Wildcats scored four unanswered touchdowns in the first half on their way to securing their league championship.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - The Wilsonville Wildcats celebrate with the Northwest Oregon Conference championship trophy after defeating the Rex Putnam Kingsmen 42-14 on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at Wilsonville High School.

Wilsonville was tired of hearing about the speed of the Rex Putnam offense, so they went out and stopped the Kingsmen in their tracks.

The Wildcats (7-2) beat Putnam 42-14 on Friday night, Oct. 28, winning the Northwest Oregon Conference championship on their home turf at Wilsonville High School. The Wilsonville defense shut out the Kingsmen (8-1) in the first half, while the Wildcat offense was keyed by quarterback Kallen Gutridge's four total touchdowns.

"We had a lot of locker room motivation," said Wilsonville senior running back Jacob Ogden, who scored a touchdown in the first half. "Putnam was talking about how they were the fastest offense in the state. That kind of locker room talk doesn't fly around here."

For most of the first half, the Kingsmen offense couldn't fly much, either.

Wilsonville's defensive line, including Jonatan Lazaro-Hampton, Ryder McElroy and Mason Seal, continually shut down the Putnam rushing attack. When Kingsman wide receiver Tyler Creswick left early in the first quarter after a hard hit, it took away much of the potency of his team's passing attack.

In the meantime, Gutridge opened up the scoring with a 30-yard touchdown run before handing off to Ogden later in the quarter for an 18-yard score. The junior quarterback capped off the first half with touchdown passes of 58 and 63 yards to senior Cooper Hiday, giving Wilsonville a 28-0 lead at halftime.

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Wilsonville senior Cooper Hiday (4) hauls in his first of two touchdown catches in the Wildcats' 42-14 win over Rex Putnam during the NWOC Championship, Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at Wilsonville High School.

The second half opened with Putnam gaining some momentum thanks to Adam Tetrick's interception on the first play from scrimmage. That turnover led to a 12-yard touchdown run for Jaxon Doyle to give the Kingsmen their first score of the day. After that, though, the tides immediately shifted back in Wilsonville's favor.

Following Doyle's touchdown, Wilsonville sophomore Mark Wiepert returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown.

"I'll have to watch it back, but those blocks were crazy," Wiepert said. "I had an ocean to run through. Credit to everyone who works their butt off and doesn't get the credit."

The Wildcats made it 42-7 when Gutridge connected with fellow junior Kheller Larson for a 24-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. Putnam was able to get one back before it was all said and done, with Konnor Bickford hitting Creswick for a 2-yard touchdown pass on fourth down. Those two second-half touchdowns were all the Kingsmen could muster on a rainy Friday night in Wilsonville.

Meanwhile, the Wildcats' offensive firepower was on full display.

Gutridge, Hiday and Ogden made most the highlight-reel plays, but it was an all-around team effort that led to Wilsonville raising up the NWOC championship trophy.

"Our offensive line is who sets it up every night," said Ogden, specifically calling out starters Mason Seal, Eli Nelson, Max Nelson, Brennan Martin and Jacob Fox for making possible all of the Wildcats' big plays. "Everybody thinks we're undersized, but nobody has speed like us up front."

PMG PHOTO: ANDY DIECKHOFF - Wilsonville quarterback Kallen Gutridge (11) threw for three touchdowns and ran for another in the Wildcats' 42-14 win over Rex Putnam on Friday, Oct. 28, 2022, at Wilsonville High School.

As for the team's quarterback play, Gutridge is simply hoping to live up to the example set by the players who he grew up watching.

"I'm just trying to continue the quarterback legacy here," Gutridge said. "It's been fun."

After reeling off five consecutive wins and outscoring opponents by 33 points per game in the process, the Wilsonville Wildcats are now the rightful champions of the NWOC. Now, says Ogden, they have their eyes set on the upcoming holiday season.

"We want to play on Thanksgiving weekend," said the senior, referring to the state championship game on Friday, Nov. 25.

On the other side of the coin, the Kingsmen tasted defeat for the first time this season after starting 8-0. It was the best start since 1986 for Putnam, but the team still has ambitions of adding to its historic season even after Friday's humbling loss.

"Losing is one of the greatest learning experiences we can get," said Putnam senior defensive end Oaklund Selfors. "The best thing we can do now is to recede, take our next step, focus on next week and fight harder."

Up next

The OSAA 5A Football State Championship bracket was released on Saturday morning, Oct. 29, with both Wilsonville and Putnam hosting in the first round. The Wildcats earned the No. 2 seed and will welcome No. 15 North Eugene (5-4) to town on Friday, Nov. 4. Meanwhile, the No. 5 Kingsmen will host No. 12 Dallas (5-3) in Friday's first-round action. Kickoff times have not yet been announced.


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