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Quarterback Jayce Knapp and tight end Jack Kimball connected for two touchdowns

COURTESY PHOTO: GREG ARTMAN - Mason Dean returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown Friday in Hillsboro.

Wilsonville's performance Friday night mirrored the Wildcats week of practice.

"We didn't have a very good practice on Tuesday. We had a great practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and all of those aspects showed up on Friday," Wilsonville coach Adam Guenther said. "There were moments where I was thinking what are we doing and then there were other moments were that looks great. We need to put it all together over the course of the week so we can finish it on Friday."

The Wildcats did just enough to win 30-26 at Hillsboro and improve to 2-0 in the Northwest Oregon Conference.

"Hillsboro came out absolutely swinging and we took their best shots and were able to bounce back," Guenther said. "They're a very talented team. Their (1-3) record does not show what kind of team they are. That's for sure."

The Wildcats never trailed in the game as Mason Dean returned the opening kickoff for a 92-yard touchdown.

But Wilsonville also never had a comfortable lead as Hillsboro answered with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Kane Kiaunis to Tristin Keffer with 6:11 remaining in the first quarter.

Wilsonville fullback Chad Overholt scored on a 3-yard touchdown run late in the first quarter and Jack Kimball caught a 8-yard touchdown pass from Jayce Knapp early in the second to give the Wildcats a 20-6 lead.

However, Hillsboro responded with touchdown runs of 28 and 22 yards to tie the game at 20-20 entering halftime.

Both Hillsboro touchdowns came on blown assignments by Wilsonville's defense.

"If we don't make mistakes, they're sitting on one score and it's a different game," Guenther said. "We need to make sure we play our best football throughout the course of the game, and not just on specific drives."

The Spartans marched deep into Wilsonville territory to open the second half, but the Wildcats defense held on fourth down and then the offense went on their own long drive, which finished with a 6-yard touchdown reception by Kimball from Knapp with 3:55 remaining in the third quarter.

Wilsonville senior Jacob Haussermann then kicked a 24-yard field goal to extend the Wildcats lead to 30-20 with 9:33 remaining in the game.

Hillsboro reached the end zone on a 1-yard run to get within 30-26 with 3:58 left to play, but Wilsonville blocked the extra point.

The Spartans got the ball back with 1:40 remaining, but Overholt intercepted Kiaunis to seal the Wilsonville win.

"Our defense played harder in the second half, didn't make mistakes," Guenther said. "Chad (Overholt), Matt (Labunksy) and the linebackers were flying around making plays. We played better in the second half and we'll take the W. Sometimes it's not a pretty win and this was one of those times."

Overholt finished with 10 sackles. Labunsky had six, including one tackle for loss. Dean also had an interception.

On offense, Knapp completed 17 of 27 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns, both to Kimball, who caught six passes for 50 yards.

Lucas Graves had 63 yards rushing on 20 carries.

The Wildcats (3-1) play at Forest Grove (3-1) this Friday before returning home Thursday, Oct. 10 against Scappoose (3-1).

"We need to show up," Guenther said. "We made mistakes that we see in youth football. We expect more out of our guys. When we executed well, it was pretty to watch. It's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. We've got to figure out which team is coming out and when one shows up it's great and when the other, it's going to be a struggle."


Derek Wiley
Reporter
503-263-6831
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