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By holding Canby to 12 points, Wildcats complete an undefeated regular season, win Northwest title.



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 on 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.PMG PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Wilsonville football's Jacob Ogden runs the ball against Canby on Oct. 29, at Cougar Stadium at Canby High School.

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 seven minutes off the clock and finishing with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Chase Nix to Nick Crowley.

"Where these guys have gone from their jamboree to here is unbelievable, it's nothing short of incredible," said Wilsonville coach Adam Guenther. "We graduated 19 starters. Our first team meeting I asked them, 'How many people have started a varsity game?' Four kids out of 38 raised their hand."

While the growth has been quick, one returning starter that the Wildcats are thankful to have is senior Jack Johnson.

The WR/DB was everywhere Friday night on both sides of the ball, even after it started a little shaky with a fumble in the second quarter inside the Canby 20-yard line.

In the second half, Johnson went to work with five catches, giving him eight on the game and 110 receiving yards.

Most importantly, Johnson had 23 yards passing on one throw for a touchdown.

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 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.

"He was one of our four who raised his hand on day one," Guenther said on Johnson. "He's a better young man than a football player. He's the leader of our defense and he gets them going and gets them in position."

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.

"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."

Wilsonville kept its foot on the gas, especially Ogden who had two big rushes in the second half, one for 50 yards and another for 70, that kept Canby at bay.

Ogden finished with 190 yards on the ground on 17 carries, meanwhile Rochne Beecham had 41 yards on 9 carries and scored his lone touchdown in the third quarter to make it 31-0 Wildcats.

Wilsonville's final touchdown came in garbage time when it sacked Canby quarterback Michael Gibson and forced a fumble at the Cougars 5-yard line and was brought to the end zone by Tristan Davis.

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, Canby finished with only 183 total yards while Wilsonville racked up 344 yards.

"We put our kids in positions to be successful and they get to play football," Guenther said on the team's defense. "They're smart kids. They study all week long, they love this game and they fly around. They're the way a defense is meant to be played, you light your hair on fire and go.

"We're not big, but we're fast and we can move."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.

Wilsonville is moving onto bigger and better things now as Northwest champions and likely the No. 1 seed in the 5A playoffs as they entered Friday ranked No. 1 in the OSAA rankings and knocked off Canby who entered as No. 4.

Obviously, a state title is the goal for one of the few undefeated teams left in all of Oregon football, but, as Guenther said, any coach will tell you they focus on one week at a time.

Still, the Wildcats know what's at stake come next week when the records don't matter anymore.

And after stonewalling Canby, there's no doubt in Wilsonville that they can be raising the trophy in the end.

"Not even close to our peak," Ogden said. "We're going to take it day by day and you guys will get to see us holding that state championship trophy at the end of the year."


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