Two games into the Class 5A state playoffs, the Wilsonville football team is exactly where it wants to be.
The top-ranked Wildcats won their second straight postseason game by a 42-14 margin on Friday, Nov. 12, rolling past No. 8 Hood River at Wilsonville High School in the state quarterfinals.
"I think it was awesome," said Wilsonville junior wide receiver/cornerback Cooper Hiday, who caught four passes for 107 yards and one touchdown, and also picked off a Hood River pass. "Last week, we didn't step on (Churchill) right away and this week we needed to do that so we came out and really showed them what's up."
"It was good. It was a good team win," said senior wide receiver/defensive back Jack Johnson, who made six catches for 66 yards and one TD, and picked off an Eagles' pass and took it back 75 yards for another touchdown. "I think everyone had a big role and helped a lot. That was a big change from last week."
"I think we did everything that we did well," added junior running back Jacob Ogden, who carried three times for 71 yards, including a 63-yard TD run. "We had a great week of practice (and) we came in prepared. We're the best team in the state and I think we showed that tonight. We had a great game."
With the win — the team's 11th straight — the No. 1 Wildcats improved to 11-0 after winning the Special District 2 title. Next up, the Wildcats will host No. 5 Thurston (9-0 after winning Special District 4) — a 20-0 winner over Canby in its Friday quarterfinal — likely at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 19.
The Wildcats say they know what they need to do to beat the Colts.
"We just have to keep doing what we do best, just have to play together," Hiday said.
"It'll just take another great week of practice — it's pretty simple," Johnson said.
"I think we just have to continue playing as a team and do our thing," Ogden added.
Hood River, meanwhile, saw its six-game winning streak snapped and ended its year at 9-2 after finishing second in Special District 1.
While neither team scored on its first possession, the Wildcats took over early with their big-play ability, beginning with an 80-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Chase Hix to senior wide receiver Kellen Harford to make it 7-0 with 8 minutes, 18 seconds to go in the first quarter.
After another Hood River punt, Wilsonville — for the second series in a row — needed just one play to score, this time getting a 50-yard Hix TD pass to Hiday on the left sideline to make it 14-0 with 6:21 left in the first period.
While Hood River short-circuited Wilsonville's next series with an interception by senior Joey Frazier, the Eagles failed to score and Wilsonville came back with another one-play scoring drive, this time sending Ogden up the middle for a breakaway 63-yard TD run and a 21-0 lead 23 seconds into the second quarter.
It got worse for Hood River before it got better, too. Hiday stopped the Eagles' next possession with an interception of Hood River senior quarterback Trenton Hughes near midfield, and four plays later, Hix hit senior Rockne Beecham on the left side for a 46-yard score and a 28-0 lead.
To their credit, the Eagles answered with a 71-yard scoring drive capped by Hughes' 11-yard TD throw to senior Ryles Buckley at the right flag to make it 28-7 with 3:33 to go in the half.
Hood River then hit a short kickoff that Wilsonville fumbled away to Eagle junior Aiden Cantrell at the Wilsonville 38.
There, faced with a short-field chance to cut the Wildcats' lead to two TDs, Hood River saw the Wildcats' defense turn the tables when Johnson picked off a Hughes pass at the 25-yard line and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown and a 35-7 edge with 3:14 to go before the half.
The two teams traded TDs at the start of the second half — Hood River got a 5-yard scoring run from Hughes, while Wilsonville added a 7-yard Hix-to-Johnson TD to push the Cats' lead to 42-14 — but did not add to that total in the game's final 19:18.
In the remaining time, Wilsonville senior Nick Cooper recovered a Hood River fumble and sophomore Nick Colyer picked off a Hughes pass.
For the game, Hix completed 17 of 21 throws for 343 yards with four TDs and one interception, with Harford catching four passes for 103 yards and one score. For Hood River, Hughes carried 35 times for 147 yards and one TD, and also completed 18 of 30 passes for 160 yards with two TDs and three interceptions, with Buckley catching six passes for 66 yards and one score.
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