Canby Opens League Play with Huge Win over North Salem

One issue has plagued the fifth-ranked Canby Cougars as they faced two top 10 opponents to start the season, going 1-1: Consistency.

Against Dallas and West Albany, both non-league contests, Canby head coach Jimmy Joyce’s squad managed only a combined 40 points — 33 of which had come in the second quarter of each game.

Joyce, a longtime offensive coordinator in Beaverton, is not exactly known for the low-scoring, grind-it-out style of play that was once Canby’s hallmark.

Photo by Tyler Francke.

So it was no surprise to talk to a very pleased Jimmy Joyce after Saturday’s game saw the Cougs run away from North Salem in their NWOC West Opener, blasting the Vikings, 42-13.

The game was staged on Saturday due to a shortage of officials, according to Canby Athletics.

Canby needed just one minute and three plays to get on the board to start the barn burner, and the high-powered Cougar offense kept humming all night.

Photo by Tyler Francke.

“We really challenged our guys all week to start strong and finish fast,” said Joyce. “Our guys stepped up and we pushed ourselves with the pace of practice and the intensity.”

Canby got the ball to start the game and marched relentlessly downfield thanks to the strong arm and masterful defensive reads from senior quarterback Mikey Gibson.

Gibson was able to find receiver Joe Brauckmiller on the second play from scrimmage for a 39-yard gain. In the very next play, Gibson rolled out and connected with Cameron Lee for a 20-yard score. Just like that, Canby led 7-0 — with a little over 47 minutes left in the 48-minute contest.

The dynamic Koby Kessler caught Gibson’s longest touchdown pass, a 67-yard bomb in the second quarter. Photo by Tyler Francke.

After forcing a Viking punt, Canby put the ball on the ground and embarked on an impressive 14-play, 77-yard march that saw the Cougars run the ball seven times in a row.

The dynamic backfield duo of super sophomore Tyler Konold and senior Bryce Oliver accounted for 57 yards, and Oliver broke into pay dirt with a three-yard run that put the Cougs up 14-0 early into the second.

“We are really excited about what we’re developing in the run game,” said Joyce. “Tyler and Bryce really complement each other well.”

The Cougar Spirit King stayed busy all night. Photo by Tyler Francke.

Four minutes later, Canby set the home stands on fire with a thrilling, 67-yard strike from Gibson to senior speedster Koby Kessler that burst the game wide open, with the Cougars leading 21-0.

North Salem was able to cut the lead to 21-6 on a six-yard run just before the second quarter wrapped up, but the Viking D had no answer for the Canby offense other than the halftime horn.

The second half brought more of the same. Canby got the ball and marched on another long drive that resulted in a rushing TD, this time a five-yard blast by Konold. After the Canby defense held firm once again, Gibson found Oliver on a fourth-down check-down route. Oliver scampered past the defense for a seven-yard score.

Senior Cameron Lee was the recipient of one of quarterback Mikey Gibson’s three passing TDs. Photo by Tyler Francke.

Canby would regain possession after sophomore Parker Ackerman recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff. The methodical Cougs would run six consecutive times before Oliver sprinted nine yards for his second rushing touchdown and third overall score.

Oliver’s performance impressed coaches and players alike, including his fellow backfield mate in Konold.

“Having another dynamic back is great,” said Konold. “The defense can’t count on only one of us to be the go-to guy.”

Photo by Tyler Francke.

Canby’s performance Saturday night was a master class in offensive efficiency, with the Cougars scoring six touchdowns in their first seven drives. One final North Salem touchdown in the waning minutes made the final score 42-13 in favor of the hometown Cougars.

Gibson went 11-15 for 224 yards, with three touchdowns and no interceptions, in one of the finest performances of his Canby football career. On the ground, Oliver finished with 92 yards rushing and three touchdowns (one receiving), while Konold added 71 yards and a score.

“We came out strong tonight in all four quarters and didn’t let up,” said Konold. “It was a great team win and everyone worked hard.”

Photo by Tyler Francke.

The win vaults Canby’s record to 2-1 overall and 1-0 in league play. After two consecutive home games, the Cougs will make the one-hour trek to St. Helens for a Friday game.

The Lions have only played in one game this season (a 28-6 victory over La Salle Prep) and had to forfeit their last matchup against Hillsboro. Nonetheless, coach Joyce and his squad are ready for the opportunity to put together another full-effort game.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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