Wilsonville Wallops Short-Handed Cougars in Last League Game

Welcome to 5A. That appeared to be the message in Wilsonville Friday night, as the perennial powerhouse Wildcats (5-0) battered a banged-up Canby squad limping into the home stretch of their Covid-shortened football season, 37-14.

Playing without offensive catalyst Chance Miller and with the hobbled Mikey Gibson — who played through injury, taking about half of the snaps at quarterback until late in the third — the Cougs (3-2) showed heart throughout the game, but the keenly oiled offensive machine led by Wilsonville’s Jayce Knapp and his five passing touchdowns was too much for short-handed Canby.

Photo by Tyler Francke.

One of the most heartbreaking sequences came in the second quarter, with the Cougars trailing 14-0, when senior workhorse Tyler Mead burst through the wall of Wilsonville defenders and outran them downfield for a 52-yard score.

It felt like a game again — for all of 13 seconds of game time — until the Wildcats answered back on the very next offensive sequence with a long pass completion in the end zone.

Photo by Tyler Francke.

Mead himself was lost to injury midway through the game.

Wilsonville remained solidly in control throughout. Despite breakthroughs by Canby here and there, the home team’s victory on Senior Night was never seriously in doubt.

Photo by Tyler Francke.

Canby’s final touchdown was a bright point, when junior backup quarterback Cam Lee — seeing his first snaps of the season — faked out the entire stadium on a mimed handoff to senior Jackson Valdrow before sprinting 78 yards for the score.

“Obviously, it was a tough night that got tougher as it went on,” Canby head coach Jimmy Joyce said. “Sadly, injuries are part of the game.”

Photo by Tyler Francke.

Joyce had kind words for the undefeated Wildcats, who would be favorites for the 5A state title this year had the playoffs not been canceled due to the coronavirus.

“They are a very well-coached team,” Joyce said. “They came out last night with great intensity a played a near-perfect game.”

Photo by Tyler Francke.

While admitting he was disappointed in the outcome, he said he was impressed in how many of the less heralded members of the team stepped up when called upon, including Lee, Zack Markell, Davis Hagen and Nate Bailey.

Canby’s last game of the season will be on the road April 9 at Crater High School in southern Oregon.

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