WVHS football season recap


Greg Artman

Team spirit is always lifted when the Wildcats fly their flag before a game.

The Wildcats of Wilsonville had a very successful season. It unfortunately came to an end in the semi-final round but it was still a great year for the boys. They played each game with 100% effort, and came out on top almost every time. With strong players of all ages, a supportive coach, and a large student section cheering them on, the Wildcats had a strong winning streak that was only cut short in their last game. Here’s a quick recap of how the year went. 

The Wildcats began their season-long winning streak by beating Lebanon 42-19. This was a good opening matchup to start the year as both teams ended up making the playoffs. It was a well-balanced attack for the Cats, with senior quarterback Chase Hix throwing for 192 yards and 2 touchdowns with a bunch of Wildcats combining for 189 yards rushing. It was the last-first home game for the seniors and they gave their fans something to cheer about as Randall Stadium was rocking that night. 

The very next week, the Cats had a big test. They travelled four hours east to play Pendleton in a tough non-conference game. This was a battle. It was a back and forth game but in the end, the Cats pulled away for a 35-19 W to reach 2-0 so far in the year. Junior receiver Cooper Hiday had 8 catches for 232 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 75 yard bomb to extend the Cats lead. “We saw they were in man coverage so I was able to use my speed in one on ones to get open,” mentioned Hiday. It was a nice, long ride home. 

A rivalry game was next up for the Cats as they travelled to Scappoose. The Cats got out to a quick 28-0 lead in the first, but Scappoose wasn’t going to go down without a fight. They clawed back in, getting as close as 10 points and one time. But the Wildcat offense was too much for Scappoose as the Cats won again, this time by a score of 52-41. Led by the offensive line and a four-headed monster at running back, they averaged 8.2 yards per carry en route to dominating the second half. This win slingshot Wilsonville into first place for 5A teams.

Senior night for the Cats came and went as they dominated Hillsboro 41-7. A nice night to honor the seniors was made even more nice by Wilsonville’s performance. Every aspect of the game was completely one-sided. On the first play for Hillsboro, the Cats forced a fumble, which led to Brock Arntson, an offensive lineman, to score a rushing touchdown. At halftime, it was 41-0, so it was a good chance to get the second stringers some more playing time. To open the third quarter, Wilsonville put senior offensive lineman, Nathan Barr, back to receive the kickoff. And he got 12 yards! It was a good tune-up game as they looked ahead to rivalry week next week. 

The biggest game of the Cats regular season came as the last one. They travelled over the Willamette river for a matchup for the NWOC championship. Both schools’ student sections were incredible. In a game where the Wildcats typically use their offense to dominate teams, it was their defense that was steller. Canby hadn’t been shutout in a quarter since week 2, and the Cats held them scoreless for 3 quarters. There was some trickery from the Wildcat offense when they scored a touchdown on a fake field goal pass from Jack Johnson to Judah Lesh. Entering the third quarter, the Cats led 31-0, and the Wilsonville student section was as loud, if not louder, than Canby’s. The Cats left NWOC as champions, and entered the playoffs as the number one team in 5A. 

Playoffs had begun and the Cats drew Churchill as their opening game. Churchill came in as the number 16 seed, but on the opening drive, they marched 80 yards and scored, marking the first time the Cats trailed all year. At halftime, the Cats were down 14-7. But a tale of two halves it was. The Cats went on a scoring rampage, scoring 14 in the third and 21 in the fourth, all unanswered, to win it 42-14. Chase Hix threw for 502 yards and 5 touchdowns. Senior receiver Kellen Hartford hauled in 156 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 74 yarder on the first play of the second offensive drive. “The line did a great job holding off their strong d-line and receivers ran great routes to open up the field,” says Hartford. “We really opened up opportunities with the play calling as well.”  Round one ended in victory and it was time for a new challenge. 

Another tough test came to town as the Cats played host to Hood River Valley. The Eagles’ offense was considered one of the best in 5A,but the Cats proved why their defense is also one of the best in the as they shut it down. Again, the Wildcat offense did more than enough to ensure a one-sided affair as the Cats routed Hood River Valley 42-14. Chase Hix was very efficient, completing 17 of his 22 passes for 333 yards and 4 touchdowns. Junior running back Jacob Ogden led the charge on the ground, rushing for 79 yards and a touchdown. For the seniors, it was their last ever home game at Randall Stadium, so they wanted to make it one to remember. And they did. 

The Wildcats’ season was cut short after a very tough and physical game against a team that hadn’t lost in three years, Thurston. Coming into this game, there was a lot of talk about who would prevail, the Cats powerful offense or Thurston’s strong defense. And unfortunately for the Cats, it was Thurston’s defense that won the battle. Thurston forced 6 Wildcat turnovers en route to a 34-14 victory. 

The season was shorter than what the Cats hoped for, and the players were disappointed that they didn’t get a chance to play for the championship, but it was still a very exciting year for Wilsonville. On this team, only 3 players on the 38 man roster had even started a varsity game before. There were questions about what this team could do, and even some doubt. But the Cats went out strong, and proved that even with only three returning starters, they were one of the best teams in the state.