The Wilsonville Wildcats have got a good thing going. Head coach Adam Guenther has done an outstanding job of building the program from top to bottom. The Wildcats head into the playoffs with a (7-2) record with both losses coming to top 10 teams by a touchdown or less (#2 Sherwood, #7 Lebanon). The 4th ranked Wildcats know that they can play with anybody, but will have a tough road ahead starting with a tough first round game at #8 Corvallis.
You can expect some seniors and a very impressive junior group to be the foundation for their playoff venture. Jayden Cooper (5-10 165 Sr. SB/CB) and Sione Kauhi (6-6 235 Sr TE/DE) are two of the top seniors in the state and have played like it. Cooper is an Offensive Player of the Year candidate and lead the state in interceptions as a junior (9). He has accumulated almost 1200 all purpose yards and 13 total touchdowns and is threat to take it to the house anytime he touches the ball. They have stopped throwing to his side so his interceptions are down which is a testament to his defensive abilitiy.
Kauhi is big kid that can run and is considered one of the top TE’s in the state. He was an all league athlete on both sides of the ball last season and is legit D1aa-D2 prospect that should play a big role in the playoffs. On the year he has 240 yards receiving and 4 Td’s with his biggest game coming last week against Wilson hauling in 73 yards on 5 catches. His size alone makes him a viable threat to opponents, as he can catch most anything thrown his way and also provide a very disruptive rush coming off the end.
The Junior class at Wilsonville has people excited. Tanner Shipley (6-2 190 Jr RB/S), Johnny Ragin (6-3 210 Jr FB/LB), Nick Highberger (6-2 180 Jr S/QB), and Ryan Walsh (5-11 165 Jr RB) give the Wildcats a host of athletes that can all get in the endzone. Shipley has broken the schools single game rushing record twice (269, 284) in the last month filling in for the injured Walsh. He is now leading the team in touchdowns (14) and interceptions (4) while amassing 937 yards on the ground on 10.2 yards per carry. He should be considered one of the top juniors in the state. His relation to the NFL’s Jordan Shipley doesn’t hurt when being courted by scouts.
Ragin more than just looks the part, he’s a quality athlete that ranks in the top 50 for his class and had a very successful camp and combine season over the spring and summer. He possesses the size and speed to play at the next level so it will be interesting to see what side of the ball he ends up playing. Going into this weeks game Ragin says “We are feeling really good about this week and everybody knows what’s on the line, we’re ready to get the W”. He has rushed for 319 yards and 3 Tds and also been a leader on D.
Highberger is a kid that has started since his freshman season at safety, and also recently filled in as the starting quarterback. He threw 3 touchdowns on 9 of 13 passing last week in his first significant time of the year. He is ranked as one of the top defensive backs in the state for his class and has 2 Ints’ and 3 Pass deflections.
Ryan Walsh is the other running back that went down with an injury in week 7. He was one of the state leaders in rushing before the injury, averaging 8.6 ypc and scoring 5 Tds. Both him and Shipley give the Wildcats maybe the top 1-2 punch in the state (5a) coming out of the backfield when healthy.
With multiple returning all league kids on the line (Curran Gahan 6-4 255 Sr, Nathan Harms 6-2 270 Sr, Andrew Walls 6-4 285 Sr) they have a chance to make a run. They have shown they can play with anybody and no one questions the athletes on their roster. They will open with Corvallis, but then have a brutal playoff schedule potentially playing Marist, Mt View and Sherwood in that order. Regardless the Wildcats are a team that are just getting better and have an extremely bright future. We will continue to follow this 5a power and wish them the best moving forward.