New-look Wilsonville football ready to win again
After graduating starters at 19 of 22 positions last spring, the Wilsonville football team will undoubtedly feature a new look in 2021.
Despite that, the Wildcats — who have won 25 straight games in Northwest Oregon Conference play — plan to be the same old competitive squad again this year.
"We are excited to get going and hopefully have as much of a normal fall season asÂ possible," said Wilsonville coach Adam Guenther. "Our goal is to be competitive week in and week out, stay healthy and make a run deep into the playoffs."
While the Wildcats are basically starting from scratch on offense, Guenther is convinced — and for good reason — that his team can be effective once again.
This year's team will be led by senior quarterback Chase Hix (6-foot-2, 190 pounds) — he started the first two games a year ago before being sidelined by injury — senior wide receiver Jack Johnson (6-0, 175), senior offensive lineman Nick Cooper (6-0, 200), senior offensive lineman Keenan Sanford (6-0, 220), senior wide receiver Donis Demonte (5-11, 190) and three running backs, senior Rochne Beecham (5-10, 190), junior Jacob Ogden (6-0, 195) and sophomore Jay Rummell-West (6-0, 225).
"Our biggest challenge getting the right mix of players in the right positions and then coming together as a team," Guenther said.Â "Like I said, we have good athletes that are simply unproven."
While the Wildcats are still relatively unexperienced on defense, they have a handful of experienced returners who will set the pace in 2021. That group includes senior strong safety Johnson, senior cornerback Connor Green (6-0, 175) and senior linebackers Beecham, Cooper and Demonte.
The real question, Guenther said, is on the front line, where Wilsonville will call on junior Tristan Davis (6-7, 235), junior Ryder McElroy (6-2, 200), senior Brock Arntson (5-11, 200), senior Tim Phelps (6-3, 225) and sophomore Mason Seal (6-0, 200).
"Defensively, we will be fast and looking to continue the tradition of a stingy squad," Guenther said.Â "We attack, gang tackle and swarm to the football.Â … We are expecting that our backfield will lead by taking on leadership roles."
Regardless of the team's graduation losses, Guenther and the Wildcats are confident that 2021 will eventually become another Wilsonville success.
"Our biggest obstacleÂ will be overcoming the departure of so many starting positions, but we will reload, not rebuild," Guenther said.Â "We are looking for those (players) that want to step up and fill the roles of the graduated class and we are looking at everyone. Our team strengths will be speed and knowledge of the game. We have smart young men that put themselves in positions to be successful."
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