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Football: Noah Kyllo erupts for 350-plus rushing yards in Canby's 35-14 win over West Linn

The senior takes 44 carries and breaks the school single-game rushing record to lead the Cougars, who dismantle the Lions without a single pass completion.


by: JEFF GOODMAN - Noah Kyllo took 44 carries for an unofficial 363 yards and two touchdowns as the Canby football team handled West Linn 35-14 at home Oct. 18.Noah Kyllo wasn’t expecting to take 44 carries. He wasn’t even supposed to be the Canby football team’s primary running back this season.

But with the rash of injuries dealt to the Cougars this season, the senior knew he’d have to start shouldering a bigger load on offense.

“I never thought I would run here,” he said after breaking the school’s single-game rushing record with an unofficial total of 363 yards and leading Canby to a 35-14 dismantling of West Linn at home Oct. 18. “So it was great to get one of my last games in and have it go pretty well.

“I’ve gotta give all the credit to the line. They did all the work for me, and I just ran the ball. I can’t believe how great the line played.

“We just did what was working, and it was working every time. I was getting less and less tired on every carry in the second half. It was great.”

Kyllo, who entered the game with 266 rushing yards in five games this season, scored two touchdowns to boost the Cougars on a night when they didn’t complete a single pass.

Canby (4-4, 2-2 in the Three Rivers League), despite all of its health woes, managed to snap its two-game losing streak and pulled into a four-way tie for second place in the conference standings with Clackamas, Lakeridge and Lake Oswego. It hosts Clackamas (6-2, 2-2) in a pivotal regular-season finale at 7 p.m. Oct. 25.

The Cougars enter that game after defeating West Linn for the second-straight season and the third time in four years, adding to their 36-35 triumph in 2010 and their 38-7 rout last season.

Even without injured backs Dominic Shorter, Jace Cates, Devon Fortier and Sam Bodine, they ran roughshod over the Lions to the tune of a season-high 472 rushing yards.

Over the last several decades, Canby has become well-known for distributing the ball to a handful of running backs in its long-used wing-T offense. Rarely do its ball-carriers rack up eye-popping individual numbers. Last year, for example, three players each had more than 500 but fewer than 600 rushing yards.

“But our stable is depleted,” said fourth-year head coach Mike Vaught, who has been a part of the program for more than 20 years. “Noah gets all the stats, but it was all those guys out there.

“We knew all week that we had to go back to what we do and run the ball. It was a team effort like none we’ve had in a long time. It was incredible.”

In recent losses to Lake Oswego and Lakeridge, players were still adjusting to new positions in the wake of injuries to Bodine, Shorter, Cates and lineman Craig Fobert.

The series of setbacks challenged Vaught to rethink and revamp his team’s preparation entering the game against West Linn.

“It was like starting over again,” he said. “We just weren’t blocking the right people. As a coach, it’s your responsibility to get those guys knowing where they’re going. So this week we slowed everything down. We spent a lot of time walking through, looking at film, making them look at film of practice. It’s more how you start the season, but we went back to that and made sure these guys knew who they were gonna block. We put a lot more effort into it, and the kids put more thought into it. Once you get the confidence where you know where you’re going and who you’re blocking, it works pretty well.”

His offense worked like a machine against the Lions (3-5, 1-3), who held Lake Oswego to three points earlier this season to snap the juggernaut’s league winning streak at 48 games.

Leading by 14 points early in the fourth quarter, the Cougars capped a methodical run-only drive on senior quarterback Austin Taylor’s 1-yard keeper to take a 35-14 lead with 5:06 remaining and seal their first victory since Sept. 27.

The possession included eight plays for Kyllo, who leveled West Linn sophomore Dean Swanson on a powerful run to the outside with about 7:30 left to play.

“Unreal,” said senior A.J. Schlatter, who played key roles on both sides of the ball for Canby. “He did an amazing job. He ran the ball so hard. Our line did a great job blocking up front, and he just kept pounding the ball. We wanted to run the ball over everyone this year, and I think we figured out how to do it. We did a really good job up front. We worked really hard all summer, all week, all season, and it’s just now paying off.”

After a first quarter that featured four fumbles in the first four minutes, the Cougars scored three touchdowns in the second quarter to take a commanding 21-0 lead.

Taylor scampered to the right corner of the end zone on a 9-yard run with 11:53 left to cap a five-play, 50-yard drive that featured 19- and 17-yard runs by Kyllo.

Following a fumble recovery by Tony Kraus that electrified Canby’s sideline, Kyllo powered 4 yards for his first touchdown to finish a seven-play, 33-yard drive with 7:08 remaining.

Kyllo broke free on the Cougars’ next possession for his highlight of the night, a crafty 55-yard scamper with 2:38 to play before halftime.

Kyllo carved up the Lions for 222 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries — in the first half.

“They knew it was coming,” Kyllo said. “But I think we were so jacked up on every single run, so we kept doing it and they couldn’t find a way to stop it. It was a great feeling being able to do that and get five or 10 yards every single play.”

Kyllo received the ball on two-thirds of his team’s running plays. Taylor, who attempted just two passes, had 42 rushing yards and three touchdowns on nine carries. Cole Thompson rushed nine times for 56 yards.

Keltin Boykin took four carries for 11 yards and also played a key role in Canby’s success as a fullback.

“He was outstanding,” Vaught said of the North Marion transfer. “He was the lead blocker on 98 percent of those yards that Noah got.”

Meanwhile, the Cougars built on a spirited defensive effort in their loss to Lakeridge with several clutch stops. West Linn’s first five possessions read like this: fumble, fumble, punt, fumble, punt.

Canby’s only major breakdown came late in the second quarter, when Lions quarterback Hayden Coppedge connected with wide-open receiver Cam Schmitz for a 55-yard touchdown pass.

West Linn’s other touchdown came on a 9-yard pass from Coppedge to Ty Cleland early in the fourth quarter.

The Cougars put consistent pressure on Coppedge.

“Our D-line did a great job up front, our DBs made sure everyone was covered,” Schlatter said. “Everyone was doing their job, and that allows other players to come up with big plays.”

The defense solidified a win for Canby on Kyllo’s historic night.

Kyllo, a talented sprinter who was a member of the short relay squad that broke a school record during track season last spring, did not have a single carry on the gridiron last year.

But despite his success against the Lions, Vaught acknowledged his team will likely need to diversify its offense to make a run in the postseason. The Cougars have lost in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs three years in a row.

“We will have to open up to give ourselves some more options,” Vaught said. “The farther you go, the better the teams are, and you usually can’t just line it up and run. But we did it to a really good West Linn team. ... We’re just hoping this continues.”

***

AT A GLANCE

Canby 35, West Linn 14

Oct. 18 at Cougar Stadium

1 2 3 4 F

West Linn 0 7 0 7 14

Canby 0 21 7 7 35

Second quarter

C — (11:53) Austin Taylor 9 run (Alejandro Sandoval kick)

C — (7:08) Noah Kyllo 4 run (Sandoval kick)

C — (2:38) Kyllo 55 run (Sandoval kick)

WL — (1:58) Cam Schmitz 55 pass from Hayden Coppedge (Ben Jacobs kick)

Third quarter

C — (4:31) Taylor 1 run (Sandoval kick)

Fourth quarter

WL — (11:55) Ty Cleland 9 pass from Coppedge (Jacobs kick)

C — (5:06) Taylor 1 run (Sandoval kick)



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