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No. 3 Lions can finally eclipse Wilsonville

St. Helens last beat the 10th-ranked Northwest Oregon Conference rival Wildcats in 2009

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JOHN BREWINGTON - Seniors Colton Albertson (74), Zach Gadbois (center), Colton Beisley (23), Brayden Garver (55), Dylan Brady (36) and the Class 5A No. 3 Lions look to beat 10th-ranked Northwest Oregon Conference rival Wilsonville for the first time in seven years.SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JOHN BREWINGTON - Senior tight end Colton Beisley (23) and the Lions' second-best Class 5A offense hit the road to take on Wilsonville's third-ranked defense.It's a perfect chance to steal the Northwest Oregon Conference spotlight.

The Lions (3-0 overall, 1-0 Northwest Oregon) rank third in Class 5A and head to No. 10 conference rival Wilsonville for a 7 p.m. showdown on Friday.

The Wildcats (3-0, 1-0), back from the state semifinals, are out for the Northwest Oregon championship after first-place Liberty (Hillsboro) ascended to Class 6A.

St. Helens, which reached the first round, has not beaten Wilsonville since 2009 and has lost the last six meetings by an average score of 44-24, will have something to say about it.

"We're hungry for a win," said Lions senior running back Haidon Allen, who scored three times against fourth-ranked Milwaukie last week.

Wilsonville and 6-foot, 3-inch all-state senior quarterback Connor Neville, a returning co-Northwest Oregon Player of the Year, beat Hillsboro 44-14 last week after trouncing Class 6A Franklin (Portland) 70-36 on the road.

Class 6A South Medford led Wilsonville 57-13 at halftime and won 73-34 in the season opener, but forfeited as an academically ineligible Panther participated.

St. Helens is second in Class 5A scoring averages with 47 points for and 16 points against behind No. 8 Eagle Point (50 for, four against).

Levi Norton has thrown for 406 yards, five touchdowns and an interception through three weeks. Dylan Brady leads with five touchdown runs.

"We want to win it just like any other game," said Norton, a senior. "We never think about the opponent because it doesn't matter who we play, the game will be dictated by our own mistakes."

Myles Terry is on the rebound from a torn labrum (the rubbery tissue that helps to keep the ball of the shoulder joint in place) suffered in the Seven-Mile War and looks to return next week at home against Hillsboro.

The Wildcats are tied for eighth in average points for (38) and third in average points against (17).

Neville threw for 338 yards and five touchdowns against the Spartans, and has 1,082 yards, 15 touchdowns, six interceptions and two rushing scores.

Harrison Steiger, a 6-foot-3 all-state senior wide receiver, has reeled in 14 catches for 256 yards and seven touchdowns. Jonny Neville — a 6-foot-5 all-conference senior wideout — has 21 grabs for 398 yards and four scores, and all-conference senior running back Andrew Merrick has taken 11 passes for 215 yards for three trips to the end zone.

Cooper Mootz, a sophomore running back, has 208 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries.

Kaden Floyd, a 6-foot-1 linebacker, leads the defense with 39 tackles. Junior defensive end Draco Bynum (6-foot-5) and senior defensive back Parker Shaw (6-foot-1) have 20 and 15, respectively.

Bynum is the sack leader with four, followed by 6-foot-5 junior defensive lineman Aidan Burkhead (6-foot-5) and junior defensive lineman Carson Hull (6-foot-2) with two each.

Junior defensive back Kevin Burke and senior defensive back Tharren Blood have an interception apiece.

All-state junior kicker Austin Kness has made one of four field goals.

"There is a lot of talent on both teams," St. Helens coach Cory Young said. "I would expect four quarters of exciting football."

Northwest Oregon Conference

League Overall PF PA Rank

St. Helens 1-0 3-0 142 47 3

Wilsonville 1-0 3-0 115 50 10

Putnam 1-0 2-1 104 87 4

Sandy 1-0 1-2 104 75 16

La Salle Prep 0-1 2-1 125 96 12

Milwaukie 0-1 2-1 78 72 9

Parkrose 0-1 1-2 53 112 29

Hillsboro 0-1 0-3 67 100 22

Class 5A

League Overall PF PA Rank

Dallas 1-0 3-0 130 78 1

Summit 1-0 2-1 104 80 2

St. Helens 1-0 3-0 142 47 3

Putnam 1-0 2-1 104 87 4

Lebanon 1-0 3-0 115 74 5

Bend 1-0 3-0 118 93 6

Hermiston 1-0 1-2 75 97 7

Eagle Point 1-0 3-0 149 12 8

Milwaukie 0-1 2-1 78 72 9

Wilsonville 1-0 3-0 115 50 10