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Pioneers prepare for No. 5 Wilsonville

Confidence good heading into Friday


by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: JULI CHURCHILL - Sandy quarterback Justin Adams rushed for five touchdowns and passed for one in an 84-42 loss to the Sherwood Bowmen last Friday.

The Sandy Pioneers will conclude the regular season against the No. 5 Wilsonville Wildcats this Friday at Sandy High School. The Pioneers are coming off a 42-point loss to No. 1 Sherwood, in which the Bowmen rushed for the nation’s fourth most yards ever in a high school football game (756).

But despite the astronomical amount of yards allowed, Sandy coach Greg Barton says his team’s confidence is the best it’s even been, as it prepares for the Wildcats.

“It was the first time this year that I’ve seen them give 100 percent the whole game,” he said.

Now, one week after trying to combat the state’s fastest team, the Pioneers will try to handle one of the state’s biggest teams.

Wilsonville has more size than Sherwood and several players receiving college offers. A couple players hearing from D-1 schools are fullback and outside linebacker Johnny Ragin and running back and corner back Tanner Shipley.

“Shipley is the real deal,” says Barton, who adds that Wilsonville has four or five plays that are among the best in the Northwest Oregon Conference. “He is, without question, one of the top players in the entire northwest. He plays all over the field and he’s a guy who is going to be outstanding in college.”

But Barton believes his team might have the opportunity to upset the Wildcats if they rest some starters to prevent injuries before the postseason.

“The thing that they have to be careful about — and I think the coach knows this — is when you’re going into the playoffs like they are, they want to be healthy,” Barton says. “But if they lose some guys, they’re not going to be the same team going into the playoffs.”

And from the sounds of it, there’s only one team Wilsonville wants to put on its radar.

“And I know this for a fact: They desperately want to play Sherwood again,” Barton says. “They just felt like they didn’t put it together. So they have some decisions to make, too.”