The senior's absence will force the Cougars to make several adjustments as they vie for their first win over the Lakers since 1998.

by: KORY MACGREGOR - Noah Kyllo (5) makes a catch Sept. 27 against Oregon City at Cougar Stadium. Without injured senior Sam Bodine, he and the Canby football team will face Lake Oswego on the road at 7 p.m. Oct. 4.Before the start of the season, Sam Bodine flashed a big smile when asked about matchups he was looking forward to.

“I could lie and say I’m taking it one game at a time, but ... Lake Oswego,” he said.

He was likely speaking for many members of the Canby football team, which is pining to defeat the Lakers for the first time since 1998.

Unfortunately for Bodine, he won’t be able to have a direct impact on the outcome of his team’s anticipated road game at 7 p.m. Oct. 4. The conference clash comes a week after he broke his left fibula and ankle on a running play against Oregon City that abruptly ended his high school football career.

As the Cougars press on without the star senior linebacker, they are hoping to snap a six-game series skid that includes two losses to Lake Oswego in the state playoffs — one in the 2002 semifinals and another in the 2007 second round.

Canby (3-2, 1-0 in the Three Rivers League) believes it could have been the team put an end to the Lakers’ sustained run of perfection in conference play. But West Linn earned that distinction Sept. 27, halting Lake Oswego’s league winning streak at 48 games.

Still, the Cougars are looking for revenge against a traditional powerhouse that has outscored them 209-117 in the previous six meetings.

“This is our year,” senior Cole Thompson said. “This is when the giants fall.”

The Lakers (1-4, 0-1), however, don’t look like the giants they’ve been in recent years. The 2011 state champions fell to Jesuit, Central Catholic and Southridge in nonconference play, their only win so far coming against Olympia (Wash.) in a 7-6 decision Sept. 6. They scored just three points in their league-opening loss to West Linn.

Canby has plenty of its own issues with Bodine out of the lineup, of course, but coach Mike Vaught is encouraged after watching his players adjust on the fly in their 20-15 win over Oregon City.

“We had guys play positions they’ve never even played before,” Vaught said. “All of those kids stepped up and did an amazing job.”

Bodine’s void at fullback was filled by Thompson, who had scarce experience at the position before Sept. 27. But he managed to rush nine times for 38 yards against the Pioneers and threw several key blocks to keep the Cougars’ offense churning.

“Austin Taylor and Dominic Shorter basically told (Thompson) what to do on every play,” Vaught said. “He kind of had an idea, but to play like he did without practicing it — it was amazing.”

Canby also has to rethink its approach on offense — it had recently prepared a package that revolved around Bodine, Vaught said.

Bodine’s absence will likely force the Cougars to rely more heavily on their passing attack than they had in nonconference play.

Taylor, who entered the league opener with just 22 total passing attempts in four games, completed six of his 15 passes for 90 yards against Oregon City. He made several quality throws in unfavorable weather conditions but also tallied two interceptions.

“Austin had to throw the ball quite a bit, and he put some balls on the money,” Vaught said. “We’re gonna have to have that now that Sam’s gone. We’re gonna have to change things up a little bit.”

Meanwhile, Canby will likely need big contributions on defense from seniors A.J. Schlatter, Noah Kyllo and Trey Bellmore as well as from juniors Jace Cates and Jake Holbrook, among others. The Cougars have been able to thwart opponents’ rushing schemes this season at least in part because of Bodine’s efforts at linebacker.

“With Sam being hurt, we’re all gonna have to step up,” Schlatter said. “It should be a good challenge.”

Canby went into its conference opener without knowing how it stacked up against other teams in the state. It hadn’t played a close game, taking its lumps against two of the region’s best teams in Tigard and Camas (Wash.) and clobbering two inferior opponents in Keizer-McNary and Portland-Lincoln.

But after topping previously undefeated Oregon City without Bodine, the Cougars were reaffirmed in their belief that they’re a Class 6A contender.

“To be where we are right now, it says a lot,” Vaught said. “We’ve always thought we’re one of the top teams, and we figure we’re in that top 10, but we don’t know how far up we are. Playing Oregon City gave us a better understanding of where we are. Now we’ve gotta come out against Lake Oswego and do that try-to-stay-healthy thing.”



Canby has not defeated Lake Oswego since 1998, losing six-straight meetings entering this week’s league matchup:

Sept. 18, 1998: CANBY 20, Lake Oswego 14

Sept. 17, 1999: LAKE OSWEGO 33, Canby 20

Nov. 29, 2002: Lake Oswego 35, CANBY 28 (semifinals)

Nov. 16, 2007: Lake Oswego 28, CANBY 14 (second round)

Oct. 1, 2010: Lake Oswego 31, CANBY 21

Sept. 30, 2011: LAKE OSWEGO 41, Canby 14

Oct. 5, 2012: Lake Oswego 41, CANBY 20

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