The Cougars advance to the second round to face Beaverton, which topped Sprague in overtime.

by: JEFF GOODMAN - Canby senior Dominic Shorter rushed nine times for 80 yards and two touchdowns in his return to the backfield Nov. 8 in the first round of the playoffs against Newberg. Shorter missed several weeks with a broken bone in his left foot.As the Canby football team headed to the locker room at halftime, it might as well have marched straight into the second round.

There were still two quarters to play, of course, but the Cougars rendered them mostly meaningless.

Bolstered by the return of a few previously injured players, they surged past Newberg with a commanding 35-7 victory in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs Nov. 8 at Cougar Stadium.

“These guys made it look easy in the first half,” said Canby coach Mike Vaught, whose team will host Beaverton in the second round at 7 p.m. Nov. 15. “But really, they put so much hard work in over the offseason, in practice and in the weight room, and that hard work made this game look easy.”

The dominant first half helped 12th-seeded Canby (5-5) defeat the Tigers for the sixth-straight time in the series, extending a streak that began in 2005.

The Cougars also delivered a message to Newberg, which was looking for its first playoff win since 2000 in its first playoff appearance since 2009. The schools will rekindle their history in earnest when the Tigers join the expanded Three Rivers League next year.

“It was good to beat them and let them know, ‘Hey, you’re coming into our league, and this is what you have to look forward to,’” Vaught said.

After avoiding the play-in round and earning a bye week, Canby was as healthy as it’s been in weeks. It showed against No. 21 Newberg (5-5).

Running back Dominic Shorter, who broke a bone in his left foot in the Cougars’ regular-season opener, didn’t miss a beat in his return to the backfield. The senior finished with 80 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries.

“It was the greatest feeling ever,” Shorter said. “I felt terrible those four or five games, sitting on the sideline the whole time. Being out here felt great.

“We knew we were a run-heavy team, and we’ve come together. It’s looking good. We knew they had a strong line up front, but I think we handled them pretty good. We just figured, we’re still gonna run over the top of them.”

Shorter broke free for a highlight-reel touchdown midway through the first quarter, darting across the field on a clever cutback to finish a 46-yard run.

It was the first of four touchdowns for Canby in an opening half in which it outscored the Tigers 28-0. With an offensive front that owned the line of scrimmage, the Cougars amassed 291 yards of offense in the first two quarters — all on the ground.

“They were one of the toughest (lines) we’ve seen — them and Oregon City, probably — but we just had to keep fighting,” senior lineman Zach Kraus said. “The team that keeps it moving and sticks to the basics will win.”

Canby extended its lead on short touchdown runs by senior running back Noah Kyllo (129 yards on 13 carries), Shorter and senior quarterback Austin Taylor, taking advantage of numerous Newberg mistakes.

With a 14-0 lead in the second quarter, the Cougars recovered their own punt in Tigers territory and came within a few feet of the goal line on a scramble by Taylor. Shorter capped the six-play drive with a 1-yard run.

Later in the quarter, Newberg fumbled on third-and-long deep in its own territory. Canby capitalized on a 4-yard keeper by Taylor.

The Tigers started the second half with their best possession of the game, capping a 78-yard drive on junior by Matt McCarthy’s 1-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter.

But the Cougars quashed any chances of a potential comeback with a touchdown on their ensuing drive.

After senior tight end A.J. Schlatter cut out towards the sideline, corralled a pass from Taylor and charged upfield for a 70-yard gain on the team’s second throw of the game, Taylor scored on a 1-yard keeper.

Senior kicker Alejandro Sandoval converted his fifth extra point to give Canby a 35-7 lead with 4:43 to play in the third quarter.

Thanks to a lockdown defensive effort against Newberg’s veer option, the Cougars held an opponent to single-digit points for the first time all season.

They welcomed the return of junior linebacker Jace Cates, who sustained a leg injury against Lake Oswego, and they received a standout performance from junior safety Josh Payne (two interceptions).

Payne picked off Tigers quarterback Grayson Oviatt in the waning moments of the first half, and he reeled in his second interception late in the third quarter.

“My teammates all did their job — I just did mine,” Payne said. “We put the pressure on them.”

With 3:37 left in the game, Canby’s student section — led by Timmy Johnson, who has missed his entire senior season to recover from heart surgery — broke out in its familiar “I believe that we will win!” chant.

On the sideline, injured linebacker Sam Bodine raised his crutches in the air and slapped them together to the rhythm of the chant. Keltin Boykin, who tweaked his ankle early in the game, lifted his crutches and followed suit.

At least for one more game, the Cougars still have a beat.

For updates, follow Jeff Goodman on Twitter.




1 2 3 4 F

Newberg 0 0 7 0 — 7

Canby 14 14 7 0 — 35

First quarter

C — (7:36) Dominic Shorter 46 run (Alejandro Sandoval kick)

C — (4:51) Noah Kyllo 1 run (Sandoval kick)

Second quarter

C — (8:22) Shorter 1 run (Sandoval kick)

C — (4:36) Taylor 4 run (Sandoval kick)

Third quarter

N — (6:57) Matt McCarthy 1 run (Grayson Oviatt kick)

C — (4:43) Taylor 1 run (Sandoval kick)

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