Season opens at home Aug. 30 against Sprague

by: JOSH KULLA / FILE - Derek Sunkle (right) and the Wilsonville football team will open their season Aug. 30 at home against Salem-Sprague, a Class 6A quarterfinalist last year.With the Wilsonville football team’s first game just days away, here’s a team-by-team glance at the 2013 schedule.

The Wildcats’ nonleague slate includes their Aug. 30 opener against Class 6A quarterfinalist Salem-Sprague and a road test Sept. 27 at Bend-Mountain View, which knocked them out of the playoffs last year.

Sherwood, which won the Northwest Oregon Conference title last season, is the defending Class 5A champion and returns as a contender once again. Wilsonville’s rivalry meeting is set for Oct. 11 in Sherwood.

Meanwhile, four of the eight programs in the NWOC — Milwaukie, Parkrose, Sandy and St. Helens — have new head coaches this year.

“There are a lot of question marks, but I believe our league will be one of the tougher ones in the state again,” Wildcats coach Adam Guenther said.

vs. SPRAGUE (Aug. 30)

Coach: Jay Minyard

Last year: 10-2 (4-1 in the Central Valley Conference); lost to Jesuit in the Class 6A quarterfinals

Key fact: Overcame a halftime deficit to defeat Wilsonville 30-20 in last season’s opener

Outlook: The Olympians are looking to build on a stellar 2012 campaign under coach Jay Minyard, whose team reached the 35-point benchmark eight times last year. Key players include senior defensive end Alec Burns and senior quarterback Caleb Burris.

at St. Helens (Sept. 6)

Coach: Jared Phillips

Last year: 1-8 (0-7 in the Northwest Oregon Conference); no playoffs

Key fact: Only win last year came against Portland-Cleveland in its season opener, 36-22

Outlook: The Lions struggled last season, going winless in league play, but they enter the 2013 campaign in a new era. Jared Phillips has taken the head coaching job at St. Helens and replaced John England, who resigned after a decade at the helm.

vs. PARKROSE (Sept. 13)

Coach: Maurice France

Last year: 4-6 (2-5 in the Northwest Oregon Conference); lost in the Class 5A play-in round

Key fact: Returns with three of its four all-league honorees from last year’s roster

Outlook: The Broncos head into the 2013 season with a new coach in Maurice France, who replaces five-year helmsman Tim Price. But they boast several returning standouts in senior guard Josh Bradford, junior cornerback Andre Johnson and junior receiver Michael Hurlic.

at Putnam (Sept. 20)

Coach: Brad Lewman

Last year: 5-6 (4-3 in the Northwest Oregon Conference); lost in the Class 5A first round

Key fact: Lost first-team all-league receiver Deshawn Stephens to graduation

Outlook: All-conference linebackers Nick Edwards, Austin Snyder and Brandon McCuin will aim to anchor the defense for the Kingsmen, who will face Hermiston and Crescent Valley before beginning their league slate Sept. 13 at Sandy.

at Mountain View (Sept. 27)

Coach: Brian Crum

Last year: 7-5 (2-1 in the Intermountain Conference)

Key fact: Defeated Wilsonville in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs last year after losing to the Wildcats in a nonconference meeting

Outlook: There always seems to be plenty of talent at Bend-Mountain View, which won a state title in 2011. This year’s group features several key returning seniors in lineman Austin Phillips, linebacker Ben Klein, receiver Jace Johns and running back Keenan Springer.

vs. MILWAUKIE (Oct. 4)

Coach: Jeffrey Thomas

Last year: 7-3 (5-2 in the Northwest Oregon Conference); lost in the Class 5A play-in round

Key fact: Has gone 16-46 over the last seven seasons

Outlook: The Mustangs are coming off their first winning season since 1991, and they’ll try to build on that success with first-year coach Jeffrey Thomas, a former Portland State player who was Milwaukie’s offensive coordinator in 2012. The school’s defensive coordinator will be former Parkrose Tim Price, who played with Thomas at PSU.

at Sherwood (Oct. 11)

Coach: Greg Lawrence

Last year: 13-0 (7-0 in the Northwest Oregon Conference); won the Class 5A title

Key fact: Has captured two state championships in the last three seasons

Outlook: A perennial powerhouse that has owned its rivalry series with Wilsonville in recent years, Sherwood has only one loss in its last 40 games. The Bowmen will be led by quarterback Kevin Larkin, running backs Keegan Lawrence and Mickey Schaefer and linebackers Jake Reimer and Scott Skurdahl.

vs. LIBERTY (Oct. 18)

Coach: Eric Mahlum

Last year: 1-8 (1-6 in the Northwest Oregon Conference); no playoffs

Key fact: Has never won a playoff game in program history

Outlook: Under sixth-year coach Eric Mahlum, the Falcons are striving for their third playoff appearance in four years. Kyle Rose and Matt Langebehn, who suffered season-ending injuries last year, return to bolster a squad that also includes Javier Picard and Zane Chitwood.

vs. SANDY (Oct. 25)

Coach: Joe Polamalu

Last year: 3-7 (3-4 in the Northwest Oregon Conference); lost in the Class 5A play-in round

Key fact: Has not won a playoff game since 1998

Outlook: Joe Polamalu, a cousin of Pittsburgh Steelers star Troy Polamalu and a former coach at Winston-Douglas, takes the helm for the Pioneers in place of Greg Barton. Without graduated quarterback Justin Adams, Sandy will vie for its first winning season since 2004.

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