Wildcats fail on two-point conversion in first setback of season

by: JOSH KULLA - Wilsonville running back Derek Sunkle can't quite believe he didn't grab the Wildcats' last two-point conversion attempt in a 28-26 double-overtime loss Friday at Rex Putnam High.MILWAUKIE — After watching his team come up short in heartbreaking fashion against Putnam, Wilsonville football coach Adam Guenther was prepared for a different, more-agitating activity.

“Now we get to play the ‘What if?’ game,” he said.

He and the Wildcats could only ponder hypothetically Friday night after falling 28-26 to the Kingsmen in a double-overtime thriller on the road, their perfect record going down with them.

Needing a two-point conversion to force a third extra period, they were officially doomed when a ball thrown to senior Derek Sunkle fell to the turf after being bobbled in the end zone.

Instead of starting its season with four-straight victories for the first time since 2010, Wilsonville (3-1, 2-1 in the Northwest Oregon Conference) lost to Putnam for the first time in program history and slid to 3-1 in the all-time series.

by: JOSH KULLA - Putnam senior John Bradley (4) scored a pair of overtime touchdowns Friday in a 28-26 win over visiting Wilsonville. The Kingsmen (1-3, 1-1), meanwhile, snatched their first win of the season after suffering lopsided losses at the hands of Hermiston, Crescent Valley and Sandy in their first three games.

Did the Wildcats underestimate an opponent that entered the conference matchup with a winless record?

“Absolutely — despite many warnings,” Guenther said. “They are better than their record. They played a heck of a game and deserved to win.”

Risk yielded glorious reward for the Kingsmen in the second overtime. After turning a screen pass into a 20-yard touchdown, they extended their lead to 28-20 on a trick play that started in extra-point formation and ended with a successful conversion pass by quarterback Josey Swain.

“I probably would’ve done the same thing,” Guenther said. “You’re at home. Go for the win.”

by: JOSH KULLA - Colin Etcheberry crosses the goal line for Wilsonville's second overtime touchdown in a 28-26 double-overtime loss to Putnam. Wilsonville still had a chance to respond. On 3rd-and-14 from the 29-yard line, quarterback Chase Eisenbrandt connected with Brandon Chao for a 23-yard gain. Running back Colin Etcheberry then rumbled into the end zone for a 6-yard score.

On the ensuing conversion attempt, Sunkle veered towards the sideline in motion, curled into the end zone and found an opening but couldn’t reel in the potentially game-tying pass.

The Wildcats had possession to start the first overtime, scoring with Sunkle’s 22-yard run on their second play and adding a kick by senior Harry England to take a 20-13 lead.

Putnam responded on its first play, engineering a 25-yard score on a screen pass to the right and tying the game on Bella Geist’s extra point.

by: JOSH KULLA - Wilsonville defensive back Victor Oporta goes after Putnam receiver Friday in the Wildcats' 28-26 double overtime loss on the road. The Cats fall to 3-1 on the year, 1-1 in Northwest Oregon Conference play. “Our defense played great, but they got burned by two plays in overtime,” Guenther said. “And it was the exact same play.”

It seemed as though Wilsonville would be able to parlay its 13-10 fourth-quarter lead into a victory. But the Kingsmen forced a punt, drove downfield in the final 2 minutes of regulation and earned overtime when Geist’s 35-yard field-goal cleared the crossbar by a few inches as time expired.

“Our guys will rally — I’m not too worried about that,” Guenther said. “One loss will not define a season. It might inspire the team for the rest of the season. This is one that could’ve gone either way.

“Holy cow. If you paid your five dollars tonight, you got your money’s worth.”by: JOSH KULLA - Derek Sunkle scored a pair of touchdowns Friday, but it wasn't quite enough in a 28-26 double-overtime loss at Rex Putnam High.

by: JOSH KULLA - Wilsonville linebacker Jake Jennings celebrates a sack Friday in the Cats' 28-26 loss at Rex Putnam.

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