Wildcats score season high to snap two-game losing streak

by: GREG ARTMAN - Tyler Carskadon (8) is one of several players in the rotation under center for the Wilsonvnille football team this season. Above, the senior evades pressure in the Wildcats' win at St. Helens.It was far from a blowout when the Wilsonville football left the field at halftime.

Then the third quarter happened.

The Wildcats found balance on offense, exerted pressure on defense and used a dominant 30-point outburst to throttle struggling Milwaukie 51-7 in a league game Oct. 4 at Randall Stadium.

Entering the league clash, Wilsonville had lost two-straight games in the same season for the first time in coach Adam Guenther’s four years at the helm.

His squad responded by notching a season high in offensive production and improving to 4-0 in its all-time series against the Mustangs.

Leading 14-0 at the end of the second quarter, the Wildcats (4-2, 3-1 in the Northwest Oregon Conference) executed 12 near-perfect minutes of football to demoralize Milwaukie (0-6, 0-4). They logged two rushing touchdowns, added one score through the air and also made an impact with their defense, notching a safety and an interception return.

Less than a minute into the second half, Cooper Whittaker managed a sack in the end zone to give the Wildcats two points. The senior linebacker now has 45 tackles and three sacks on the season.

Moments later, sophomore quarterback Elijah Benedick found Micco Mills for a 34-yard passing touchdown to extend Wilsonville’s lead to 23-0. Victor Oporta then left his mark on the quarter with a 32-yard interception return.

Rushing touchdowns by Lane Hull and Benedick wrapped up an explosive quarter for the Wildcats, who held a 44-0 advantage entering the final period.

Harry England made all four of his extra-point attempts in the third quarter as part of his 7-for-7 performance.

Senior running back Derek Sunkle bounced back from his worst statistical game of the season in Wilsonville’s 26-13 loss to Mountain View with a team-high 115 rushing yards on 14 carries against Milwaukie.

He also threw one pass to Benedick to give the Wildcats their first touchdown, a 49-yard play midway through the second quarter.

Benedick has become a steady presence in the pocket for a team that experimented with several athletes under center early in the season.

Three of Guenther’s players had received significant time at quarterback through five games, but none had maintained a steady grasp on the position that was vacated by graduated senior Nick Highberger.

Highberger, who is now on the roster at Bucknell, completed 60.7 percent of his 61 passes while throwing for 858 yards and seven touchdowns in 2012. Wilsonville’s offense topped the 30-point benchmark in all seven of its wins last year.

This season, Wildcats senior Tyler Carskadon has completed 14 of his 38 pass attempts for 123 yards and three touchdowns. Junior Chase Eisenbrandt has gone 11-for-23 with 136 yards, 100 of which came in the team’s double-overtime loss to Putnam.

Benedick was handed the keys to the offense for most of his team’s nonconference loss to Mountain View, connecting on nine of his 21 passes for 142 yards and one touchdown. And he kept the job against the Mustangs, going 5-for-9 with 83 yards and two scores.

Sunkle, the backup to Highberger last season, has become a more prolific offensive weapon as a running back this year. The senior has taken 111 carries for 966 yards and eight touchdowns through six games, and Wilsonville has utilized him in direct-snap schemes.

The extent to which the Wildcats can complement their running game with a reliable passing attack could go a long way in determining their success the rest of the year. They have made the Class 5A playoffs in each of Guenther’s first three seasons and are in the hunt for a fourth-straight appearance.

“Depending on what Wilsonville teams turns up on any given night, we can beat anyone in the state,” Guenther said. “And we can get beat by any team in the state.”


Wilsonville 51, Milwaukie 7

Oct. 4 at Randall Stadium

Milwaukie 0 0 0 7 — 7

Wilsonville 0 14 30 7 — 51

Second quarter

W — (6:55) Elijah Benedick 49 pass from Derek Sunkle (Harry England kick)

W — (1:00) Parker Nielsen 17 pass from Benedick (England kick)

Third quarter

W — (11:02) Cooper Whittaker sack for safety

W — Micco Mills 34 pass from Benedick (England kick)

W — (9:02) Victor Oporta 32 interception return (England kick)

W — (7:24) Lane Hull 1 run (England kick)

W — (5:30) Benedick 8 run (England kick)

Fourth quarter

W — (11:56) Cole Wilson 2 run (England kick)

M — (5:16) Geronimo Thomas 15 pass from Tyler Spencer (Edgar Pantoja kick)


The Wilsonville football team improved to 4-0 in its all-time series against Milwaukie:

Sept. 10, 2010: WILSONVILLE 56, Milwaukie 14

Sept. 9, 2011: Wilsonville 51, MILWAUKIE 6

Oct. 5, 2012: Wilsonville 34, MILWAUKIE 6

Oct. 4, 2013: WILSONVILLE 51, Milwaukie 7

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