By Mike Wilson
Over the next few weeks, SBLive Oregon will break down every 6A, 5A and 4A football team in the state in anticipation of a six-week season in March and April. Even if the season is postponed or canceled, we will continue to highlight more than a hundred teams and more than a thousand players in Oregon. Here’s our look at the Wilsonville Wildcats of the Class 5A Northwest Oregon Conference West Division.
Adam Guenther, 11th season (88-27)
2019 AT A GLANCE
Overall record: 8-3
League record: 6-0, first in Northwest Oregon Conference West
Playoffs: Beat North Bend 34-14 in first round; lost 48-9 to Thurston in quarterfinals
ALL-LEAGUE PLAYERS DEPARTED
QB Jayce Knapp, first team and offensive player of the year
OT Khodi Gibson, first team
K/P Jacob Haussermann, first team kicker and honorable mention punter
LB Mathew Labunsky, first team
CB/KR Mason Dean, first team on defense and second team on special teams
C/DL Noah Ochs, second team on offense and honorable mention on defense
CB Frank Cooper, honorable mention
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Senior OL/DL Jake Moore
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound Moore was first-team all-Northwest Oregon Conference West Division on both interior lines last season. "He's quick off the ball and can pull from the guard position," Guenther said. Moore is the strongest player on the team, the coach said, able to do 28 bench-press repetitions of 185 pounds. Moore has committed to NAIA College of Idaho, where he also intends to compete in track and field.
Senior DL Aaron Wilcox
Size is perhaps the first thing one notices about Wilcox. He's 6-foot-5 and 300 pounds and is explosive off the ball, Guenther said. "He has good quickness for five, 10 yards and just has football strength," Guenther added.
Senior RB/LB Chad Overholt
Overholt had six touchdown catches among his 14 receptions last season and earned first-team all-NWOC West recognition at running back. At linebacker, he was first-team all-NWOC West and honorable mention on The Oregonian/OregonLive Class 5A all-state team. A third-year starter, Overholt was among the team's leaders in tackles in 2019.
Senior S Colby Guenther
Despite missing time last season with a concussion, Guenther was second on the team in tackles and was second-team all-NWOC West. Son of coach Adam Guenther, Colby Guenther orchestrated the defensive backfield last season from his strong safety position and will be asked to do the same this season. "He's just football-smart," Adam Guenther said. "He knows how to put people in the right positions and controls the defensive backfield."
Senior CB Austin Rust
The Wildcats lost to graduation Mason Dean, who had a Class 5A-high eight interceptions last season. Rust, a second-team all-NWOC West choice as a junior, figures to be the team's alpha cornerback this season. "When we need somebody to go against their best guy, he'll be our guy," Guenther said.
Junior WR/S Kellen Hartford
Hartford started as a sophomore, and his value and versatility on both sides of the ball are clear to Guenther. The coach expects Hartford to play free safety again this season and probably switch to receiver and play some in the defensive backfield in his senior season. "He could be a very special athlete next year," Guenther said. Armed with strong speed and vertical jumping ability, Hartford is up to about 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds. "You could put him anywhere and he'd be successful," Guenther said.
Senior WR Payton Dart
As a junior, Dart was first-team all-NWOC West and first-team on The Oregonian/OregonLive Class 5A all-state team. He led Wilsonville in receptions (52), receiving yards (886) and receiving touchdowns (12) in 2019, ranking among the Class 5A leaders in those categories in the regular season.