Canby — Last week was the first real taste of success for the Canby Cougars, a program that had lost 22 consecutive games dating back to September 15th, 2017 against Newberg. The community always had hope that success would return to the Cougars, a school that had a string of success over the course of two decades with Mike Doty at the helm and Erv Garrison before him. Coach Mike Vaught had managed to scrap together three winning seasons in eight years at Canby, but the program had all but fell into an abyss by the time he departed last season. However, a full year later, the program has renewed life and success thanks to an energetic new head coach, a hungry, young, talented team, and an entire community throwing their support behind them every step of the way.
With an opportunity to make it two wins in a row, the Canby Cougars spent little time putting in motion their successful game plan against 1-7 Roseburg on Senior Night. Canby forced a Roseburg fumble on their opening possession, recovering in Indian territory to get the offense rocking early. On the following drive, dual threat quarterback Mikey Gibson capitalizes by drilling Chance Miller in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown, quickly making it 7-0 Cougars in the opening quarter. Roseburg would respond three drives later, as Doran Gillespie punched it in from a couple yards out, tying it up at 7 apiece. With 2:20 left in the first half, a drive headlined by Mikey Gibson running plays was topped off with a throw to his guy Ronan Gay for the TD, giving Canby the lead back 14-7. On the next possession, Nick Vandecoevering ntercepted a Roseburg pass that was thrown up in the air at the line, taking it all the way to the house for a pick six and a 21-7 halftime lead for Canby.
The second half didn’t quite have the same pop to start it off, but the Cougars were lingering on defense to find it. It came around halfway through the third quarter when an errant throw was intercepted by Gay, setting up the Cougars in solid field position. Canby would punch it in with a handoff to the tailback for the score, extending the lead to 28-7 Cougars late in the third quarter. On the first play of the next Roseburg drive, the Cougars forced another interception, setting up a quick drive capped off by a Gibson quarterback keeper for the score, driving it up to 35-7 Canby after three quarters.
Roseburg drove down the field on an early fourth quarter possession, pinning Canby against their own end zone, but the Cougars staved it off with a goal line stand that was capped with a broken up slant pass in the end zone, showing no mercy to the struggling Indian offense. After subbing out Gibson for senior Andrew Peters, the Cougars found themselves pinned in their own territory and Peters went down for a safety on the Roseburg blitz, giving the Indians their first points since the opening quarter when it was 7-7. Peters would get his opportunity late in the game though, after yet another Cougars turnover, he was able to scramble into the end zone for a touchdown, giving him a score in his final high school game and Canby made it two wins in a row with a 42-15 blitz of Roseburg on Senior Night.
After closing out his career with back to back wins, Senior Wide Receiver Ronan Gay talked about the community significance snapping the streak for Ellie Shorter, “Snapping that winless streak was basically for her, we were wearing purple and she’s my friend and sweet to everyone. It was awesome to get it on Purple Night, it was awesome to get it against rival Oregon City, it was just the perfect night for it.”
Senior Andrew Peters may not have been the starter, but he got his opportunity to put a cap on his career as a Cougar, and made the most of it, “It feels great, especially when you look at last year at 0-9, its a great feeling. The coaches really pushed us during practices, and every practice was harder, and it helped us a lot. It was great to end it the way we did.”
Sophomore quarterback Mikey Gibson is the dual threat quarterback anchoring Canby to 2-7, and having two more years to develop, he is optimistic about the future, “I’m very excited and very happy. As you can see, we’re headed in the right direction and the people coming up are great people and athletes. Its going to be really fun the next two years, but this one is definitely a year to remember.”