Wilsonville's Nick Crowley (3) hauls in the go-ahead touchdown catch in the fourth quarter Friday night. (Photo by Jon Olson)
Wilsonville's Nick Crowley (3) hauls in the go-ahead touchdown catch in the fourth quarter Friday night. (Photo by Jon Olson)

HILLSBORO – Staring at a 13-point deficit in the third quarter, Wilsonville's football team found itself dangling on the edge of another disappointing state-championship game defeat Friday night.

This time, though, the Wildcats wouldn't be denied.

Senior quarterback Kallen Gutridge connected with junior Nick Crowley for two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter as the top-seeded Wildcats (12-1) rallied to overtake No. 3 Mountain View 29-23 in the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 5A final at Hillsboro Stadium.

Winning their first title since 2004 lifted a giant weight off the Wildcats, who lost in the state championship game in 2016, 2018 and 2022.

“Finally winning it is just so special,” Crowley said. “I wanted to do this for all those guys that we lost it with, that wanted it so bad, and people that left without one. So this is for them.”

Wilsonville coach Adam Guenther claimed his first state championship in 14 seasons with the team. Wilsonville has won six state titles in boys basketball – five since 2016 – but had a long wait to claim its second blue trophy in football.

“We needed one to kind to weigh down the other side of the teeter-totter,” Guenther said with a laugh. “This is an honor.”

The championship means that Guenther will have to fulfill a longtime pledge.

“Coach Guenther is going to get tatted up,” Gutridge said. “He's going to get our logo somewhere. We were fired up to get him that tattoo.”

Said Guenther: “It's going to be a little 'W.' Don't ask me where, I can't tell you.”

For much of the game, Wilsonville struggled not only with the tough Cougars (12-1), but also with penalties. The Wildcats committed 16 penalties foe 161 yards, compared to three for 17 yards for Mountain View.

“We talked about it,” Wildcats junior receiver and defensive back Mark Wiepert said. “We had to keep our head up and keep encouraging guys. We just had to stay positive.”

Mountain View, playing in its first final since winning its only title in 2011, opened a 20-7 lead when senior quarterback Connor Crum ran for a 15-yard touchdown to end the first series of the third quarter.

Late in the third quarter, Wilsonville got the big play it needed when Gutridge scrambled and found Wiepert for a 55-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and six, cutting the lead to 20-14.

Mountain View senior Connor Calvert, who made field goals from 37 and 44 yards in the first half, connected again from 36 yards early in the fourth quarter to push the lead back to 23-14.

But Wilsonville's offense was starting to find a rhythm. Gutridge capped an 80-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown pass to Crowley. And one play after Wildcats junior Will Ingle sacked Crum on fourth-and-four from the Mountain View 39, Gutridge hit Crowley on a deep ball for a 32-yard touchdown.

Gutridge ran in the two-point conversion, and Wilsonville led 29-23 with 4:56 to go.

“That kid is electric. He's really fast,” Gutridge said of Crowley. “We knew we had an advantage on the edges with his speed. So just getting it up to him, high percentage he comes down with that.”

Crum led Mountain View down the field, hitting senior Kaden Alayan with a 21-yard pass for a first down at the Wilsonville 12-yard line with 56 seconds left. But Ingle sacked Crum for an eight-yard loss on first down, and the Wildcats forced three consecutive incomplete passes to seal the win, getting break-ups from senior Lucas Larson and junior Carter Christiansen.

“Everything started clicking,” Ingle said of the final defensive stand. “Coaches made the right calls, and the defense was just doing the right thing.”

The final horn set off a wild celebration for Wilsonville. The Wildcats, whose only loss came against 6A runner-up Tualatin, savored how they dug deep to pull out the win.

“I thought the tougher team won tonight,” Gutridge said. “We preached all week, it wasn't going to be about talent, it wasn't going to be about size, it was going to be about who wanted it more. And I feel like our guys wanted it more tonight.”

Wiepert said there was a “weird peace” in the Wilsonville locker room at halftime.

“Like we knew we were the better team,” Wiepert said. “We knew we had the heart, we just had to stay persistent. It was kind of uncomfortable for a little bit, but we just stayed confident with what we knew, and it came out in our favor.”

The Wildcats had a 384-235 edge in total yards. Gutridge completed 18 of 29 passes for 291 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions and rushed for 87 yards on 14 carries. Crowley had five catches for 111 yards and two scores. Wiepert and senior Nick Colyer each had touchdown grabs.

For the season, Gutridge passed for 3,773 yards and 57 touchdowns, which rank No. 7 and No. 2 on the state's all-time list, respectively. Only Wilsonville's Nathan Overholt has passed for more touchdowns in a season, tossing 59 in 2018.

Gutridge finished his career with 98 touchdown passes, No. 4 all-time.

“He's so unbelievable,” Wiepert said of the 6-foot-4 left-hander. “He's such a great athlete. Just a great leader, too. He really stepped up this year, just vocally and bringing guys with him.”

Guenther recalled how Gutridge wrote him a letter as a sixth-grader.

“He wanted to be a ballboy and he wanted to be a quarterback,” Guenther said. “He was looking forward to being a quarterback and helping us win a state championship. I've got that letter still and I'm going to break it out at the banquet.”

For Ingle, the title squared him with his brother, Earl, an all-state linebacker on West Linn's 6A title team last year who now plays in college at the Colorado School of Mines. Will Ingle, who transferred from West Linn this year, talked to his brother on a video call in the midst of the celebration.

“I told my mom, 'If we come out on top, I want Earl to be on FaceTime, ready to go, to talk to him,'” Will Ingle said. “I love him so much. I miss him.”

For Mountain View, Crum completed 14 of 22 passes for 136 yards and one touchdown and ran for a score. Junior Jack Foley caught an 18-yard touchdown pass – his 16th of the season – and had one of his team's interceptions, the other going to junior Brady Kennedy.

Cougars sophomore Angel Valenzuela, who entered with 1,745 rushing yards, was held to 71 yards on 24 carries.

Crum lamented how Mountain View was unable to hold its lead.

“We just couldn't make the plays down the stretch when we needed to, while they could,” Crum said. “That's just what let it slip away. They had some big plays in that fourth quarter. Credit to them. They've got some great athletes, great quarterback.

“The first three quarters, we were playing our style of football. We were doing a great job, with 11 guys doing their job. I think that's just kind of what we got away from in that fourth quarter.”