STAYTON, Ore.– It might’ve been the golden hair emulating a Super Sayian Goku from the 1990s anime series Dragonball-Z during their playoff run. It might’ve been that most of the team this year was there last year.
It might be that feeling being so close last year to the OSAA 4A State Championship before falling to Oregon West Conference-rival North Marion 3-1 that has gotten them to burning to get back to this point.
Nonetheless, the OSAA first-ranked Stayton High School Eagles Boys Soccer are looking to finish the job that is two years in the making.
“This season has been a fun ride since no one thought we could be where we are,” said Eagles Head Coach Chris Shields. “With losing so many players last year and this year battling against North Marion, and finding ourselves back in the final is huge accomplishment. I am happy for this group of players.”
Down 1-0 with just minutes left in their season to Henley in the 4A Semi-Final game; there was no fear with the head coach, only confidence in his team as it showed as Freddie Navarro scored two last minute goals to send Stayton to the state title game.
“Nothing was going through my head other than I thought we had a chance and just needed the right timing,” said Shields during those final moments of the game. “I thought we had a chance, that if we moved Jose Gomez up it would create chances and it did.”
But, what stands between these group of ‘Z-Figthers’ (another Dragonball-Z reference!) and the championship is the second-ranked team in the OSAA 4A with Sisters High School.
Both the Outlaws (15-0-1) and the Eagles (14-0-2) are undefeated, with Sister’s lone tie is to the team that Stayton defeated to get to this point: Henley.
It is also worth noting that both teams are very similar in offensive and defensively. Maybe mirror images of each other.
The Outlaws have scored 68 goals this season to permitting nine and the Eagles at 64 and 12.
With how similar these two schools are, something has to give right?
“They will know how to play, they will play hard,” said Shields on Sisters. “But any team at this point should do that.”
It’ll be a 159 mile trip for Sisters and about 66 miles for Stayton to get to Liberty High School. But the voyage isn’t a going to be a problem for the Stayton as they been communting to Sprague High School for all of their home playoff games this postseason.
“(I) don’t think it will affect us much” said Shields on the drive. “Sprague is a 30 minute drive for us, so we are use to hopping on a bus and going to play somewhere.”
One thing is for certain come Saturday afternoon at 1pm if both of these teams playoff runs have presented, it’s going to be a wild finish to the OSAA 4A Boys Soccer Season.
Jeremy McDonald is a professional sports journalist in the Salem/Portland area and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalist in Oregon with B.S. degrees from Southern Oregon University in Journalism (2011) and Health/PE (2013). Got a story idea? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @J_McDonald81!
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