By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– It wasn’t your typical Friday Night Lights as Stayton and North Marion lined up for The Battle Of The Oregon West Conference Best.
But it was also Senior Night as the Eagles Football, band and Cross Country seniors were honored in front of the home crowd and it was also Homecoming as Alyssa Lindemann and Ryan Beresford were crown Homecoming Queen and King.
There’s a sense of pride in being able to wear the colors of Stayton during their time there described Jacob Jungwirth as him and his seniors took to the home field one last time.
On the field for game time, a Historic storm was raging above as the storm between the Eagles and the Huskies roared on the turf.
“Playing in this weather first off was, I had a blast,” said North Marion Huskie’s Grant Henry. “It made it more fun for me than anything playing in this. But for this, for the league championship, it was big, it was huge.”
Defense was at a premium as two offensive touchdowns were scored all game, one came by Sam Garcia that gave North a 6-0 lead entering the halftime break.
Stayton’s defense gave their offense several opportunities to score, including towards the end of the opening half; but penalties nullify big plays, including a huge Jerry Daniels run in the final minute of the first half that forced the Eagles to hand over the ball to the Huskies seconds before the halftime break.
On their first offensive possession that started the second half, Aidan Hill’s pass was picked off and returned by Tanner Scalan to increase the North Marion lead to 13-0 early in the second half.
With the heavy, heavy downpour, both sides defenses’ held the other team’s offense in check entering the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth however, Hill walked off the field nursing his arm with his team on offense to not return to the game.
But not missing a beat, Jungwirth jumped into the quarterback spot without any warm-up throws to have one of his throws turn into a 48-yard Jerry Daniels score to cut the 13-0 lead to 13-6 with a lot of time left and their defense coming back to the field.
“I just wanted to come in for my guys and just win senior night,” he said. “Just try to get it done but we couldn’t finish the job.”
A little stunned, the Huskies managed to piece a few first downs together before the Eagles defense took over and gave their offense the ball back with under four minutes to go.
Jungwirth and company marched as they did on their previous possession and saw Daniels break one deep for the endzone…only to have that called back because of a hold.
Stayton struggled to regain their precision prior to the hold on Daniels score as North Marion’s Grant Henry intercepted Jungwirth’s pass on an effort to pick up a bulk of yardage in a long-yardage situation.
“It was huge honestly, I’m pretty sure it was a third down so if I would’ve dropped it, they’d had another chance in the end zone,” said Henry. “We just had to get a first down after that and we can knee it and it was game. So it was good, it was big.”
The Eagle defense forced a third and eight and used everyone of their timeouts in hopes to give their offense one last gasp for Homecoming and Senior Night Glory.
But it wasn’t meant to be as the Huskies picked up the dagger first down for sole possession of first place in the OWC entering their last game versus Cascade.
“It’s going to be a tough game, it’s going to be a tough game,” said Henry. “It’s going to be tough, so we have another week of practice so we’ll be good.”
There’s frustrations on Stayton’s side knowing that they were right there for the game.
“To be honest, we took it away from ourselves we had about three or four more touchdowns we killed on penalties so it is what it is,” said Jungwirth.
Jungwirth and company knows that it’s something they need to work on entering their final game of the season versus Newport on the road.
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Pictures from game (Pictures by Jeremy McDonald)