By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– The playoffs are here at long last.
For Stayton, who finished in a three-way tie for the Oregon West Conference title with Turner and North Marion, they’ll be hosting a play-in game when Baker comes all the way down from the Northeast corner of the State of Oregon.
The regular season, though tough, helped prepare the Eagles in preparation for the Bulldogs for this push to the playoffs.
Star running back Jerry Daniels explains the journey, the roller coaster ride that was the regular season as something as a learning process for this point.
“Well we started off with two tough teams (Estacada and Banks) and that didn’t go very well, but we learned from it,” said Jerry Daniels. “We go on a winning streak and then we just, we lose at home to North Marion. One play can change everything, so we know every play counts. So we just got to take this game seriously.”
Head Coach Andy Campbell has been saying all season that he wanted his team to be battle-tested for this moment, for the Best of the Best come November; and he’s impressed with how his team has been stepping up to the challenges as they went through OWC-play to get to this point.
There’s an uniqueness of this week as that Stayton will be playing on Saturday instead of the typical Friday night under the lights, and Campbell knows that this opportunity will help the kids prepare for making the move up to the next level of college football.
“It’ll be good for us, it’ll be a little change of a pace, but it kind of gets us on a college schedule,” said Campbell. “For those of us who played and kind of introduce that to the kids. About a breakfast, about a walk through and our usual pregame stuff.
“So it’ll be great playing during the day, it’s something that we don’t do all the time and its just another experience that we can give to our kids that they can make memories that will last these guys forever.”
From a player’s perspective, it’s weird yeah not to be playing under the lights. But it also gives them an opportunity to play with one another and be introduce to a whole new style of play.
“It feels good, I mean it’s not under the lights and stuff but we still get to play with the team,” said Daniels. “We get to meet a new team that is not us and show them who the Eagles are all about. Show that we’re coming to play and hope they’re coming to play too.”
For the week schedule wise, there’s some excitement about having an extra day to pan out the details and work through anything they need to that a typical week may limit them otherwise.
But one thing’s for certain, there’s some hunger there too adds Campbell as he points to the last time Stayton played at home which was the 13-6 Homecoming loss to the Huskies two weeks ago.
Campbell points out that they’re trying to leave a memory on home turf that is better than how they left it in the regular season.
“We feel that the way we left this field last time against North Marion was a representation that we want to give to our school, our fans and to our community,” he said. “So we felt that the Football Gods were going to be good to us if we earned it to give us another opportunity to play at home to show who we are so we’re excited for Saturday.”
Kickoff is slated for 1pm at Stayton High School.
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