By Jeremy McDonald
HILLSBORO, Ore.– 48 Minutes. That’s all they had left in their season.
For Seniors like Hunter BeDoya, Grant Webb, and the rest of the 13 member Senior Class; it was their last time ever putting on the football jersey and represent the colors of Salem Academy, and the emotions were there no doubt about it.
The journey to the 3A OSAA State Title Game for the Salem Academy to these last 48 seemed improbable a few weeks ago when the playoffs started.
Sitting third behind Scio and Blanchet, the Crusaders methodically advanced game-by-game, week-by-week; they were road warriors as they got to Saturday’s showdown with Harriburg.
“Coming in, nobody thought we were going to be anything,” said Wilson McLean. “We were, I felt, were the only ones who knew what potential we had and coming up and making it this far. I’m so unbelievably proud of every, single one of my teammates.”
As they warmed up for Saturday morning’s game; the emotion, the electricity seemed to be twice of that of the semi-final game versus against Blanchet last Saturday as Salem Academy found themselves in the Title game for the first time since winning it all in 1989.
“We knew we had to give it our all,” said Hunter BeDoya. “We knew Harrisburg was a really tough team, we knew it was going to be a challenge. We ended up coming up short but it’s good though.”
They battled a always tough team in Harrisburg to a 20-all halftime tie, and don’t ever count out these Crusaders as down 14 in the fourth, they believed as Colton Daniels found Skyler Williams to put them on the five.
It’s just who Salem Academy, it’s hard to describe how they do this on a regular basis.
“They’re my guys,” described BeDoya with a smile. “They’re my guys.”
They weren’t able to punch it in, but kept fighting through the final whistle. The final minute and second of the season as they cut it to seven with 1:25 left in the game.
“I’m so unbelievably proud of everyone on our team,” said Wilson McLean. “From senior to freshman. Everyone gave it their all, whether cheering on the sideline or playing in the field. I’m so proud of all of our upperclassmen, they gave it their all. They never wanted to stop and that never made us stop.”
They weren’t able to recover the onside kick, and as they saw the Eagles kneel it for the championship, on the Crusaders sideline you heard, “Remember this Guys” as they look to carry this years mojo into next year.
“It fire us up a lot i feel like,” said McLean, who had a 60-yard score and five total tackles in the game.. “We’re sad to see the seniors go, but we’re all just fired up from junior to freshman; I mean there’s a lot of potential coming up and we’re not going to give up next year.”
As they walked off the field for the last time, they were greeted by friends, family and alumni.
Among the Alum was 2011 Salem Academy graduate Michael Bryant and he showcased how proud he was of his Alma Mater.
“I’m so proud of our team,” said Bryant. “I was apart of this football team when we had not yet been to a playoff game for over 20 years and to see this program to come where it’s been, it’s such and incredible experience and despite the outcome, I can collectively say that we’re all so proud of these guys and what this coaching staff has to been able to pull off.”
Now that’s something to be proud of.
After it was all said and done, the seniors, the underclassmen; they left it all out on the field. Some knowing it was their last chance to. Others, it was an off-season to carry that over to next season.
But one thing is for certain, they left it all out on the gridiron Saturday afternoon in the Biggest Stage of their football careers as they finish second in all of 3A in 2016.
“I’m bleeding green,” BeDoya said choking up with a smile as he finished his last game with five tackles and a sack. “I’m bleeding green and white right now. I just want to thank my family and friend right now, just everybody apart of Salem Academy, they’re the greatest supporters.”
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