By Jeremy McDonald
SWEET HOME, Ore.– Through all the adversity thrown their way to close out their preseason, the Stayton Eagles hung tough and never let the score on the scoreboard get to them too much.
In the early going, we were talking a 0-0 ballgame and a managable 6-0 deficit entering the second half, but penalties and turnovers halted great drives by the Eagle offense and gave the Huskies opportunities to turned a one-score hole into a 22-0 deficit before Aidan Hill found Sean Bodi for a touchdown connection that broke the then-shutout.
That score brought some energy back into the sails of the Eagles confidence as their defense got the ball back to a offense that has already posted 44 and 21 points respectively this season.
For seniors Isaiah Sunghera, who was playing both offensive and defensive line Friday night, points to how them as seniors are leading the way in helping bridging everyone together as their defense got the ball back looking to do further damage to the deficit.
“It’s great, I think what led up to this year is just really important, we’ve had three head coaches together,” said Sunghera. “I mean this senior class is a family and we include everybody and that really helped because that’s all we had for the last three-years is these 17 guys I believe.
“It’s been us and it’s just that this senior class is a family and I think that really helped because now we got some great coaches to lead us the way.”
Head Coach Randy Nyquist stood in front of his team, not being able to do further reducing of the deficit in the 28-6 loss on the road, telling his team not to give in or give up. Reassuring that they can do this with Oregon West Conference-play starting with two of the toughest team’s on their schedule ahead of them in the Warriors and Cascade.
The Eagles knew that this preseason schedule was tough, Estacada, Banks, Sweet Home. But with Philomath, the Cougars and themselves sitting all at identical 1-2 records entering league play, anything is possible now as they work on the little things in practice this upcoming week.
“It’s been a big experience for us, we just got to keep on pushing and hope we can get where we want to be,” said Ryan Diehl on how the last three weeks showcased how they can improve and give them looks they need for the league season. “We just got to use it in practice and just focus up on learning on what we need to do and hopefully we’ll come out on top.”
Sunghera added on that they knew the task at hand entering the season and what appeared through the heartache and agony of the past two weeks, was their ability to pick themselves off the turf and go back out for the next play.
“We knew coming into the season, the first three weeks were going to be tough. We have a pretty strong league, I think we’re all about the same,” said Sunghera. “It just proves, that we really stick together as a team. We don’t fall apart, which is great to build on because if we fall apart in a close game, then you can’t win anything.”
And as they go back to practice, looking to work on some things like timing, ball control and reducing penalties Philomath will be waiting on Friday at their place for the 7pm kickoff.
A few pictures from the game (Pictures By Jeremy McDonald)