By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– A win against Newport would have guaranteed a play-off spot for the Stayton Eagles Friday Night to cap Homecoming Week and a tough regular season that saw numerous underclassmen and juniors step up in crucial roles during the second half of the season.
“I’m in awe how they progressed you know, these guys progressed and stepped up to the plate,” said senior Tony Schoenborn. “First-strings a few weeks ago, they’ve grown and they’ve advanced so much and looking at them, you wouldn’t think they were sophomores.
“You wouldn’t think a lot of them were these young guys that four weeks ago were playing four quarters on JV and then all of a sudden, go take a starting spots. So I’m really impressed with their efforts and their growth.”
Sophomore Ryan Diehl, who has stepped up big for the Eagles this season, just pointed to the fact that they just needed to fight out there as they made the adjustments of the Varsity level.
“The young guys, we just…we had to battle. Had to fight,” Diehl said.
Down 30-7 to the Cubs however in the fourth quarter, it seemed all but over for the Eagles as it seemed as if they’ll leave their playoff fates to the hands of the OSAA.
That was until those young guys showed their hearts and their passion during those final 12 minutes of possibly their season and the possible end of the careers of people like Schoenborn and Aidan Hill to possibly extend their season so that their other seniors like Jerry Daniels can have a chance to play one last time.
Ben Rash shows off his arm, connecting with Diehl twice for scores. Hill, in at running back now instead of quarterback due to injury, continued to dominate running the ball and sacrificed himself in trying to help his team out leading up to the second Rash-Diehl as he went out with an apparent concussion with 3:35 remaining in the game.
“I mean, I couldn’t believe that we were in that moment where we cut the game down to the lead that it was” said Schoenborn as it was 30-20 with them attempting an onside-kick with plenty of time to complete a comeback. “I didn’t hear all that happened at halftime in the locker room, it had to be something good…the guys came out and stepped up and in the fourth quarter, they brought it and I think they have a good future
Tony’s younger brother, Brian Schoenborn, was one of the younger kids who stepped up in trying to help this Eagle team continue their season Friday night and in the second half of the season as the two Schoenborn’s share one possible last experience together against Newport.
And as the Schoenborn brothers were taking pictures after the game
“I’m excited to come back and watch him as he’s coming back next year,” said Schoenborn on his younger brother. “You know this is his first year where he got some actual experience on Varsity, and its been really cool playing next to him. I mean we made plays together, it’s real cool.
“I get emotional because it might be over, it’s a special thing to be brothers on a team. I’m proud of him and I think he’s going to be great.”
As they wait past the OSAA cut-off of 10pm as scores continue to filter in across the 4A classification, uncertain when they’ll get the final call on if they’re moving on or not.
Stayton knows too, that they could have done better to prevent this scenario from happening as the clock went past 12:30 in the morning and with them still waiting.
And if they do get that second-breath of life as the clock hits 1am and they’re still awaiting their fate, the Eagles know that they do not want to go through this feeling again if given the chance to play again.
“We could have done better, we need to be more prepared in the first half. We should’ve been on top,” said Diehl. “We just need to work hard in practice, in games. Everywhere, just work hard.”
**UPDATE (9:30AM)**- The Eagles are in the postseason and will be traveling to South Umpqua for their play-in game. The Lancers finish the season second to Marshfield (8-0. 5-0) in the Far West League at 4-1 and are 5-3 overall.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald