HILLSBORO, Ore.– It was a sour end to what was a fantastic season as they saw Newport score the game-winning goal with six to go and seeing the Cubs defense throwing a monkey wrench into their plans to snap their State Title drought Saturday afternoon.
Five seniors, many in which have been on this big stage before, it wasn’t how the imagine the scoreboard to read Newport 2, Stayton 1 after the Eagles won the series during the regular season and were dominated with their play outside one of two plays that Newport capitalized as they battled all the way down to the final whistle
“It was really cool to come back, I was excited,” said Alex Cramer. “Nervous again, nothing, nothing…you can’t trade anything for that. That feeling of nervousness as you hear that first whistle blow. It was great, from freshman year sitting on the bench and watching everyone play to this year playing, leading everyone it was just great. I mean it sucks to lose to a person from our conference especially but we play our hardest and they played harder, that’s what came down to it.
“They adjusted to us pretty well during the season and they deserved it today.”
For Cramer, being able to be part of three State Teams like many of the seniors, going from the bench as a freshman to Captain his senior year, he can’t describe the feeling and credits Head Coach Chris Shields in more ways than not as they walk away with the second-place trophy.
“It’s great, I couldn’t, I can’t explain how thankful I am that Shields is able to put us together every year, get us to our maximum,” said Cramer. “He gave me a great High School Experience, not just soccer but everything.on-and-off the field, he’s the best and Shields is the one who deserves all the credit for all of us.
“Even though, he doesn’t play, he’s the best coach in the league hands-down. and he deserves as much recongizition more than he gets.”
With a bunch of returning players, they certainly won’t forget this as those who played in 2015 did as the pain, the hurt, the frustration that’s there won’t let them forget about this moment and this feeling with the junior-heavy class becomes seniors.
They won’t forget laying on the Liberty High School turf, tearing up. They won’t forget seeing Newport celebrating as they did at Stayton High School in 2016.
Yes they know, all around, they can improve moving in 2018, but seeing all of that around them, they are already thinking ahead to 2018 and making a comeback to this game.
“I mean, we got a lot of young players, we played a lot of freshman,” said Kevin Hernandez, who’s 51st minute goal tied it at one. “I mean our middle, our back-line, sometimes our front line are freshman. A lot of young players.
“Yeah it sucks losing the seniors, they were starters and players on the field. Depending on how next year goes, everyone follows along like the freshman who messed around during the practices, hopefully they take it serious and we all work harder and get bigger.”
Hernandez points too how much this was a learning experience for them for next year as they try to make another deep run to the big game. Change the mindset, finish opportunities, etc. Things they can work on in the off-season and in the 4-H summer league.
“We just got to learn, we just can’t get to the finals and just stop and say, ‘We made it, that’s it,” said Hernandez, who played in his first State Title Game. “Yeah we made it to the final but you can’t come here thinking , ‘oh well we’re already champions because we already made it’.
“We got to learn from our mistakes, finish every opportunity we have and we just got to learn. It’s a learning process.”
Though nothing is promised or guaranteed, it’s probably think or say that Stayton will be setting their standards high once more as they enter this off-season as hungry as they were last off-season entering this year,
And with Shields as Head Coach, they’ll certainly will be learning from the mistakes of this year and improving upon them for next year.
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