By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– It was a bittersweet ending to what was a fantastic season for the West Salem Titans against a talented South Medford team Friday at home.
As they have all season, they fought, clawed and worked as a unit through any kind of adversity thrown their way this season
Jacob Denning described this season as a unpredictable season for those outside of The Black Hole and within the West Salem family as they stood as one once more on this cool Friday evening.
“It’s pretty bittersweet, we played our hearts out it just didn’t end out on the right side of the scoreboard but it was fun battling with these guys,” said Denning. “We had a great season, no one expected us to go this far and we proved a lot of people wrong and it was a lot of fun. These guys I call my family now.
Denning, who scored the last two scores in their win against Grant last Friday, showedcase his talents along with the other seniors like Grant Thies and Christian Janes at home for a chance to go to the semi-final round as they did their freshman year.
It was 14-7 at halftime with Denning scored one of his two scores Friday, but the Panthers scored twice more before the Titans made it 28-14 with a half a quarter remaining. But South would milk the clock and intercepted Thies pass as West Salem tried once more to comeback like they did last week to ice the 28-14 win.
The raw emotions of the tearful ending of the season was present on the faces of Coach Shawn Stanley, his seniors and his players, the fans too who were hopeful for a another crack at the semi-final round as they did a few years ago.
For the upcoming seniors like Jamal McMurrin, they know what they need to do in order to avoid this similar ending as their seniors are going through right now:
“I’ll just say, not let this happen. Not let all of these emotions happen, all of these guys crying, that’s the last thing we want. Our main goal from the start of June to the end is State Championship. There’s not going to be tears or sadness in the State Championship, that’s the ultimate goal,” said McMurrin. “Just remember this and get better from this.
“Hard Work, dedicaiton. All of our guys got it, we just got to continue it.”
And the example that the seniors left for McMurrin, Gideon Giles, Jake Tinseth and company who are returning next year of hard work, dedication and that will-power was similar to the one left for them by the seniors before them as a lasting message to the underclassmen who were going to take their place.
This was no difference mentioned Denning.
“Oh it sets a great example, I was on the semi-final team my freshman year and they set the example for me, we were underdogs going into Grants Pass” “Just great examples of vocal and leading by example and I think we did a good job of both of that.
“These underclassmen are really talented and I hope they can put something together because they definitely can. I hope we did a good job being leaders for them..”
West Salem finishes the season 10-2, 8-0 in Greater Valley Conference play and won the league out-right after tying with Sprague in 2016.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald