One of Four Teams Left

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

COTTAGE GROVE, Ore.– Final Four.  Self-explanatory yet a awesome feeling knowing that you’re  one of four teams to have reached the elusive semi-final round.

For Scio, it was their goal to be here at this point competing for a spot in the State Game the next week.

Junior Ryan Imel couldn’t put into words being at this point and what the seniors taught them moving ahead to the next season after they are gone.

“I can’t even…it’s just an amazing experience you know, I’m going to miss all of the guys, all the seniors,”  said Imel.”This year they taught me so much about myself and about what our team can do.  Even walking into games like Rainier and Dayton where people even at our school doubted us and we came out with a win because we put our heads down and played hard.
“it’s just an amazing experience to be here and not a lot of people saw us coming here today and all the doubter who said that, they look at us and we’re here and we lost to a really, really good team and I think they’re (Cascade Christian) going to beat SC.  They’re pretty good.  I’m just really proud on how far we came.”
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Ryan Imel looking on during Saturday’s game in between defensive plays (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)
In front of them was another powerhouse team in Cascade Christian, strong offensive and defensively and they showcased that against the Loggers, throwing them off their game and building a 42-6 lead late in the first half.
But, with a Dru Cook reception for his second score of the game, Scio slowly found their groove that had gotten them to this point eventually getting the score to 42-20 going to the fourth thanls to strong defense and offense.
Two big turnovers, a fumble recovery from Dan Simmons and a interception by Caedan Spilde were big  defensive plays by Scio in the second half, it was the heart that the seniors like Jacob Lowther, Brody Foster and Cook preached all year long that was being shown Saturday afternoon.
“They taught us heart, we had a lot of heart this year, we’ll be back next year,” said junior Garrett Wallen on the heart the last half of the game.
“All we can take next year is no matter the odds, just play hard and play through it and we may comeback, in this case we didn’t,” adds Imel. “But fight and never give up, never quit.”
But, they couldn’t capitalize on them, as the Challengers pushed their lead to 49-20 before Riley Zimmerman got it to 49-28 to cheers from the home crowd the came down for the game.
Cascade Christian recovered the onside kick and took a knee to end the game.
One of four teams to have made it this far, not every team can say that, yes it sucks not to be raising that trophy on Championship Day as seniors, but getting to this point, competing their hearts out and leaving their message of heart, grit and determination behind for those behind them entering next season.
“It’s good but we wanted to do better, but it’s still good,” said senior Nathan Yoder on making the Final Four.  “Never give up, even if it’s bad.”
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Dru Cook (left) and Caedan Splide (7, right) running a sweep in Saturday’s game (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)
With names like Imel, Simmons, Wallen, Zimmerman coming back for 2018, they know what they need to do to get back to this point and beyond next year.
“We just need to come out here and play our asses off like we did the second half, the first half we came out soft.  We didn’t do our jobs,” said Wallen for next year.
“We got to have the younger guys step up, fill spots that we lost we’re losing a lot of seniors,” starts Imel.  “We just got to get into the weight room, get onto the field this Spring, get in shape and come back and knock some heads next year.”
Follow Jeremy McDonald on Twitter at @J_McDonald81 or like jmcdonaldmedia on Facebook!

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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