By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– For seven seniors of the Sprague Lacrosse program, Tuesday marked the guaranteed last home game of their High School career.
JV Senior Andrew Schliesmayer, Jack Sobey, Jaymin Colvin, Nathan Clifton,Asa Yunker, Zachary Beach and Caleb Cooper were honored at the halftime break of their game versus West Albany in front a nice sized crowd of Olympian fans and Bulldog fans as one-by-one they walked through the tunnel to meet up with their families.
The score was 10-5 Sprague with Colvin scoring the first goal of the game and Sobey scoring the last goal of the opening half with 1.1 seconds left on the board as the buzzer rang around Olympic Stadium and the Oly squad walked over to do Senior Night.
“It’s great, this has been six-or-seven years in the making and I’ve had the same group of people with me the whole time, so it was a fun night,” said Cooper, who had 13 saves in the game against West Albany.
Sobey, who’s been playing since the third grade and had to go up to Wilsonville in the early going to play until he joined SKYLL (Salem Keizer Youth Lacrosse League) in the fourth grade, was happy to have shared this moment with his father who’s also a coach on the staff as well as enjoying the moment itself.
“It was great, me and dad…he’s coached me my whole life so to have him come play with me all the way through is really special to me and it’s something we share with each other,” said Jack Sobey, who had two goals in the game. “We were both pretty emotional, it was a special moment in my life.”
What was special even more, not just for the Sobey’s, but for the community of Lacrosse was the announcement that it was Jeff Sobey’s last home game of his coaching career.
Ten years of coaching that included splitting time between High School Lacrosse in the area as well as helping with SKYLL as a coach and on the board that was mixed by the raw emotion of the moment was present was Jeff Sobey, with his son next to him, was tight-lipped through hearing former players and even referee’s sharing their opinions about Sobey.
“Well, this is my tenth year of coaching in Salem so I was very touched, I was very honored. I am going to step away from coaching for a year, but I can’t step away from the game, I love the game too much,” said Jeff Sobey.
“So I told them, ‘ah I’m still going to be around the game’. Just the day-to-day stuff that I’m stepping back (from), but it was very touching. Especially hearing from the refs as well, that means a lot to me to have the respect of the coaches and the refs too it means everything.”
For his son Jack, you could see him holding his tongue too as he hears all the stuff about his father in the front-and-center of the semi-circle around him that the Sprague team encompassed him around as both got to share their special Senior Night moments together.
“I was surprised,” laughed Jack Sobey on his father being honored. “He definitely deserves it, he helped build Lacrosse in Salem so he deserved every word that was said.”
“Having coaching him every single year, ending it here on our home field…hopefully we get some playoff wins looking forward to but for now, regular season on this field,” continues the elder Sobey. “He was running around on this field when I was coaching when he was in sixth, seventh and eighth grade so we’ve spent a lot of time together on this field and it meant a lot to get the win for the team but for him and I to have the success tonight together.”
Coming out for the second half, the Bulldogs built some momentum entering the foruth quarter as they cut into Sprague’s lead and cutting it to 14-9 by the end of the third quarter.
But a Colvin-to-Sobey connection that made it 15-9 midway through the fourth that help the Olympians keep ahead of the West Albany physical momentum train, walking away with a 18-11 win with them in the driver seat in the North Valley League with two more league games to play and them having a one-game lead on McNary and West Salem in the league standings.
“We just got to be doing what we’ve been doing,” said Cooper. “Our defense is playing solid work, our offense is controlling the ball better tonight. Just good passes, we always have fast breaks so those are nice. Just keep on doing what we’re doing and this is the first time we get to win-out and not have to hope for someone else to lose.”
Sprague will be at Corvallis on Friday and South Salem to close out the regular season on Tuesday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald