By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Injuries during the 2017 season allowed the younger athletes of the Stayton Eagle Football team as they had to step up big as the Eagles reached the play-in round of the 4A playoffs after taking their bumps and bruises along the way as Stayton matured in experience entering 2018.
“It was really important for us, a lot of the guys worked really hard in practice and that showed on the practice field and showed on Friday nights,” said Brian Shoenborn.
With guys like Aidan Hill, Jerry Daniels, Tony Schoenborn and Isaiah Sughera graduating, last years experience is going to be important as they enter year two of the Randy Nyquist-era in the Blue and White.
“Last year a lot of our guys filled the holes of the older guys who were unable to play and now those young guys have experience and will be able to come up and I think we’re going to do really well,” said the younger Schoenborn in Brian who’s going to be a senior this season.
And one of those youngsters who made the move to Varsity last year, was Ben Rash.
Rash stepped in at quarterback last year when changes in the lineup due to the injury bug that was around thrust the then-sophomore into the starting job as the now-junior enters his second season as starting quarterback for the Eagles.
His confidence, like those around him, are building after how last season ended.
“We’ve lost a lot of seniors obviously, a lot of key guys, a lot of valuable players but we’ve came so far these past few months. This summer, this spring we’ve been lifting. We’ve been, all the things that help us bond and come together as a group. It’s not about one player, it’s about the whole team so what we’ve been doing as a group and as a unit is what’s going to help us this year and that’s all we need,” said Rash.
Rash too touched base on how young they are with their core group of players returning, coming back from injury or just coming into the program as freshman as they hit evening practice popping the half-pad jack with shoulder pads and helmets Wednesday night. They also bring in a new coach for the tight ends and linebackers
“I mean, he came in a little late but he built a really good foundation and program for us, so being able to go off of that and having him having another year in the system with us is going to help us,” “He got coaches that he’s coached with before and he’s put in a few new plays but it’s pretty much the same things. It’s been a definitely a smooth go-through, but also we gotta grind.”
That grind continues leading up to their season and home opener on August 30 against North Marion before going to Astoria a week later for their first of five away games.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald