By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.—Beau Wilson knew he had to fill a need to help out his team entering their season opener versus Stayton Thursday evening.
The North Marion Huskie Tight End found himself starting at Center in the opening game of the season, in a system that they are still learning, against a former Oregon West Conference-foe in the Eagles that beat them last year up in Aurora.
But nonetheless, Wilson was up for the challenge Thursday night.
“It helped out a lot, we’ve got other guys filling out positions, but we don’t have anyone to fill-out center, so it was important to help out the team than help myself,” said the Huskies Wilson as he was snapping the ball to junior Noah Wierstra.
The offense itself, filled with misdirection and mind-games that can challenge teams, kept Stayton on their toes considering they had next-to-no tape on the Huskies entering this game because North Marion didn’t do a jamboree.
The system however, resembled that of what Scio ran at the jamboree that the Eagles were at a few days prior with the Wing-T the Loggers traditionally have ran since the 1990s. Resembled that defenders have to account for whoever is in the background, similar to what the Huskies were running in front of them to open the season.
“Oh it’s crazy, they got backers going ever each way. Our defense, we weren’t use to it, we didn’t have any film of their games because they didn’t have a jamboree,” said Garrett Sandefur. “I think we adjusted a little slow, I feel like if we adjusted a little earlier it would have been a lot better.”
The Eagles got on the scoreboard first when Ben Rash didn’t rush his throw to a wide-open Logan Classen on the home-side of the field, but a blocked PAT only kept the score at 6-0 by quarter’s end.
Grant Henry though, showed off his athleticism while Noah Wierstra showed off his baseball catcher’s range as the two connected for a shot down field that set up a Henry and Wierstra connected again a few snaps later to tie the game up at six.
Both teams’ had their chances, and the first half ended when Stayton’s Sean Bodi ran down Henry at the halftime gun and prevented Henry from scoring even though North Marion thought he crossed the plane and scored.
Just as the Eagle defense was holding off the Huskies offense, the North Marion defense was doing the same thing too with their defense making plays that started with the boys on the line and the linebackers supporting them behind them.
“Oh it was crucial, when the front six gets pressure then the back five can do their job. The quarterback can’t throw his passes and get good runs,” said Huskie Linebacker Hunter Wierstra.
“It was very important because we pressured their quarterback to give them easy picks, easy knockdowns. Without our defensive line, we wouldn’t have won the game,” adds Wilson.
As the Twilight of the third quarter came, Hunter Wierstra put North Marion ahead with 4:23 left in the quarter.
“That was great, I couldn’t have done it without Joe Torian’s run the play before,” said Wierstra.
The Eagles weren’t going out without a fight though.
They forced two big defensive stands to keep the Huskies from extending their lead beyond the six points it was at since Stayton’s big two-point conversion stand on the last North Marion score.
With 6:43 to go, they began to march down the field, but the lights going out on the baseball field-, grass soccer-field side of the field went out that cooled the pace down before the Eagles had one last crack at it with under a minute to go.
No luck as Stayton couldn’t chip away enough of the Huskie defense to land that decisive big shot to help them up for a possible last deep throw to win it at the buzzer as time expired with the scoreboard reading in favor of North Marion 12-6.
“We need to block better, that’s for sure. I think that’s all we need to do,” said Jared Mitchell on his Eagle offense.
And with Stayton traveling to Astoria next Friday and North Marion hosting Henley, Week One and Two will be important for both teams’ to take that next step entering Week Two.
“Consistently good practices, we’ve had one or two good practice and everyone was just too confident. We just need to work in practice,” said Stayton’s Sandefur entering Week 2.
“We have some key missing players out and I think once we get those players back, we can do better but as long as we have that desire and hard work, we can play with anyone on this field,” said the Huskies David Page as North Marion looks to get healthy.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald