By Jeremy McDonald
WOODBURN, Ore.—It was something to behold to think about when Woodburn dropped from 5A to 4A and were going to be in the same conference as Stayton for the near-future.
The Bulldogs were the champions of 5A five times over since 2010, the last time the Eagles won a 4A State Title even though they’ve been in three of the last four State Championships down in 4A.
Woodburn brought the pressure in the first half, but Stayton met them with strong defense as Carlin Croff, Jose Navarro and Ivan Pelayo kept the Bulldogs tough offense off the board entering the second half of the ballgame.
“I was impressed with the fact that everyone was able to mark their own man. We weren’t scared of them, we showed that, we wanted to play them. I think it was unlucky, I think if we play them again, we can handle them better,” said Navarro. “We played a good 60 minutes and then we got tired. Goal started to come in for Woodburn, but every new day is to get better so I hope next game will be much different.”
Justin Martin broke the shutout for Woodburn within the first minute or two of the second half and Oscar Valtierra made it 2-0 Bulldogs before the Eagles Kevin Hernandez cut the score down to size to one in the 60th minute.
But fatigue started to set in for Stayton, it was slowly setting in during the first 20 minutes but it showed it more in the final 20 minutes with cramping and slowing down while Woodburn just kept rolling like they were already in mid-season to late season form five games into the season.
The Bulldogs wanted to prove they were the better team than Stayton as Martin recorded a hat trick in the 5-1 win to show that they are the number one team in the State of Oregon in 4A.
Martin said that the rankings fueled them, but knowing too that they can’t be too confident with the bulk of the season to come in front of them.
“It’s good, we proved to them wrong that they’re number one in State and we’re number eight,” said Martin of the win as Woodburn travels to Newport Tuesday. “You just can’t get too confident, you got to treat every game like it’s the finals.”
For the Eagles, they’re going with a similar mindset in that they know that this is just one game in a long season. It wouldn’t define them as the prepare for Sisters Tuesday over the hill, but it will certainly fuel them for when the two teams meet again in Stayton on October 10.
“It’s almost halfway through the season , one game isn’t going to decide our whole season. They had a good game, we had a good part but we couldn’t put it all together but there’s going to be more games that are going to decide our season,” said Hernandez. “We still got to play them once again and we’re going to show that we’re going to be the better team at home and we’re not going to…their history, it’s history. It’s all about now.”