By Jeremy McDonald
PHILOMATH, Ore.– Philomath as been an interesting place for Stayton to play at in recent years.
The Warriors field, outside of Cascade, are two fields left in the Oregon West Conference to play on grass. Mix in their physicality, and it becomes a headache as the Eagles walked away with a tough 2-0 win Tuesday afternoon on the road.
Those two goals though, both coming in the final nine minutes of the game, didn’t come as easily as Stayton would have liked or expected.
Controlling the possession game for much of the game outside of several nicely put together runs by Philomath, the Eagles shooting selection was there in their ability to get shots off. But were plagued like in their 1-0 loss to Valley Catholic with some bad luck in hitting the top crossbar, having Judah Bacho poking the ball out or having the Warriors swarm them in the middle of the box whenever they attacked middle.
“We did really good, we’ve had some injured people but we timed them and we kept together pretty well,” said Bacho on the defense. “A lot of communication helps.”
“Nothing against Philomath, they’re a great team. They play hard,” adds Stayton Head Coach Chris Shields.
For the Eagles, who’ve been strong in recent years during Head Coach Chris Shields tenure, are young entering this season and were caught up in playing simple ball instead of being the aggressor out on the pitch to kickoff OWC-play Tuesday.
With how young they are, Philomath made them work offensively and think entering practice Wednesday in preparation for their game with Newport Thursday afternoon at home.
“At first, we were trying to play simple, but we couldn’t,” said Jadyen Espatza. “There were a lot of mistakes but then we fixed them, we made a couple of shots. We shot a few shots, got the rebound, scored, finished. After that one goal, we started finishing.
“They played really hard, they made us go to the outside and they played in the middle. We tried to play in the middle, get some through balls and they had a pretty tough defense, tough offense too. We just got to practice more, work harder. Don’t stop until the last whistle and keep play harder every game.”
Esparza broke the scoreless in the 71st minute before following that up with an assist on Omar Renteria’s 73rd minute goal to help lift Stayton to their second win of the season.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald