By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– One thing about the Stayton Boys Soccer program over the past ten years is that by now their success is well-known.
It could be easy, as they wrapped up their eighth Oregon West Conference-title since 2010 and four State Finals appearances in that span in 4A, to call it a ‘dynasty’ of sorts following their 7-0 win over Cascade with how dominate they’ve been in the twenty-tens.
That sustainability is hard to come by, especially at the High School-level. But they know that the guy in the comforter jacket and the glasses yelling at them from the sidelines won’t let them dwell too much on their success as they enter the 2019 postseason.
“It feels good to play for a place that has a coach who, as much as he hates the term, helped create it,” said Nolan Cramer of Head Coach Chris Shields. “He comes in, he doesn’t take any nonsense. He basically reads how we play well and how we don’t and he says, ‘this is what we do to win games’. He comes out and drills us on it.
“It feels good to be a part of that team. To come in and play for a team where there’s competition and strong work ethic all-around.”
As much as the 5A power in Woodburn challenged the Eagles, it was the guy lining up coaching against Stayton Tuesday night that created as much of a problem dating back to last year’s season finale in Tim Farr.
With Farr back at the helm with the Cougars as Head Coach, taking over last season, Cascade had made sure the Eagles didn’t earn a share of a possible ninth title in ten years in last year’s finale.
The Cougars also made sure that Stayton had to defeated them in some fashion for a share or outright title this season as Cascade were knocking at a State Play-in game hanging tough at 15th in State and had third-place in league locked up. At 8-4 in league play and 9-4 overall, it was a big turnaround from 4-9-1 last season.
But with the injury bug leaving the Cougars banged up for Tuesday’s game as they wrapped up the regular season with an absolute gauntlet with Woodburn and Stayton, it was an opportunity to see how their bench reacts entering the play-in round and moving forward.
“They really knocked a lot of sense into us on the scoreboard and a lot technically,” said Jacob Farr. “Our subs really stepped up. We’ve had a lot of injuries, we had to play a lot of different positions, we had a back-up goalkeeper. He came in and played well, gave it his all.
“We just got to keep our mindset up, keep our heads up and look passed these two games and right into the play-in.”
Cascade travels to Gladstone for the play-in game.
For the Eagles, it’s right into the bracket again as they kick-off the first round November 6. As they await the ‘who’ of the team they’re facing, the question becomes ‘how’ can they avoid last year’s stunning loss in the opening round.
But that answer goes back to the guy with the comforter jacket and the glasses in Shields and the mindset he’s instilled with this squad over the years.
“We still got a lot of business to do, but I think we’re going to go into it more confident than we were initially,” said Omar Renteria. “I think we are going to have a strong one for the final this year too. Hopefully everything keeps going our way, we’ll have a title by the end of the season.”