By Jeremy McDonald
DAYTON, Ore.– Monday was a tough day no doubt about it. But there’s still a glimmer of hope that something in the State’s guidance will let football players like those at Dayton High School Tuesday evening, get in any kind of games before the end of the school year. If not, at least have some team comradery in the process with their longtime friends and teammates.
“This year has been hard for all of us because none of us know for certainty if we’re going to play real football or not,” Pirate Senior Corbin Anderson. “And for me, it’s hard because I’m a lineman. So if we do 7-on(-7), it’s hard for my lineman, my group to be a part of that because we’re not the receiving core.
“We’re the line, we do the dirty work. We’re doing all that stuff while they’re doing all the fun, we’re doing the groundwork for them.
The groundwork. Laying the foundation that makes guys like Kaden Fergus, Gavin Arce, Colby Stephens, etc. look good on the passes, carries or receptions around them. It’s not the prettiest at times, but it’s honest work starting with the coaches that they have.
“All the coaches that I’ve had, all the coaches that I have had helped me build me up to be the player that I am right now and I wouldn’t be where I’m at without them,” said Anderson, who plays offensive line and defensive end.
Arce and his younger brother Nate, who’s a sophomore this year at Dayton, said it was fun being able to share some of the experiences with his younger sibling as he wraps up his time as a Pirate.
“It’s awesome, it also motivates me because when he pushes harder it makes me push harder,” the elder Arce said. “So it makes everything better.”
Playing in the bruiser conference they were in. The Clatskaine’s, the Rainier’s, the Amity’s, it’s a grueling task mixed in with the non-league slates with the likes of the Santiam Christian’s and South Umpqua’s.
“They got some big boys,” said Anderson. “Me personally I haven’t been against Amity because I’m part of FFA so I’m always gone that week. But all the other games, going against Clatskaine and Rainier, it’s a whole different atmosphere because they got the big boys that got the scholarships for other schools and we’re out here playing ball.”
“It’s pushed me harder to be better and work harder for this year,” adds Arce. “Since coming from last year, pushing against all of these bigger guys, it’s pushed me to get a little bigger.”
Being invested and motivated during this time of uncertainty is extremely tough. Not knowing when you’ll get the nod or what’s going to happen between when practice ends and when the next one begins the next day.
Arce points to the shining moment when they scrimmaged Sheridan at Sheridan back in October of 2020.
“It was just really nice to see our team together and have competition. Go up against each other,” said Arce.
One thing is for certain though, they want to be the change at Dayton High School as the Jacob Peterson-era kicked off this year. All while getting an opportunity to put in some work as they wait and see.
“For me personally, I want to leave my mark as I’m that person that started the change for Dayton. The last few years, it has been a rough patch. This year, I want to make it where we change it all. We’re the foundation of change in this team to where we want it to be,” said Anderson.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald