SHS Regular Season Recap- Fall
It has been a remarkable fall for Stayton athletics. While the play-offs are just around the corner, it is worth taking a moment to celebrate a tremendous regular season for our kids. Every sport from the fall qualified for postseason play. Stayton is the one and only school that can make that claim this year. After the conclusion of cross country districts on Sat (which we host), I will tabulate just how much the Eagles have dominated compared to other schools, but here is a glimpse of the tremendous accomplishments for our kids.
Volleyball: Playing in the extremely difficult Oregon West Conference, the Eagles placed fourth in league qualifying for a play-in game at home against Cottage Grove. The match was a thriller. After Stayton took the first two sets 25-23 and 25-21, it looked like it might be a competitive, but short night against the visiting Lions. But Cottage Grove is no stranger to long matches, and they responded. They bounced back and took game three 25-21 and then again game four 26-24. The stage was set for a tense game five. Although the set was a back and forth affair, Stayton came up just short losing 15-13 in a heartbreaker. Overall, it was a great match and a very good year for the girls.
Cross Country: This Saturday, Stayton will host the cross country district meet at our home course behind Stayton Middle School. The Eagles feature some outstanding runners. Ben Kirby, Hope Bridge, and Hailey Notman have all broken school records this year. All three of them, as well as the girls' entire team, have an excellent chance to make it to state. Of course, with sports like cross country, track, wrestling, and tennis, it is all about districts. With a strong run this Saturday and at state, there is a strong possibility some Eagles will find themselves on the podium receiving state medals.
Girls' Soccer: Following up on the first ever league championship last year, the girls again had a fantastic regular season. They finished third in league just behind Woodburn (with whom they split) and Philomath (with whom they tied and lost once). The girls host Klamath Union High School in a play-in game at home on Sat (Nov 2) at 2:00 PM. If (when) they win that game, they will be on the road to start the play-offs. The lethal scoring tandem of KJ Nyquist and Madison Pask keep the Eagles competitive no matter the opponent, so a deep run in the play-offs is certainly possible for these girls.
Boys' Soccer: While winning league championships is definitely not new for the Eagles, winning a league title outright with Woodburn in your league was once thought impossible. The Stayton boys' soccer team beat Woodburn twice this year and are the champions of the always tough OWC. The Eagles open the play-offs at home next Wed (Nov 6) against an opponent that has yet to be determined. Although the boys are ranked #1 in the final coaches' poll, they are ranked #5 in the OSAA rankings. What that means is they will likely have to win a game or two on the road if they want to make it to the championship game. We know they can score goals (71 on the season) and defend (4 goals total given up for the season), so no matter the location, Stayton is a serious threat to win it all.
Football: The Stayton football team is in the play-offs. If that doesn't seem like much, it is a big deal. While many teams in the past few years have made a play-in game, this is the first team since 2009 to break through and make the play-offs. Quarterback Ben Rash has been a dual threat both running and throwing with amazing efficiency. Wide receiver Logan Classen has been putting up video game like numbers in receiving yards and touchdowns. The defense has been much improved the past few weeks as well. While the play-offs always mean "win or go home", they bring with them a sense of excitement and nerves all at the same time. Coach Randy Nyquist is no stranger to play-off time having won multiple state championships in his career. If I were in Vegas and placing bets, I would not bet against these Eagles.
All around, it has been exciting around here this fall. The state play-offs promise to bring even more joy into the lives of Eagles' fans everywhere. The way the regular season played out, we just might be looking at some hardware in the form of trophies coming our way. Whatever happens, it is going to fun!