Coming in a bit hobbled after a loss two days earlier at soccer power Woodburn, Philomath High’s boys had hopes Thursday afternoon of knocking off Stayton, another exceptional club that has a legitimate shot at bringing home a trophy in November.

The Warriors, looking to secure a postseason spot of their own, dropped a 5-2 decision to the visitors in a game that most onlookers would agree was probably closer than the score indicated.

“The loss is primarily on me. Our team came out far too conservative in the game,” PHS coach David Ellis said afterward. “I told the boys, the result’s on me today; I didn’t get it done. I picked the wrong team, I picked the wrong tactics. I won’t make that mistake against Stayton again though.”

Ellis said he switched things up after halftime to create more pressure on Stayton’s defense.

“In the second half, we went 4-3-3 and then 3-4-3, played more forward, more advanced, and made them defend a bit more and they struggled a lot more with that,” Ellis said.

Stayton scored in the game’s first minute on a David Ramirez penalty kick. But Philomath countered in the sixth minute when Nick Stucki placed a perfect corner kick into the net past Stayton’s goalkeeper.

Stayton put on the pressure, however, and scored three more goals before the break. Julian Flores scored on an effective set-up from Jayden Esparza in the 13th minute. Omar Renteria hit a free kick from about 20 yards out for a 3-1 lead in the 27th minute. And two minutes later, Esparza scored the first of his two goals of the afternoon.

The Warriors tried to come up with a counterattack but weren’t able to finish. Mark Grimmer nearly sent the ball into the net but was tripped up on a no-call collision in the box with Javier Hernandez. Parker Ringwald found himself with a good opportunity in the 36th minute but Stayton's keeper stopped the threat.

In the second half, Stayton went up 5-1 on Esparza’s second goal. About 15 minutes later, Philomath scored on a Filip Sohus Furuseth shot on a ball sent in by Adam Hernandez.

Incidentally, the OSAA website shows Stayton’s win as 6-2. However, the Eagles coach confirmed after the game that his team had scored five goals, which matched the newspaper’s count.

The game started a bit earlier than published schedules with the varsity and junior varsity games stacked. Ellis said that was done because there were not enough referees to both games at the same time.

Grimmer came out of the game in the second half after a collision with a teammate. Ellis said he was rested the rest of the way as a safety precaution because he had sustained a blow to the head.

Philomath goes to 4-3-2 overall, 3-3-1 in the Oregon West. The Warriors are scheduled to play Tuesday at Sweet Home and Thursday at home against Cascade.

The OSAA rankings showed Philomath at No. 14.

Philomath played with just 13 players in the loss to Woodburn Monday and picked up a couple of injuries during the contest. The Warriors were also without a starter because of a game suspension.

“When we go to the playoffs, we’re going to pull up a couple people from JV that have been showing they’re really strong,” Ellis said. “I think we’re on course to make playoffs and that’s been my goal since Day 1 since I’ve been out here.”

Stayton 5, Philomath 2

Thursday at Philomath

STAYTON (7-1, 6-1)               4   1 — 5

PHILOMATH (4-3-2, 3-3-1)     1   1 — 2

First half — 1, Stayton, David Ramirez (PK), 1st minute; 2, Philomath, Nick Stucki, 6th minute; 3, Stayton, Julian Flores (Jayden Esparza), 13th minute; 4, Stayton, Omar Renteria, 27th minute; 5, Stayton, Jayden Esparza, 29th minute.

Second half — 6, Stayton, Jayden Esparza, 56th minute; 7, Philomath, Filip Sohus Furuseth (Adam Hernandez), 71st minute.

Junior Varsity

Philomath 2, Stayton 2

Thursday at Philomath

STAYTON         1   1 — 2

PHILOMATH     2   0 — 2

PHS goals — 1, Philomath, Noah Aynes (Andrew Mecham), 3rd minute; 2, Philomath, Luke Haslam (PK), 7th minute.

Team notes: The JV squad’s record goes to 4-3-1 for the season. … The Warriors shot out to a 2-0 lead in the first seven minutes of the game on the Noah Aynes goal, assisted by Andrew Mecham, and the Luke Haslam penalty kick. … Stayton cut its deficit in half in the 18th minute. … The Eagles tied the game early in the second half. … “We had our chances to get another goal,” JV coach Matt Konkler said. “We couldn’t convert but I was very happy with our performance and intensity. … Stayton’s JV beat Philomath, 5-2, in their first meeting. … The Warriors will take the field Oct. 4 at home against Cascade. The team does not play Tuesday with Sweet Home not having a JV squad this season.

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