The Week Ahead
Girls soccer — Philomath opens the season Wednesday at home against Hidden Valley before trekking to Gladstone for a Saturday afternoon match. Despite the opportunity that goes along with playing the defending champions in the opener, the big game in the next seven days arrives this coming Tuesday when the Warriors play at Stayton. The Eagles had their best season in program history under first-year coach Devin Holmes at 11-2-2 in 2018. The Eagles reached the 4A quarterfinals last fall, falling to Hidden Valley, 5-1. Philomath went 4-3-1 on the road last season while the Eagles were 6-0-1 on their home field — the lone blemish being a scoreless tie against the visiting Warriors on Sept. 27.
Volleyball — The Warriors will have some fun at home against Crescent Valley and Cottage Grove on Thursday and then head to a tournament at Cascade Saturday, but the most notable match will be this Tuesday in the Oregon West opener at Stayton. The Eagles finished fourth in the league last season with a 6-6 mark, 10-11 overall, and lost a play-in match at Banks in straight sets. The Warriors have dominated Stayton for several years. The last time Philomath lost to the Eagles occurred clear back in 2010.
Boys soccer — Philomath opens Thursday at Hidden Valley and will play at home for the first time at 11 a.m. Saturday against Gladstone. The conference opener will be this Tuesday at 4 p.m., against Stayton, also on the home field. Philomath’s recent record against the Eagles has not been good with series sweeps the last two seasons. The Warriors tied Stayton, 0-0, in 2016 and the last win over the Eagles came back in 2013 — during the state playoffs.
Football — PHS opens the season Friday with a 7 p.m. kickoff at Junction City. The Warriors haven’t lost a season opener since 2014 when Gladstone handed Philomath a 55-27 loss and went on to a perfect 12-0 record and the Class 4A state title. Since Junction City lost to Philomath, 7-0, on a soggy Clemens Field in the 2016 state playoffs, the Tigers have gone 6-17. The Tigers haven’t won a game since Oct. 20, 2017, with a 10-7 victory over Sisters. In last year’s game, Dakota Kantor ran for 196 yards and scored three TDs and Colby Roe rushed for 126 yards and also scored three TDs. Junction City leads the all-time series vs. PHS, 17-13-1.
Cross-country — The cross-country team’s season-opening meet will be on the Hydrangea Ranch near Tillamook. Coach Joe Fulton said he wanted his athletes to run the course, which is fairly difficult with two river crossings, a mud pit and a mile of wood-chipped trails. “It’s just one of those crazy cross-country courses,” Fulton said. “It’s so brutal, they let the boys run without shirts because they’ll get completely muddy and wet.”
• Philomath’s girls soccer has an incredible streak intact that has been in place since the program’s inception. The Warriors have never finished with a losing record in 27 years under coaches Tiffany Luebbert (1992-94), Bijan Aria (1995-96), John Williams (1997-2014), Andrea Whiteman/Becca Davis (2015) and Mat Phelps (since 2016).
• Philomath and Junction City were fierce football rivals from 1933-41, often playing on Armistice Day. Junction City held a 5-3-1 series edge in those early years. After a game in 1941, the two schools didn’t play again until 1970 when they were both placed in the Emerald League.
• Philomath’s volleyball program this fall will try to post a winning record for the ninth straight year. From 2011-18, PHS has won 71.4 percent of its matches (137-55 record). The last team to finish below .500 occurred in 2010.
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• Philomath’s boys soccer team enters this fall under second-year coach David Ellis looking for its first winning season since 2014. The Warriors have finished one game under .500 each of the last two years.
• Over the past 15 years, the Warriors’ cross-country team has participated at eight different venues for their season-opening meet. This year, the team heads to a course near Tillamook. The most common first meet of the season during that time period for PHS has been the Darrel Deedon Cascade Invitational on six occasions (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2018).
By the Numbers
78 — The height in inches of Philomath High freshman tight end and defensive lineman Ty May, who caught a touchdown pass in Friday’s jamboree session against Regis.
82 — The number of high schools, including Philomath, that will be sending athletes to Saturday’s Ultimook Race at the Hydrangea Ranch near Tillamook.
22 of 29 — The number of freshmen and sophomores (22) out of the total number of girls in Philomath’s volleyball program (29).
In the Books
30 years ago — The Philomath High School volleyball team opened the season under coach Fern Robinson with a 15-3, 15-6 rout on the floor at Elmira on Sept. 7, 1989. Kim Rybel had a team-high six kills in the victory while teammates Katherine Grass and Kay Magee each had four. Philomath had a run of nine unanswered points in the second set.
“We had good passing. The only down point was our serving,” Robinson said, a reference to her team’s eight service errors in the second set.
— Brad Fuqua, Philomath Express