Turf – almost ready: Games expected to be played on field after Labor Day

September, 2016 Posted in School, Sports & Recreation
Crews lay down the turf in the north end of the Stayton High football field. The facility should be ready to practice and play on after Labor Day.

Crews lay down the turf in the north end of the Stayton High football field. The facility should be ready to practice and play on after Labor Day.

By James Day

The Stayton High athletic program will have a wait just a bit longer for its new artificial turf field. The Eagles were set to debut the new surface with a soccer doubleheader Sept. 2, but Athletic Director Darren Shryock said “a setback with the rock foundation” means the games will have to be played on grass.

The turf installation is now underway, and Shryock said the field should be ready to use after Labor Day.

Second-year Eagles football coach Andy Campbell thinks the turf will gives his squad a big boost.

“Our football program will benefit greatly from the turf mainly because it gives us a consistent field for practice,” Campbell said.

“Consistent lines, consistent numbers and a consistent surface for practicing will be the biggest advantage our program will feel right away. On top of being a consistent practice spot, it gives us a gorgeous facility to call ours when recruiting our youth kids as well as kids in our school to come out and play.”

Campbell’s squad opened 6-0 last season but lost its final three games to eventual Class 4A state champion Cascade, Oregon West Conference champion Philomath and Gladstone, which was ousted in the playoffs by eventual runner-up Scappoose.

“There’s no major tweaks or changes going on this year,” Campbell said. “We’re simply going to try and do things better than we did them last season. We’ve got different weapons and strengths this year than we did last year so we’re working on finding ways and schemes to get those strengths on display.

“We lost a lot of, not only talent last year, but we lost a lot of leadership and experience.  This year we’ve got a great group of young men  – we’re just inexperienced as leaders.”

Campbell called the Oregon West “wide open” and said “we’ve got just as much of a shot at it as the other top teams. We have to just worry about doing our jobs, our assignments, our conditioning, and our attitudes and not worry about what other teams are doing or not doing. The success of our season will mirror the development of the leadership in our locker room.”

The Eagles open the season Sept. 2 at Estacada.

Cascade: Brandon Bennett has taken over from Steve Turner as the football coach for the Cougars. Bennett, 31, was the offensive coordinator on last year’s state championship team. Bennett, a former offensive lineman and offensive line coach at Willamette University, has served as an assistant and head coach at Stayton.

“To be a head coach is a great honor,” Bennett said. “You must respect that honor by working harder than everyone else. You must also challenge everyone to work harder than you.”

Bennett has four starters back on offense and defense from the squad that won the Class 4A state title last season.

“We have a strong core of seniors that have stepped up as leaders within the program.” Bennett said. “We have high expectations for ourselves but also know that it will take hard work and great preparation. I am excited to see what my boys can achieve this season.”

Two-way starter Isaiah Roniger (fullback/defensive lineman) returns and Bennett expects key contributions from linebackers Mitchell Bell, Cote Wakem and Rylee Morris, wide receiver Michael Biddington and linemen Dominic Federico and Cody Teal. Also in the mix are offensive lineman Jake Cowan and Louie Sanchez, junior varsity players who were added to the playoff roster and were strong contributors during the title run. In addition, Adam Stratemeyer will add some depth at linebacker and defensive Shane Schnapp and linebacker Justin Marcott also are being looked at to provide leadership on defense.

Bennett will be a learning resources teacher at Cascade this fall. Athletic Director Heidi Hermansen said she thinks Bennett already is proving a good representative of the program, which went 37-9 in four years under Turner.

“So far Brandon has been a true team player,” Hermansen said. “The senior boys gather around him after practice just to hang out and socialize. He is a great fit into the Cascade community, and he promotes the positive culture we’re building in our athletic programs.

The Cascade open the season Sept. 2 at home vs. Marshfield.

Also at Cascade, the Cougars have hired Bethany Robertson to coach the cheer squad. Robertson is a 2000 Cascade graduate.

Regis: The Rams have a new volleyball staff, headed by Santiam Canyon area club coach Julie Summers. This is the first head high school job for Summers, who will be assisted by Chantele Burgess and Kristina Kifyak.

The Rams are hoping to play some junior varsity football games this season. Athletic Director Don Heuberger said that new Oregon School Activities Association rules allowing athletes to play six quarters a week instead of five will make it easier for smaller schools to play JV games.

Stuart Alley will give up his role as softball coach to focus on his girls basketball program and Heuberger is recruiting for a new softball coach.

Regis also is working on erecting a 36-foot wide, 96-foot, 14-foot high indoor baseball and softball facility the school hopes to have online by March.

Santiam: Wolverines athletic director David Plotts said the school did a lot of sprucing up during the summer, including new paint and refinished floors at the gym and a new public address system for the football field

Scio: Kate Hageman takes over the volleyball program for the Loggers.

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