The PHS boys soccer team will regroup over a nine-day break from varsity competition with the next contest set for Sept. 14 at Estacada. (File photo by Andy Cripe/Philomath News)

When a team goes down to defeat on the road, it’s natural for all involved to just want to get out of town and head home.

Following Philomath High’s 3-0 boys soccer loss Tuesday evening at Cottage Grove, the Warriors couldn’t even do that with bus issues stranding players and coaches in the school’s parking lot for hours until a new ride could arrive to pick them up.

“We were stuck outside the high school for like 2-1/2, three hours,” Warriors coach Dave Ellis said. “We ordered pizza and the boys took one of the balls and played basketball on their outside court there. The janitor was nice enough to leave the stadium lights on so we weren’t in the dark. It was a surreal experience.”

The bad luck mirrored the outcome on the field with the Lions able to pull out the three-goal win. Cottage Grove scored late in the first half for a 1-0 lead at the break and that margin remained intact for much of the second half. The home team found the net twice in the final eight minutes, the last goal on a well-executed header off a cross.

“We didn’t have the urgency of getting the ball out sooner,” Ellis said. “We changed tactics in the second half and honestly, for the first 30 minutes, we were on top of them. Through a combination of naivety and bad touches, we didn’t score.”

So, the team heads home for a nine-day break from competition before returning to the pitch Sept. 14 for a trip to Estacada.

“This is kind of what I expected … we only have three players that played varsity last year and we just lack that experience, we lack that composure, understanding the little things to do and what’s important,” Ellis said.

The Warriors also started the COVID season of 2020 with back-to-back losses before going 3-1-1 in their last five games to hit the .500 mark overall. Philomath also had a considerable lack of varsity experience on that roster as well.

“There are little things we can be doing … we just haven’t learned,” Ellis said. “So, we’re taking our lumps right now.”

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