Blaise Pindell
PHS senior midfielder Blaise Pindell eyes the ball during the first meeting this season between Philomath and Sisters. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Senior Blaise Pindell’s primary role on the Philomath High boys soccer team is to dominate the middle. And in a 4-1 victory Thursday night, the Warriors experienced the benefits of his labor and skill in a key road win over Sisters.

“Blaise’s job is to just sit there and win everything in the middle,” PHS coach Dave Ellis said. “This was a game that highlighted his value to us.”

Example? Sisters senior forward Ricky Huffman was a player of interest for the Warriors defense. Pindell had the upper hand.

“We just put plays on him … the kid didn’t get a shot on goal the whole game,” Ellis said. “Blaise does all the dirty work. He makes everybody else look good and cleans up everything.”

Ellis added that junior Seth Arthurs plays a similar role but differs in that he has a little more flash in his game when coming up on the attack. But no matter how players are contributing, it all added up to an exceptional performance against a physical opponent after not playing for nine days.

The Warriors (12-0 overall, 8-0 Oregon West) will play again on Saturday at home against Newport for a game that was moved up. The contest had been scheduled for Oct. 28, which turned out to be two days past the state association’s freeze date for playoff rankings. After hosting the Cubs, Philomath will then play at home on Tuesday against defending state champion Stayton in another big showdown between the two soccer rivals.

Against the Outlaws on Thursday, junior Mateo Candanoza got the Warriors on the scoreboard with an unassisted goal in the 15th minute. Candanoza scored on a hard, low shot that bounced in front of Sisters’ goalkeeper, popped up and went through his hands into the net.

“It was a bit of a keeper error but Mateo hit it well,” Ellis said. “Something we specifically work on is shooting the ball low so it’s in front of the keeper because it adds an element of uncertainty and it’s really difficult for goalkeepers to deal with.”

That would be all of the scoring in the first half but Philomath felt it had a solid grasp of the game.

“That took some of the energy out of their legs,” Ellis said about the opponent. “They’d been going pretty hard at us. We just kind of managed the game until half … we had the wind in our face pretty strong.”

In the second half, the two teams played in a back-and-forth manner until the 60th minute when senior Noah Aynes scored on a ball sent downfield by senior Dylan Bell.

“Dylan played a long ball that caught the wind and as we rushed onto it, it was still in the air,” Ellis described. “It bounced at the edge of the 18 and went over their keeper. Noah was the one who ran onto it and tapped it into the goal.”

Philomath soon after went up 3-0 on a successful corner kick. Junior Chase Ringwald sent the ball in on a cross and Pindell was in place to score on a header.

The Warriors had another scoring opportunity when senior Mark Grimmer took a foul in the box to set up a penalty kick attempt. Bell took the shot and missed, so the game remained at 3-0.

Philomath’s deficit was cut to 3-1 but not because of a Sisters goal. Philomath gave up an own-goal as the result of a miscommunication between the goalkeeper and a defender.

The Warriors scored their final goal on a penalty kick by Grimmer. Candanoza had been fouled in the box to set up the opportunity in the 72nd minute.

Sisters dropped to 4-4-1 in league, 7-5-1 overall and is entrenched in third place behind Philomath and Stayton in the OWC standings.

Philomath 4, Sisters 1
Thursday, Oct. 21, at Sisters H

Philomath (12-0, 8-0)134
Sisters (7-5-1, 4-4-1)011
First Half: 1, Philomath, Mateo Candanoza, 15th minute.
Second Half: 2, Philomath, Noah Aynes (Dylan Bell), 60th minute; 3, Philomath, Blaise Pindell (Chase Ringwald), 66th minute; 4, Sisters, Philomath own goal, 69th minute; 5, Philomath, Mark Grimmer (PK), 72nd minute.

Conference Standings
(As of Oct. 21)

Oregon WestConfPct.AllPct.PFPA
Sweet Home

Thursday, Oct. 14
Sisters 8, Sweet Home 0
Stayton 6, Cascade 0
Monday, Oct. 18
Cascade 2, Sweet Home 0
Tuesday, Oct. 19
Stayton 8, Sweet Home 0
Sisters 2, Newport 1
Thursday, Oct. 21
Philomath 4, Sisters 1
Cascade 1, Newport 1
Saturday, Oct. 23
Sweet Home at Cascade, 11 a.m.
Newport at Philomath, 4 p.m.
Monday, Oct. 25
Newport at Sweet Home, 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 26
Stayton at Philomath, 4 p.m.
Sisters at Cascade, 4 p.m.


The JV team’s did not play Thursday. … The team’s record remains at 4-3-1 on the season. … The JV Warriors are scheduled to play Monday at Crystal Lake Park against Corvallis. has no paywall but we do rely on voluntary memberships. If you’re already a member, thank you. To join our community as a member or to make a one-time contribution, please CLICK HERE.