Philomath downs Sisters to set up showdown of unbeatens at Stayton

In a hard-fought contest that remained in doubt until late in the second half, the Philomath High School boys soccer team survived its latest test on Tuesday with a 2-0 victory over Sisters to remain unbeaten on the season. The Warriors are now 7-0 and can shift their focus to No. 1 Stayton, the defending 4A state champions that are riding a 20-game winning streak that dates back to 2019.

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Coach Dave Ellis is approaching Thursday’s showdown with the Eagles as just another game but it does carry a lot of significance in terms of how the Oregon West Conference standings and Class 4A power rankings shake out. The road game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start.

“We know how Stayton is going to play,” Ellis said. “If everybody can get up and watch Stayton, it should be a fantastic game. Stayton plays the game right, they play hard.”

Philomath hasn’t defeated the Eagles since the 2013 state playoffs, a 1-0 Warriors win in the quarterfinals. The two teams played to a scoreless tie in 2016 but it’s been all Stayton since then. During this past spring season, the Eagles pulled out a 1-0 win over Philomath on an own goal by the Warriors.

Silas Pittman
Freshman Silas Pittman goes for the ball in Tuesday’s win over the Outlaws. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

“I’ve always loved playing them,” Ellis said. “Even though we’ve always lost, I’ve always appreciated them. I have a lot of respect for Chris (Shields, head coach), I have a lot of respect for the way his kids play. They’re an example of how a team should play.”

Before thinking about Stayton, the Warriors needed to close out a win over Sisters on Tuesday. Philomath took a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute on a Mark Grimmer goal. On the play, Silas Pittman sent the ball downfield to set up Grimmer’s chance at the net. The Outlaws’ goalkeeper was caught out of position and a teammate tried to defend without success as Grimmer finished.

That would be it for scoring in the first half.

“We should’ve scored four or five in the first half and we didn’t put it away and we made the game difficult,” Ellis said. “We left them with hope and that’s what happens when you leave a big, aggressive team hope — they’re going to come through and come through and come through.

“And you know, you can’t always count on referee calls … sometimes you’ve got to get through everything,” he added. “I was disappointed in a few things today, but not in my team.”

The game was very physical, pretty much a given when Sisters and Philomath take the field together.

Mateo Candanoza
Mateo Candanoza, junior, collides with a Sisters player in a physical game on Tuesday afternoon. (Photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

“It was the roughest game of the season by far,” said junior Mateo Candanoza, a Philomath player that came out of the contest with some bumps and bruises. “(Tonight), I’ll definitely need a lot of ice.”

Pittman and Grimmer teamed up again for Philomath’s second goal in the 77th minute for a 2-0 lead. Sisters had few offensive chances and when opportunities did come up, the Warriors’ defense shut it down almost immediately.

Philomath appeared a bit off after taking the pitch for the first time in 12 days. The Warriors’ hadn’t played since an 8-0 win over Sweet Home on Sept. 16.

“We were a little rusty, not as crisp as usual,” Candanoza said. “We were not connecting all of our passes the way we should have.”

Ellis said the time away from competition wasn’t all bad.

“Honestly, we were a little bit rusty today but the layoff was also nice,” he said. “We had a few injuries that we got to rest and we got to work on some fitness.”

Being in better shape than the opponent plays into Philomath’s strategy.

“If you noticed, I played my starting 11 almost the whole game unless I had to sub because they are fit,” Ellis said. “That comes down to our JV coach, Bill (Callender) — he does all of our fitness. We’re the fittest team I’ve seen.”

The victory marked Philomath’s fifth shutout of the season in seven games. The Warriors have allowed only two goals in 560 minutes of regular season play.


Philomath 2, Sisters 0
Tuesday, Sept. 28, at Philomath HS

TEAMS (RECORDS)1H2HFINAL
Sisters (4-2-1, 1-2-1)000
Philomath (7-0, 3-0)112
SCORING SUMMARY
First Half: 1, Philomath, Mark Grimmer (Silas Pittman), 13th minute.
Second Half: 2, Philomath, Grimmer (Pittman), 77th minute.

Conference Standings
(As of Sept. 28)

Oregon WestConfPct.AllPct.PFPA
Stayton
Philomath
Sisters
Cascade
Newport
Sweet Home
4-0
3-0
1-2-1
1-2
0-2-1
0-3
1.000
1.000
.375
.333
.167
.000
8-0
7-0
4-2-1
3-3
3-3-1
2-5
1.000
1.000
.643
.500
.500
.286
36
32
20
15
17
10
4
2
12
26
13
28

Tuesday, Sept. 21
Stayton 6, Cascade 1
Sisters 5, Sweet Home 1
Thursday, Sept. 23
Stayton 8, Sweet Home 0
Newport 1, Sisters 1
Tuesday, Sept. 28
Philomath 2, Sisters 0
Cascade 3, Newport 1
Thursday, Sept. 30
Philomath at Stayton, 6 p.m.
Cascade at Sisters, 6 p.m.
Sweet Home at Newport, 6 p.m.


JUNIOR VARSITY
Philomath 5, Sisters 0
Tuesday, Sept. 28, at Philomath HS

TEAMS1H2HFINAL
Sisters000
Philomath325
TEAM NOTES
In the win over Sisters, Nixon Mooney scored the game’s first goal. … Jesse Erickson scored two first-half goals. … Mooney scored another goal about midway through the second half. … Favian Aceve found the net for Philomath’s fifth goal. … The team’s next game on the schedule is Sept. 30 at Stayton with a start time of 4 p.m.

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