In a showdown between the top two boys soccer teams in the Oregon West Conference, Philomath and Stayton played to a 1-1 tie on Tuesday night.
The Warriors needed to win the game to claim the league title despite finishing the regular season unbeaten. Stayton finished first with a 7-0-3 conference record with Philomath second at 6-0-4.
Both the Eagles and Warriors punched their tickets to the 4A state playoffs as the No. 1 and No. 3 seeds, respectively. With the two teams on opposite sides of the bracket, it’s possible that they could meet again in the 4A championship game — if both make it that far, of course.
In Tuesday’s game, the Eagles (11-0-3 overall) went up 1-0 with a goal in the 19th minute. On the play, PHS coach Dave Ellis said the defense wasn’t able to effectively deal with a bouncing ball and Stayton was able to slip it past Warriors keeper Teddy Benbow.
The game remained at 1-0 well into the second half. In the 67th minute, Philomath (9-0-4 overall) scored the equalizer when sophomore Silas Pittman scored on a high back-post header off a corner kick from senior Mateo Candanoza.
Philomath now heads to the playoffs to try to defend its state championship. Stayton, meanwhile, will try to reverse last year’s fortunes when the Eagles also entered state as the No. 1 seed but was upset in the first round on penalty kicks by 16th-seeded Ontario.