PHS seniors
PHS recognized its seniors at Saturday’s game. From left, Mark Grimmer, Dylan Bell, Noah Aynes and Blaise Pindell. (Photo submitted by Molly Bell)

The stage is set for a No. 1 Philomath vs. No. 2 Stayton boys soccer showdown on Tuesday afternoon. The Eagles defeated Sweet Home back on Oct. 19 by an 8-0 count while the Warriors defeated Newport 8-0 in a game that had to be moved to Saturday.

Philomath won on Stayton’s home field, 1-0, on Sept. 30 when Mark Grimmer headed a corner kick into the net in the game’s 58th minute.

“I think the Stayton game is going to be a battle, it’s going to be something to watch,” PHS coach Dave Ellis said Saturday after his team beat Newport. “I’m interested to see what adjustments they’re going to make against us after the first game. I suspect they’re not; I suspect they’re just going to try to do what they do better. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Philomath is having a historic season at a level not seen since the 2012 state championship year when the Warriors went into double-overtime to beat La Salle Prep. The PHS boys have never finished the regular season with a perfect record, coming closest in 2000 with a 15-0-1 record. That team tied Seaside in the third game and ultimately ended up 17-1-1. In the playoffs, Philomath beat South Umpqua and Marist before falling in two overtimes to Catlin Gabel in the semifinals.

“We’re sitting in a very happy place,” Ellis said about the team’s spot in the league standings as well as the OSAA rankings. “We’re guaranteed a share of the league championship and we’re virtually guaranteed — I don’t think we can drop out of the top two (in the rankings) — which would mean home-field advantage to the state finals if we can get that far.”

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Beating Stayton a second time will take an exceptional performance. The Eagles saw a 20-game winning streak snapped against Philomath and since that loss, have outscored four opponents by a combined 28-0.

“Stayton’s going to come into the game on Tuesday with something to prove and I understand that,” Ellis said, “but we’re going to be able to go into that game and enjoy it and not have to play with any kind of fear, not that we play with a whole lot as it is.”

In the win Saturday over Newport, Grimmer had his latest hat trick with goals in the eighth, 40th and 68th minutes. Silas Pittman, Dylan Bell, Mateo Candanoza, Seth Arthurs and Noah Aynes also had goals.

Philomath led 5-0 at halftime and ended the game on the mercy rule in the 72nd minute.

“We knew what they were going to try for the most part and we knew what we needed to do to break them down,” Ellis said. “It’s the end of the season and we’re a well-oiled machine for the most part at this point.”

Grimmer is having a spectacular season with 24 goals. In fact, he’s scored in every single game.

“His year has been unbelievable,” Ellis said. “They all try to line up and load up to stop him and nobody does.”

The Philomath-Stayton game is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start on the Warriors’ home pitch.

Philomath 8, Newport 0
Saturday, Oct. 23, at Philomath HS

Newport (4-7-2, 1-6-2)000
Philomath (13-0, 9-0)538
First Half: 1, Philomath, Silas Pittman, 3rd minute; 2, Philomath, Mark Grimmer, 8th minute; 3, Philomath, Dylan Bell, 13th minute; 4, Mateo Candanoza (Favian Aceves), 30th minute; 5, Grimmer (Candanoza), 40th minute.
Second Half: 6, Philomath, Seth Arthurs (Candanoza), 55th minute; 7, Philomath, Grimmer (Bell), 68th minute; 8, Noah Aynes (Bell), 72nd minute.

Conference Standings
(As of Oct. 23)

Oregon WestConfPct.AllPct.PFPA
Sweet Home

Tuesday, Oct. 19
Sisters 2, Newport 1
Stayton 8, Sweet Home 0
Thursday, Oct. 21
Philomath 4, Sisters 1
Cascade 1, Newport 1
Saturday, Oct. 23
Philomath 8, Newport 0
Cascade 3, Sweet Home 1
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.