Friday 3:30pm – Vans and trucks loaded and on the road to Seaside. All players and coaches were excited and enthusiastic about getting to the coast and playing some football. We got stuck in traffic on I5 south of Albany for approximately an hour. Once we got north of Salem it was smooth traveling all the way to Seaside HS.
As the sun was setting on the Oregon coast a few brave players decided to take a dip in the estuary. As refreshing as it looks, the players were happy to jump in a warm shower afterwards.
Saturday morning came very early for a few of our players. Lights were turned on and wake up was pretty easy, as players were eager to play some football. We took 2 teams and both had a full day of football in which each team got to play 4 games in nice 60 degree overcast weather. All players and coaches got a little more sun than we all thought through the fog. Some of our athletes with very fair skin learned the importance of sun screen. Both teams played well! In my opinion the most impressive thing that came from Saturday was the fact that the athletes learned to play the game with passion! Passion is a major component in a successful football program. Both teams started cheering and encouraging for the other. Other teams coaches made positive comments about our program and players and what they were doing.
Saturday evening after playing a long day of football, athletes were pretty excited to get into the nice cool water. Players had a blast at the beach area which was 100 yards from the school where we were staying. A few athletes went “Survivor” on us and caught a live crab with their bare hands, another dug and found a clam.
Athletes were exhausted, but I think the coaches were even more exhausted!!! Athletes were very tired and sore, as we had some down time before bed to talk and draw some plays up on the white board. Bed time was earlier and athletes fell asleep much faster Saturday night than Friday night.
Sunday morning wake up was not as smooth as the day before. Athletes did get up and get some food in them and started moving around which was good to see. Sunday football was a double elimination bracket.
Willamette Team B started the tourney with a close loss to the eventual runner ups Mt. View (WA). Team B turned the tide on their next opponent Ilwaco (WA), winning by two touchdowns. Team B then had a great 3rd game of the day when they played Horizon Christian and took them into Overtime, but eventually fell to the Hawks. Great weekend of Football for this young group of athletes! All coaches are very proud of this group!
Willamette Team A started off bracket play a little shaky, but with some big time plays from the Defense we beat the home team Seaside. We then played Horizon Christian in the Quarter Finals, our offense was playing a little better and our defense was again making some crucial stops when we needed them. We matched up with Mt. View (WA) in the Semi-Final game and clinched the game with an Interception for Touchdown. We then got to watch the other teams duke it out in the consolation side of the bracket to see who we would match up to in the championship game. The athletes were very happy to get the break in play and rest their legs. Mt. View (WA) was riding high into the championship game after outscoring Horizon Christian in an offensive shootout. Willamette Team A started out on offense and marched down and scored with ease, and then got a stop on their first defensive possession. Both teams were very emotional and fighting through a lot of pain and tiredness. Willamette athletes took control on defense with 3 total interceptions in the game and scoring 3 offensive touchdowns, and then controlling the ball and the clock to finish the game. Players were exhausted but very excited to finish the tournament 4-0 and bring home the SHIP!!! I am very proud of how these young men handled adversity and played through the weekend.
Each and every athlete became a little more mentally tough this weekend, and learned that when you play fast and with passion, good things happen.
Thank you to the parents and families that attended and helped support the athletes. Thank you for the snacks and food that was brought, I know the athletes appreciate it.
Thank you to the coaches that took time this weekend to help make a great experience for these athletes, we could not have done it without you.
Most importantly thank you to the athletes that made this trip. The athletes worked hard and learned a lot. After this weekend, I hope all athletes have increased their passion for the game as well as their respect for the game.