With half a starting lineup on the sidelines with injuries, the only thing missing for the visiting Eagles last Friday night, Nov. 2, at Lowell, would have been a patched up drum and fife corps playing the McKenzie Fight song. Head Coach Neil Barrett’s troops would have faced a daunting task in defeating the Red Devils had they been healthy. Mt. West League rival Lowell has been ranked in the OSAA top ten rankings all season and may have a legitimate shot at bringing home a State Trophy in a few weeks. McKenzie (6-4) gave it all they had and didn’t disappoint their backers by making the best of a bad situation, however the Eagles were clearly out-manned and outgunned from the kickoff and the game was decided midway through the first quarter.
Lowell (9-1 overall) wrapped up an undefeated Mt. West League Season and will host Echo in the first round of the OSAA State 1A 8-man Football Championships. Crow, the 2nd seed out of the League will travel to Dufur and Triangle Lake, the League’s 3rd seed, will have the privilege of traveling to Imbler. The Eagles lone score came in the third quarter when Eric Huffman, a sophomore running back, rambled from 26 yards out to notch the score. Huffman is one of six sophomores and two juniors returning next season to lead a very young team. Juniors Bailey Adams (Running Back/Safety) and Casey Mitchell (Center/Defensive End) bring plenty of experience having each started most games the past two seasons for the Eagles. Huffman will be joined by fellow sophomores Jeffrey Bayer (Off. Line/Def. Line), Dorian Dilley (Off. Line/Def. Line), Alex Nastasiuk (Wide Receiver/Def. End), Dillon Garr (Off. Line/Def. Line), and Blue Bloomer (Running Back).
The Eagles will lose and sorely miss 7 seniors this season to graduation. McKenzie Quarterback/Linebacker Victor Vidal, hard hitting Running Back/Linebacker Josh Ness, speedy Wide Receiver/Linebacker Blake Anderson, solid Offensive Lineman/Nose Guard Jesse Eaton and Wide Receiver/Linebacker Jon Mahody, all contributed greatly in last season’s undefeated Mt. West League Championship and appearance in the State Playoffs. California transfer Wide Receiver/Safety Caleb Scrivner, and Harrisburg transfer Running Back/Def. Lineman Seth Bursom contributed significantly to this season’s 6-4 overall record.
Photo By Corey Culp
Ayshia Seiler at the Saturday volleyball match with Portland Lutheran.
Last season it was the Perrydale Pirates. This season the visiting Portland Lutheran Blue Jays met McKenzie on the Eagle’s home court and eliminated Head Coach Dan Brenner’s team from the OSAA State Volleyball Championships. Clearly, as in last season’s match up, the Eagles had their work cut out for them. Portland Lutheran, 2nd seed out of the Valley Ten League near Portland, came in ranked 4th in the OSAA State Rankings with a 19-5 overall record. McKenzie, with a 30-11 overall record, ended the regular season ranked 11th in the final poll. Portland Lutheran, led by 5’7 senior Middle Hitter Denisse Cruz and 6’2 junior Middle Hitter Kaitlin Howard, dispatched the Eagle crew in three straight sets, 25-19, 25-20, and 25-18. The Eagles were never out of any of the sets, but could not turn the momentum around enough to either hold back any Blue Jay comebacks or shut down the Portland Lutheran offense. Time and again the Eagles would make a run at taking control only to succumb to an unforced error or a tough kill from either Cruz or Howard. McKenzie’s Makaila Hiddleston’s stat line included 7 kills and 9 digs on the afternoon, while teammate Peace Shepherd added another 7 kills. Sydney King led her team with 10 digs, several hard shots from the above Blue Jay duo, while Ayshia Seiler added 9 digs and 7 assists.
Photo By Corey Culp
Kaila Hiddleston goes up against Portland Lutheran.
McKenzie graduates four key players from this year’s outstanding season. The seasoned senior athletes will be greatly missed as they represented the Eagles in the last four OSAA State Volleyball Championships. The Eagles won the 4th place State Trophy in 2009, the 6th place State Trophy in 2010, and made the 2nd Round State Playoffs the last two seasons. Those athletes are Sydney King, Outside Hitter/Setter, Samantha Winningham, Setter/Right-side Hitter, Peace Shepherd, Middle Blocker, and Corinna Price, Outside Hitter. The Eagles also graduate senior Sarah Rux, Middle Blocker, who returned this year to the squad from a year at Sheldon High School. The tank doesn’t dry up for Head Coach Dan Brenner however as he returns Juniors Makaila Hiddleston, Outside Hitter/Middle Blocker, Shyla Harlan, Outside Hitter, Ayshia Seiler, Setter, and Donna Clark, Libero. Coach Brenner also returns key Sophomores Buggy Hiddleston, Middle Blocker, Katey Totten, Setter/Middle Blocker, Tamera Satchell, Outside Hitter, and Aly Mathews, Outside Hitter.