The Aloha Warriors and West Salem Titans battled it out in a wild affair last night in front of a swollen crowd of onlookers including many who came out to watch Thomas Tyner break the record. Maybe they also wanted a chance to see this electric athlete and this Warrior team one last time.
In a night filled with story lines we watched as Coach Chris Casey laid down his last game as the Warriors Head Coach. The man who came and transformed a school and a town far beyond the football team was one of the last guys to leave last night before the lights went out.
"He changed this town and these kids forever," offered John Tyner, father of the future Oregon Duck. "These kids never stopped working. It was a really good game."
Many thoughts about Casey will be shared and espoused for years to come as he moves on to become the Head Coach at George Fox College.
For me it was Coach Casey's nonstop drive to teach the kids that from humble roots great things can grow. That from blue collar surroundings strength can be found and harnessed. This is what he preached and the kids, parents, and communities bought in all the way.
"Always remain Humble and Hungry," Casey has said to the kids countless times.
Words to live by long after Football is over.
Tyner wowed the fans all night long with his speed, power, and highlight reel moves. He took the opening kick 50 yards and followed that by several drives up the field behind the talented Warrior line for the first of his 6 TD's. He finished the game with 161 yards rushing bringing his season total to 3,402 yards; the new Oregon record.
West Salem dug in and moved the ball scoring behind rising Tailback Ambrose Soh, their 5'10"- 185 pound tailback.
Tyner responded by taking the next kick 85 yards to the house for his second TD. After that the gloves came off in what would be 3 and 1/2 Quarters of bare knuckle brawling.
There were many highlights and just before half time Tyner busted a 50 yard run to push his rushing totals to 120 yards which earned him the all time single season record. Cory McCaffrey came out to support Thomas and was seen cheering as the Tyner took over the top spot. Cory holds several records that will last for years to come including the most yards ever in a career which we expect to last for a long time. But then who knows.
Soh and Titan's Sophomore QB Cade Smith were unflappable all night long and stayed in this thing to the end with their Squad. Behind one of the finest Offensive Line performances of the year Soh ran for a 6 TD's of his own and 196 yards. The shifty Soh has been emerging of late more and more and we knew he was pretty special.
Maybe no one knew he was this good and as the Titan's begin to move ahead his story is an emerging one. His father recently died and he wanted to make him proud on such a big stage as this game. No doubt he did that and more.
"This game was for him," said Soh clearly moved. '"I know he was watching me and the team. That drove me on every down."
As the game went down to the final paces Soh cracked off TD runs of 3 Yards and 52 yards. In the end there was just too much Titans. The team completed a masterful victory against a very good Warrior squad.
To wrap up the Soh story we will be following up with him and going indepth. Now however is a good time for media types, especially those working the recruiting angles, to give these kids space and respect. Therefore we have a policy of allowing these next few weeks to play out from the Team perspective and choose to go light on the stories.
We will say that in a surprise disclosure to us Ambrose Mother, Pamela, confirmed that she is the Aunt and he is the cousin of none other then Ndamukong Suh. So genetically the athletic prowess is there in the blood line. Suh's Father Michael was there and did a wonderful interview with us which we will run separately.
Now it is impossible to wrap up all these story lines without properly crediting the West Salem Titan's Coaching Staff. We have known Shawn Stanley almost since his career began at West Salem. He and this staff are top to bottom one of the most talented Coaching Staffs in the Pacific Northwest.
Last nights game showcased that. They adjusted to everything that Aloha did and they controlled the pace of the game; slowing the game by using time outs and having officials measure among other things. They quickly switched to aggressive onside kicks after Tyner broke that Opening kick to the house. Everything about their game plan and scheme was excellent.
As Casey moves on to the College ranks Stanley and his Titan crew look to be just getting started.
This game was the Game of the Night no doubt and we felt very fortunate to have been a part of it.
Here are interviews with Matthew Sommer (6'5"-295 Pound SR. Standout Linemen), Ambrose Soh (5'10"- 185 Pound SR Tailback) and Cade Smith (6'1"-185 Pound QB SOPH.) from West Salem!
Lastly here are 1300 Pictures for all of you Fans and Families to have! Free courtesy of NWPR-and OregonPreps.com. ENJOY!