Amity slips and slides to winning season
AMITY — They might not have qualified for the playoffs. They might not have finished undefeated. The game might not have meant much in the grand scheme of 3A high school football in Oregon, but Friday night in Amity, the Warriors finished the season right.
And that meant everything.
It was Amity 26, Colton 6 on Senior Night and the final game of the regular season, giving the Warriors a winning record a year after going 3-7.
“It was a lot of fun,” Amity interim coach Ryan Eckman said, his khaki pants and blue polo shirt streaked with mud slung on him by celebrating players. “It was really good to see all the smiles, all the laughs, all the passion on the field.”
Eckman took over for Matt Arnold, who stepped down in the first week in October for personal and family reasons. The Warriors were 2-4 when Eckman and junior varsity coach Mark Hawley filled the void left by Arnold, and they reeled off three consecutive wins to finish the season on a high note.
In poor conditions Friday, the Warriors ran almost exclusively on their muddy field. Junior quarterback Brett Hilt led the way, rushing for approximately 114 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.
“The first couple of drives, they did a lot of the work and got a touchdown to change the momentum,” Eckman said.
Amity has played a lot of close games this season, and senior Kyle Nelson sad it was nice to rush out to a big lead so the Warriors could control the game.
“We came out and scored points in the first quarter and didn’t have to keep it close and come back at the end,” Nelson said.
Hilt scored the first touchdown of the game with 4:43 in the first quarter on a 10-yard quarterback keeper. Amity had the PAT blocked, and it led 6-0.
The Warriors forced the Vikings (6-4) to punt on their next possession, and on Amity’s third play, Hilt squirted threw the middle and sprinted 71 yards for another touchdown with 1:20 left in the first quarter. The two-point try was no good.
Colton continued to struggle to move the ball, and it fumbled away its next possession with 10:16 left in the second quarter. The Warriors again marched down the field, and on fourth-and-8 from the Colton 14, Hilt rolled right and found himself wide open. He streaked into the end zone for his third TD with 6:37 left in the first half. Hilt then hit Daniel Loop for the two-point conversion, and Amity led 20-0.
The scored was 20-0 at halftime. Amity scored on its first possession of the third quarter. Hilt hit Billy Hale in the end zone for the 24-yard touchdown with 9:07, and the two-point conversion was no good. Amity 26, Colton 0.
After that, the game came almost to a standstill at midfield with each team trading fumbles. Colton finally scored with 33.6 seconds left in the game, but by then players and fans were celebrating the bright finish to what had been a dismal season at the beginning of the month. Most of the players on the sideline crept up behind Eckman and poured their water bottles and dumped the water cooler on his head.
The Warriors unofficially gained 244 yards to Colton’s 86. Amity rushed for 213 yards. The Vikings rushed for 59.
With the win, Amity finishes the 2012 season in fourth place in the West Valley League with a 3-3 record.
Read the Nov. 6 print-edition of the News-Register for a feature on the Amity football team and its tumultuous season.