JOHN DAY - Early this week, Grant Union High School soccer coach Chris James said it succinctly:
"We need to win the next three games to get to go to state."
That included a Tuesday, Oct. 19, contest, when the Prospectors were set to host Central Christian. Results were unavailable at the Eagle presstime.
Other "must wins" include matches at Irrigon this Saturday, Oct. 23, and at Culver next Tuesday, Oct. 26.
The Prospectors remained in fourth place in the 3A/2A/1A Special District 5 after a 3-1 win over Burns last Tuesday, Oct. 12 in John Day, and a 0-8 loss at Umatilla last Saturday, Oct. 16.
The Prospectors saw a much-improved Burns team, with a Hilander scoring the first goal a few minutes into the game.
Grant Union worked hard, especially in the second half, to keep Burns from scoring any more goals in the game. Prospector co-captain Jared Stearns scored two goals in the second half, and Omar Medina, one.
"Burns was Burns," said James, of the timbre of the game. "I have to applaud our kids. Burns made some cheap fouls, and our team didn't retaliate against them."
"The Umatilla game was a tough team for us to play," James added. Due to school absence issues and illness of several players, Grant Union was shorthanded. Four freshmen were moved up to start the game, the coach said.
"We did OK," James said, of the game which provided experience for the younger and less-experienced players. They were up against the No. 2-ranked team in the league.
James early this week, was hopeful for Grant Union's upcoming games: No. 5 Central Christian; No. 7 Irrigon; and No. 3 Culver, right above the Prospectors. "Every game is important to play well," he said.
The final league game of the season will be Saturday, Oct. 30, when the Prospectors host the undefeated No. 1 Riverside Pirates.