Adair Village, Ore. -- When asked about the expectations for this season, Santiam Christian senior Mason Wirth doesn't mince words.
"Championship or bust, almost," he says. "Something like that. I'd say we gotta get depth, more of a deep postseason run is where we wanna be at. I don't think we can accept anything less than that."
High expectations for an Eagles team that some might say overachieved in 2018.
"We were really young last year," explains Santiam Christian head coach Matt Bain. "So we had a bunch of sophomores that were in starting roles. We had a freshman that was starting at quarterback and we had a couple of seniors that were hurt and so basically put a glorifed JV team out there."
Which meant some growing pains then, and may turn into valuiable experience now.
"We were a bunch of young guys and hadn't lost yet but hadn't really been pushed by a good team," Bain says. "Walked out ther and that was Scio and Scio always plays physical. They came and punched us in the mouth and we just thought we'd show up and win and that's not how it works."
The depth of young players and that adversity has meant a higher sense of trust between players.
" It's really good for the team," says senior Deegan Black. "Because now if someone goes down or you need a breather you know that that freshman that's now a sophomore can step up and take your position."
And it helps foster a competitive mentality.
"I think it was just mentality," Black concludes. "I think we had a good mentality last year but I think it kinda started slipping as we started going deeper and started winning more and I think if we keep the mentality we'll start to be pretty good."
So as Mason Wirth said: the expectations are high. Championship or Bust.