To the Coaches and Players at Cascade Christian,
Three days later and still hurts. Knowing what the Cascade Christian Challengers coaching staff and players invested in the 2012 campaign to come up just short against the Dayton Pirates is painful. It makes a fan wish there was something that would offer consolation for all those who left it all on the field in that 34-28 thriller.
Make no mistake, the Dayton Pirates are worthy champions. QB Nathan Bernards made brilliant decisions in the passing game, the line opened up holes and bought time for their perimeter players, and what can you say about Forrest Garcia, other than to say he is an electrifying player. Coach Unger and the Pirates are to be congratulated for doing what no other Challenger opponent could do in 2012: score points, make timely stops defensively, and win against Cascade Christian.
With that said, the Challengers have much to be proud of. 13 wins is a season record in the 20 plus year history of the football program; that's even better than the 11-2 mark of the 2006 2-A state champion Challengers.
This season's Challengers also finally solved arch-rival Santiam Christian. After crushing recent defeats in the regular season and heartbreaking losses in the 2010 and 2011 semi-finals, Cascade Christian delivered a dominating 33-7 season-opening victory against the 2011 3-A State Champions.
This season's victories weren't cheap, either. Cascade Christian also defeated another defending champion in the Gold Beach Panthers. Other victories came against top ten 3-A opponents in Rainier, Pleasant Hill and Scio. Other wins came against 4-A squads from Brookings- Harbor and Henley, and against 2-A semifinalist Lost River.
The defense dominated, the passing game evolved to a new level of excellence and the Challenger running game exceeded even its own storied past. The special teams were also indeed special with the big plays they contributed in the kicking game, and the coverage and return units.
Most of all, the Challengers represented, as they like to say. They well-represented their school, their families, their fans and their Lord. Week after week, opposing coaches refer to Cascade Christian as "classy," and recognize they represented something good, even though they may not fully understand all that's behind it. If they think about it for just a few moments, they know that "Christian" is Cascade's middle name, and that means something to Coach Gettman, his staff of dedicated volunteer assistants who love the kids like their own, and to the players who "go 100 miles an hour for the glory of God," as longtime coach Andy Maurer liked to say.
It was a good season team. No- it was a GREAT season. May the players of this team one day look back with fond memories of football, family and fellowship of the 2012 campaign.
It was something special.
Cascade Christian broadcaster and graduate, class of 1982