Marshfield Pirates

Marshfield’s Justin Ainsworth Resigns as Football Coach

Marshfield Pirates, Justin Ainsworth
Justin Ainsworth
(Benjamin Brayfield/The World)

Marshfield High School head football coach Justin Ainsworth has resigned and has chosen to accept a job as a vice principal in Palmer, Alaska.

Ainsworth, a graduate from Marshfield himself, has been with his Alma mater for 10 years as part of the football staff and a history teacher. He replaced Kent Wigle in 2009 as head coach and went 10-28 in four seasons under the helm.

For Ainsworth, leaving a place he’s called home for 10 years will not be an easy task. In an email he commented on the difficulty.

“One side of me is really excited,” Ainsworth said. “I love it up there. I’ve been going up there since Tiffany (wife) and I were in college. The other part of me is just agonizing, there’s so many friendships here. I’m not leaving disgruntled or unhappy. I like it here. I’m happy with my job and with coaching and teaching.”

Ainswoth’s wife, Tiffany, is from Palmer, Alaska, where he will be relocating. Part of the decision was to move his family, which includes three young children ages five years old to 18 months old, closer to her family.

“(It was) the most agonizing decision that I’ve had to make as an adult,” Ainsworth said. “Lots of mixed emotions. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t excited about moving to Alaska; however, leaving friends, family, and the football program (is) heart-wrenching. Ultimately, I have to do what’s best for my family.”

Marshfield Assistant Principle Bryan Trendell believes that the team is in good hands as it moves down from 5A to 4A next season in the OSAA classification.

“This group of juniors is the first group that came through with the youth football program,” Trendell said. “Our JVs and our freshman team, they won a lot of football games last year.”

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Prep Hoops Roundup 2-09-2012

— Alex Shoemaker, EDN Sports
Irish Come Up With A Big Victory Over SpartansSheldon guard Dillon Miller came up with a huge performance last Thursday. That was more than enough for the Irish, as they easily blew out the Marist Spartans 75-42 on the road. 

Miller finished the game with 23 points, and contributed in all facets of the game.At his vital point guard position, essentially deciding the tempo of the entire offense, Miller has been instrumental in the huge surge of the Irish this season.Head coach Ron Lampe is very happy with the play of his senior captain.“Miller has been great,” said Lampe after the game. “He does everything I ask and more. He’s a great team player and we’re lucky to have him.”

The game was close through a quarter and a half when senior guard Sean Bellotti came up with a big block that completely changed the momentum of the game. Bellotti, son of former Oregon head football coach Mike Bellotti, has been a great contributor coming off of the bench.

Marist went into the second quarter with a 19-16 lead, but a one-sided second and early third quarter gave the Irish a 54-33 lead. After that, Sheldon never looked back.“We went on a good run there,” said Lampe. “We started hitting our jumpers as well as making smart passes and moving the ball. We didn’t want to have a shootout, but just play our style of basketball.”The Irish did just that, playing an up-tempo offense, and have been effective with that approach lately.After starting the season 2-4, Sheldon has gone on a 14-1 run (currently an eight game win streak) and have won most of those in convincing fashion. The Irish took care of business in their other two games this past week, blowing out North Eugene on the road 80-60 on Saturday and a 73-38 victory over Springfield.

The 16-5 Irish have secured a spot in the 6A playoffs. They can now either choose to rest up or try and improve their seeding. Sheldon plays Grant on Friday and South Eugene on Tuesday.

For the Spartans, their 12-8 record has them in the 5A tournament, but not at a very high seed. With two games this week against Marshfield (Friday) and Willamette (Tuesday), Marist could make a serious push with two likely victories.

Around the Rest of the League:

Churchill Lancers:

Churchill bounced back from a disappointing loss to Marshfield and swept their next three games in blowout fashion (margin of 30 points per game).  They cruised to winsover Willamette, Thurston, and Marist. The 17-4 Lancers are playoff bound and can rest for the next two weeks before the playoffs.  Churchill ranks No. 3 in 5A, and will play North Eugene and Springfield this week.North Eugene Highlanders:

At 8-12, North Eugene is close to taking its last breath. The Highlanders went 1-2 this week with a 15-point loss at Springfield, a 20-point loss against Sheldon,  followed by an 8-point win over South Eugene.North plays at Churchill on Friday, and then will be at home against Marshfield on Tuesday. North needs a sweep this week to have any shot at keeping their slim playoff hopes alive.South Eugene Axemen:

This was another bad week for South as they lost all three of their games.  Their 3-18 record and weak strength of schedule has them ranked 38th out of 43 teams in the 6A league.The Axemen will face Springfield and Sheldon this week, and they would do well to win one more game this season for momentum going into the 2012-13 campaign.Willamette Wolverines:

The 8-13 Wolverines are in a similar position as North Eugene. Willamette ranks a disappointing 26th in the 5A rankings, due to their poor OWP (opponent winning percentage).After an 86-41 blowout loss to Churchill on Thursday, the Wolverines bounced back with a much needed win over Marshfield.  The Wolverines play at Thurston on Friday and at Marist on Tuesday. They need to win both for playoff hopes and overall pride.Prep Game Of The Week:EDN will be live-blogging again.  This time, we’ll be at Sheldon on Friday night, when the Irish face the visting Grant Generals.  The game is a potential playoff preview of sorts, so stop by the website around 7pm to catch all the action.

Prep Hoops Roundup: 1-26-2012


— Alex Shoemaker, EDN

Miller Drills Buzzer Beater For An Irish Win Over Lancers
Two of the state’s top teams went at it last Thursday evening. Churchill and Sheldon faced off and this one looked like it had all the makings of an OSAA  classic. It certainly met, if not exceeded, those expectations.
Churchill’s Malik Morgan put in an uncontested shot under the basket with less than five seconds remaining in the game to give the Lancers a 61-59 lead.  But that left Sheldon’s Dillon Miller plenty of time for a play of his own. He drove the ball down the court, and sunk a 35-foot 3-point basket as time expired to give the now 11-5 (7-1) Irish a 62-61 victory.

“It was something special,” said Miller after the game. “I wanted to drive the ball and get as close as I could – I’m glad it went in. This was a great game.” Miller had one the best performances of his career with 22 points, 15 of which came in the second half of the game.The Sheldon student section stormed the court and swarmed Miller in exuberance that you can only find in prep basketball.

“I was trying to make sure I didn’t get pushed up against the railings,” said Miller, who could have easily been injured in the post-game celebrations. “Luckily there were people between me and the wall and I didn’t get squished.

On the other side, Churchill’s Morgan made his last shot on a pass from his brother Emmanuel.  The latter finished the game with a team high 21 points, 18 of which came from the three point line.The game settled down after a rough start. There were three technical fouls in the second quarter by Churchill’s David Shedrick and Aaron Ingram, as well as the ejection of Sheldon’s Connor Strahm.  He was on fire while he was in the game, scoring 11 points in less than a full half of play. When asked about the ejection, Sheldon head coach Ron Lampe said he didn’t see why his star player got tossed.

“I didn’t see what Connor did,” said Lampe. “From what I heard, he just grabbed the ball from him (Ingram). We’ll take a look at the tape and go from there.”

It initially appeared that the absence of Strahm would play a big role in the game. After his ejection,  the Lancers scored six of the next eight points and all came from under the basket. However, Sheldon’s interior defense began to force multiple blocks and finished in a strong way.The Lancers were able to bounce back quickly, though.  After smashing South Eugene 78-50 on Tuesday night, they’re now 14-3 on the season. Moreover,  they’re still in a great position to compete for the OSAA 5A State Championship. Churchill’s next game is on January 31st at Marshfield.

After a sluggish start to their season, the win over Churchill moved Sheldon into first place in their division.  The Irish kept their momentum on Tuesday by edging Marshfield 49-40.  They’ll next play at Willamette on Friday.

But if you liked the action of last Thursday’s game, the rematch might interest you. The Irish and Lancers will meet again in the season finale on February 17th at Churchill.

Around the Rim: What’s happening with the other teams

North Eugene:

The Highlanders are on the outside looking in at playing in the state tournament after two frustrating losses.  North lost 76-70 at Willamette on Thursday night.  They followed that up with a 62-51 defeat at Thurston this past Tuesday. With a 6-10 record and eight games remaining , the Highlanders practically need to run the table if the wish to compete for the state championship.

North’s next game is at Marist on Friday evening. Tip-off is set for 7pm.

South Eugene:

Besides Springfield (more on them momentarily), the 2-13  Axemen have been the most disappointing team in Eugene prep basketball. There is no chance of post season action, so South can begin working on a run in the 2012-13 season.

South’s next game is at Marshfield on Friday.


Speaking of those Millers,  they weren’t very happy last Friday. They lost 62-56 at home against Marshfield that evening.  But they did show a glimmer of future hope on Monday, when they squeaked out a 73-70 win over Willamette. Now 3-12 on the season, they have no hope of any postseason action.  Still, with three juniors, a sophomore and a freshman starting, this team has plenty to look forward to next year.  Their next game is at Thurston on Friday.


The 5-11 Colts are struggling to find an identity. Thurston started the season at 0-5, then went on a nice 3-game winning streak to show some life. Unfortunately, they followed that up with a four game skid.

The fourth loss was a hard fought 52-46 affair against Marist last Thursday with Cameron Cook leading the team with 18 points.  That defeat essentially ended any shot of getting into the playoffs for the Colts.

But they may still be a dangerous team down the stretch. Thurston got back in the winning column after beating North Eugene 62-51 on Tuesday night.The Colts’ next game is on Friday at home against Springfield.


As mentioned above, the 10-5 Spartans defeated Thurston 52-46 last Thursday night. Marist will likely enter the 5A tournament and compete with Churchill for that state title.

Their next game is on Friday when North Eugene pays a visit.


The Wolverines are now 7-9 after a 76-70 victory over North Eugene. Their next game is on the 27th against Sheldon.

Special Notice:

The Sheldon at Willamette game will mark a first for the EDN sports section.  We’ll be doing a live blog with photos and analysis beginning at 7pm.  Should be an interesting experiment, so head over to our website on Friday evening to check it out under the LIVE! link in the top right area.

Prep Basketball Roundup 1-19-2012

— Alex Shoemaker and Sam Finley, EDN Sports

Sheldon Heating Up, Springfield Rebuilding

The Sheldon Irish could be the hottest team in OSAA basketball. After a shaky 2-4 start,  they’ve bounced back big by winning seven of their last eight (with the only loss coming at Lincoln on Saturday).  With all the talent on the Sheldon roster, it seemed obvious that they would eventually return to winning form.

On Thursday at Springfield, the Irish cruised for an easy 69-49 win with their athleticism fully on display. Despite a poor free throw shooting night by the Irish, only converting 13-of-22 attempts, their ability to drive the lane and convert on second and third shot opportunities buried the Millers quickly.

“I didn’t want to get into a shooting contest with them,” said Irish head basketball coach Ron Lampe about Thursday’s victory.  “We didn’t shoot well in the first half – just 9/24 from the field. We stepped it up in the second half and played better as a team.”

The Irish did just that. With a 31-21 lead, Sheldon went on a 10-5 run to open the third quarter to extend the lead to 15 points. In order to try and stop the bleeding, Springfield coach Grant McHill pulled all five players out and sent in five reserve players. The switch initially caught the Irish off-guard, as Springfield moved from relying on long-range shots all game to a more high-tempo offense and aggressive defense that forced numerous Irish turnovers. They went on an 8-2 run to close out the 3rd quarter. But Sheldon exploded offensively in the final quarter for 28 points, draining nearly every shot they took. Senior Dale Baker finished with a game high 24 points and was huge defensively with multiple blocks.

The 9 -5 Irish are in a solid position to make a run in the OSAA 6A playoffs this spring, and Lampe thinks he knows why it took awhile to get things right.

“Football,” said Lampe. “About 10 of our guys  play football.  We had fewer practices, fewer reps than everyone else. We’re starting to get on track.”

As for the 2-10 Millers, this is a rebuilding period.  With no Seniors starting, including a freshman starting at point guard, this team won’t have a lot to play for this season. But there’s always next year.

Churchill Is Ready For A Big Run but North Has A Tough Road Ahead

The Churchill Lancers defeated the North Eugene Highlanders 60-46 on Saturday in a game that was closer than the score would suggest. The teams traded baskets for the first three quarters with Churchill pulling away with the win in the fourth quarter.

While the Lancers dominated down low, what won the game for them was their ability to shoot the ball from the 3-point range. They hit seven three pointers in the game, five of them coming from junior guard Emanuel Morgan.  He finished the game with 22 points.What makes the Lancers so dangerous is that anyone one the team is willing and does shoot long-range shots. They play a style of basketball reminiscent of the Oregon Ducks from 2007 when they used a run and gun style of play. The guards, both Emanuel and Malik Morgan as well as senior Aaron Ingram are exceptional. They can drive into the paint and either dish it off down low, pass out to an open shooter in the corner or take it hard for a layup.

“We play hard,” said head coach Kelly Bokn. “We’re a tough team – a physical team.”

At their peak playing ability, the Lancers are nearly unbeatable. Meanwhile, the Highlanders are the most experienced and “aged” team in OSAA basketball. All five of their starters are seniors, and only four players on the team are not seniors. What makes North dangerous is that they don’t have one player they solely rely on. Austin Sand and Andrew Moore are both phenomenal guards, and Kyle Giubbini and Taylor Ingram are great post players.

At 6-8, with huge a win over Marist earlier in the year, it’s hard to fully make out this team. They have the potential to go on a huge run into the playoffs, but they have a difficult schedule ahead with rematches against Marist, Sheldon and Churchill.  (A 60-45 loss at Marshfield on Tuesday didn’t help matters).The Lancers, on the other hand, are already getting geared up for a playoff push. After a 91-57 win against Springfield on Tuesday,  their overall record is 13-2. Now comes a big test on Thursday. They’ll play at Sheldon in what is probably the top game in the state this week.Both teams like to attack the paint and get their opponents into early foul trouble, so look for a lot of turnovers, steals and free throws in the contest. The matchup of Churchill’s Ingram and Sheldon’s Connor Strahm will be the matchup to watch.

“We believe in ourselves,” said Bokn. “Let’s see how far we can go.”

Games To Watch For This Week

  • Churchill at Sheldon:  As stated above, this is probably the game of the week. Two of the best teams in the state will go at it Thursday evening.  Tipoff is set for 7pm.
  • Thurston at Marist:  A case of two schools heading in opposite directions on Thursday night. The Colts are struggling this year with a 4-10 record.  On the other side of the coin,  Marist sits at 9-5, and is looking to assure themselves a playoff trip. Tipoff is at 7pm.
  • Willamette at North Eugene: The Wolverines and Highlanders are batting on Thursday to salvage their seasons.  Willamette (6-9) and North Eugene (6-8) both have losing records, but the OSAA playoffs are not out of reach for either team. It’ll simply require a little luck and a lot of wins.  Tipoff is scheduled for 7pm.
  • Lincoln at South Eugene: Can the Axemen catch a break? No.  South Eugene (2-12) got hammered by Sheldon 90-39 this past Tuesday night, and the Lincoln Cardinals won’t make life any easier on Friday evening.  True, Lincoln has an overall 8-9 record, but they’re coming off two consecutive wins against Sheldon and Thurston.  Tipoff is at 5:30pm.
  • Marshfield at Sheldon:  A few days after the Irish host Churchill, they’ll face a stiff challenge on Tuesday.  The 9-5 Marshfield Pirates are coming to town, and will probably have momentum after they play at Springfield on on Thursday. Not saying Springfield won’t win against Marshfield, but it’s unlikely they will.  Could be a pivotal game for both teams. Tipoff is at 7pm.

Sheldon lightyears ahead of Crater…


Sheldon 42, Crater 0

The Sheldon Irish had no problem kicking the Crater Comets into another solar system.  Putting up 464 yards of total offense, the Irish cruised to a 42-0 victory on Friday night.

Quarterback Dillion Miller led the attack with 216 passing yards and two touchdowns.  Senior running back Ryan Land also did his part with 127 yards and two scores of his own.

The Irish defense was equally tough, holding the Comets’ to a paltry 28 yards of total offense.

The victory kept Sheldon’s undefeated season intact with an overall 6-0 record.  More importantly, with their 4-0 Southwest conference record, they kept pace at the top of the standings with South Medford.

South Medford 45, Thurston 32

The South Medford Panthers remained tied for first place in the SWC with a 45-32 victory over the visting Thurston Colts on Friday.  Panthers quarterback Jack Singler had a solid evening, throwing for 256 yards and three touchdowns.

Thurston’s Chad Olson also had a decent outing with three touchdown passes.  But the Colts simply could not keep pace with the Panthers late in the game.

Roseburg 61, South Eugene 7

Those poor Axemen just can’t even catch a break at home. South Eugene fell again on Friday, this time to Roseburg in a 61-7 blowout.  The loss dropped the Axemen’s overall record to 0-6, and their demise was relatively quick against the Indians.

Roseburg catapulted to a 28-7 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. The Indians’ record is now an overall 5-1, and they remain a game behind Sheldon and South Medford in the SWC standings.

Willamette 55, Marshfield 13

The Wolverines’ octane was in full force on Friday against the Pirates.  Willamette showed little mercy, crushing Marshfield 55-13.

Willamette running back Jordan Visarraga ran for 183 yards and four touchdowns.  Quarterback Dustin Leber also had a hot hand, throwing for 222 yards and two scores on the night.

The Wolverines extended their Midwestern League record to 3-1, and have a pivotal matchup in a few days.  They’ll visit top ranked Marist in a game that could very well decide the winner of the MWL title.

Marist 49, Churchill 19

The top-ranked Spartans got it going early and often against the Lancers.  Marist scored 35 points before halftime in a 49-19 laugher over visting Churchill.

Spartans’ running back Greg Park ran for 171 yards on the night.  Quarterback Kamerun Smith went 12-for-27, throwing for 156 yards and four touchdowns.

Marist’s overall record is now 6-0, and they’ll host Willamette this coming Friday.

Springfield 35, Eagle Point 34 (OT)

It was a crazy affair at Silke Field on Friday night, as the Springfield Millers squeaked by the Eagle Point Eagles 35-34 in overtime.

The Millers trailed 28-21 with just over a minute to go in the fourth quarter, before quarterback Britton Auxier tied it up with a touchdown pass to Dylan Piquette.

Eagle Point scored a touchdown on their possession in overtime, taking a 34-28 lead. (They missed an ensuing two-point conversion attempt).

Springfield answered with a three yard keeper by Auxier, and kicker Ashton Summers hit the extra point that turned out to be the difference of the ballgame.

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