The last time the Aloha Warriors (7-1, #6 in OSAA) were a game away from winning the Metro League Championship the great Thomas Tyner was on the squad and the boys from Aloha were on their way to a State Championship. With a win over the Southridge Skyhawks this week the Warriors will have a shot at the league title. Their cross-town Rivals down Farmington Road, the Beaverton Beavers (7-1, #7 in the OSAA), take on the mighty Jesuit Crusaders (6-2, #3 in the OSAA) in the leagues last game. If the Beavers win and Aloha wins the Beavers will take the Metro as they will be undefeated in League. But if Jesuit wins we will have a 3-way tie for the League Title it appears. No matter what happens the METRO League has risen back up as a power league in the State football landscape.
Aloha is having a terrific year highlighted by a 42-41 win over Jesuit; getting that old monkey off their back. At 7-1 with only a loss to METRO rival Sunset, the Warriors have had an exhilarating season. It has been filled with big moments and big plays as recent wins against North Medford 35-33 and Mountainside 22-16 have pushed the boys the last two weeks. Yet they have found a way to win.
The team has deep talent with some break out seasons for 3-year starter QB Timothy Dennis, wide receivers Tanner Volk and Regan Wilson, and a host of others. Dennis is leading the State 6A (Big School) division in passing with over 2,200 yards and 27 TDs. Volk and Regan are not only both in the Top 10 in receiving yards and TD’s but are as fine a pair of wide receivers as I have ever seen on one team.
But there is more at play here than talent. Aloha felt the sting of losing for decades prior to the arrival of coaching legend Chris Casey. In their finest season (2010) they went 13-1 and won it all in convincing fashion. The entire community, often referred to as “blue-collar”, seemed to rise up behind the team and that had a lasting effect. The Warriors have remained competitive in the years since that legendary season even after Casey left to take the head coaching job at George Fox College. His footprint on the program, the youth kids, and the coaches has remained. So has Warrior Head Coach Bill Volk who has rallied this year’s group to become a potent contender to win it all.
Volk credits the success this year to the theme that Casey so indelibly left behind. Family.
“It’s a Total team effort. #FAMILY that is playing as one unit. Everyone is all in with one another,” said Volk.
He is right- I can see it and so can anyone watching. They are not the most talented team- others have multiple D-1 recruits, but they have each other and they have the stuff it takes to win it all. #Family is indeed what it will take to win in these final weeks with the weather getting cold, the pressure to win boiling up, and injuries and fatigue plaguing teams.
“I mean I don’t think it’s a secret anymore but the family atmosphere the team has bought into this is a huge part of our success. We play for each other and not ourselves, we don’t care about our individual stats and highlights, we care about winning no matter how that is,” offered QB Dennis when asked.
In my opinion, having watched this process play out the past 50 years, it will be the boys of Fall who have never had their name in the paper nor been talked about that will make the difference and win it all.
Unsung heroes so often carry the day and these tough-nosed Warriors have plenty of them. It will be those kids who know what it is like to go without and who do not have the finer things in life who will make the difference. I want to encourage every kid on every team who fits that description to put their personal stamp on what is left of this year. You boys will turn the tide and win it all- so be ready!
Back on the sideline this year are several past players and among them are Thomas Tyner and John Schaefer- those 2010 Champions are creating film and imagery of the current group that is very powerful – clad in incredible jerseys the Warriors are shown paying tribute to the men and women of the armed forces in last weeks game. Watch that video here-
The power of #FAMILY is alive at Aloha High School – and it is powering this team into the OSAA postseason. NWPR sends our love and support to you all!