Following canceled season amid hazing scandal, Philomath High football returns
PHILOMATH, Ore. -- It's an exciting week for football fans in Philomath. This week marks the return of their high school football program.
Last season was canceled after a hazing scandal at a summer football camp. Six varsity players were cited with the juvenile equivalent of harassment and assault charges, rocking the tight-knit Philomath community.
"How can you have high school without football?" said Philomath local Brian Fox. "This is my home town so it's great to hear they're getting a team there."
Fox says, for a town with less than 5,000 people, football is more than just a game.
"It's a heartfelt thing," Fox said. "It's a small town so you get a football game; the whole town can hear it. It's about the community."
"It's exciting," said new head coach Rob Shader. "They're ready to get out on the field and play some football."
Coach Shader is a former University of Oregon walk-on wide receiver. A former coach at Sheldon and Willamina High Schools, he brings to Philomath his philosophy of character, commitment, and competition.
"If we can teach our players to give that perfect effort, at the end of the day, whatever happens, it's going to be a win," Shader said.
Shader says the team has been hitting the weight room all summer. He says the team has great leadership and great athletes from every grade.
"Overall just a well-balanced team," Shader said.
He says skipping a season will not impact the current team.
"Any time you have a fresh start it's going to take some time," Shader said. "We're working hard at being the best we can be every day."
The Warriors' first game of the season is at Junction City on September 1.