OACA honors area coaches in annual award ceremony
The Oregon Athletic Coaches Association's annual awards ceremony once again featured some familiar faces this year.
Honoring the top coaches — and by extension the top teams — of the 2018 spring season and the 2018-19 fall and winter seasons, the OACA recognized programs at Woodburn, Kennedy and St. Paul high schools at their banquet event held at the University of Oregon's Autzen Stadium in May.
Woodburn — Leroy Sanchez, 4A Boys Soccer Coach of the Year
The Woodburn Bulldogs boys soccer team went 17-1 overall and 11-1 to win the Oregon West Conference. The Bulldogs finished the season on a seven-game win streak, giving up just one goal in that span, including a 2-0 victory over the North Marion Huskies in the 2018 4A State Championship game.
Kennedy — Joe Panuke, 2A Football Coach of the Year
After opening the league schedule with a pair of losses, the Trojans won nine consecutive games over a two-month span to finish the year 11-2, beating the Santiam Wolverines 31-20 in the 2018 2A State Championship for Kennedy's first football title in school history.
Kennedy — Walt Simmons, 2A/1A Softball Coach of the Year
The Trojans won their first softball title in school history after a dominant season in which the team went 24-4, including 17-1 in league. Kennedy's season culminated in a four-game playoff run where the team outscored opponents 46-1 and beat Pilot Rock 10-0 in five innings in the state championship game.
St. Paul — Lesli Hiller, 1A Volleyball Coach of the Year
The Buckaroos' return to the 1A Classification couldn't have gone any better. The team put together a perfect season, going 30-0 overall and 14-0 in league play, losing just four sets all season. St. Paul won their first volleyball title in program history with a 3-1 win over Powder Valley in the championship game.
St. Paul — Dave Matlock, 1A Girls Basketball Coach of the Year
Continuing the success of the volleyball team, the St. Paul girls basketball program likewise went undefeated, posting another 30-0 season, including a 16-0 record in league play to win the Casco title. The Bucks went relatively unscathed in the playoffs, winning all but one game by double digits, including a 49-32 win over Powder Valley in the title game.
Kennedy High School — 2018-19 OACA 2A All-Sports High School of the Year
In addition to state titles in football and softball, the Trojans enjoyed success across a wide variety of sports. Alejandra Lopez won the 2018 3A/2A/1A Cross Country Championship in the fall. The boys basketball program finished fourth in the state tournament. The baseball team advanced to the 2018 state semifinals. The volleyball team placed sixth in the 2018 state tournament, and the girls basketball team finished third overall this past spring. The Kennedy girls were fourth at the state meet, while the boys placed 18th overall.
St. Paul High School — 2018-19 OACA 1A All-Sports High School of the Year
The Buckaroos had a successful athletic stint across the board to go along with their two state championships. The football team placed second at state, and the boys basketball posted its best season in years, advancing to the second round. The St. Paul girls track team placed eight at state, while the boys were 15th.