CAMAS VALLEY — Eli Wolfe coached his final eight-man high school football game for Camas Valley Saturday afternoon in Dufur.
The unbeaten and top-seeded Rangers eliminated the No. 8 Hornets from the OSAA Class 1A playoffs with a 64-20 victory, ending Wolfe’s 19-year run as head coach.
“(The emotions) all hit me at once after the game,” the 44-year-old Wolfe said on Tuesday. “We’ve been through a lot together. It’s always hard to lose a senior class ... this was my last son (Bryson) playing football, so it was the end of a lot for us.”
The Hornets didn’t play their best football against the three-time defending state champions, making seven turnovers and falling behind 50-14 by halftime.
“If you were to script a game on not how to do it, we nailed it,” said Wolfe. “To beat a good team, you have to play very well and not make mistakes and that didn’t happen. Credit Dufur, they played well and it just wasn’t our day.”
Camas Valley finished with a 7-2 record and won the Special District 2 West title at 5-0.
The Hornets were successful in Wolfe’s final home game Nov. 3, beating Elkton 40-12 in the first round.
“It’s never fun losing,” said Wolfe. “Once you get into the playoffs there’s only one team that’ll be really excited at the end. You have to make sure you look at the whole season and not just focus on the last game.
“These young men accomplished a lot. They were fun to watch, played the game the right way and played for each other.”
Wolfe — who was a member of the Hornets’ 1990 state championship team and graduated from C.V. in 1993 — compiled a 122-58 record as head coach and is the school’s winningest football coach.
The Hornets made 10 playoff appearances under his watch, qualifying for the postseason the last nine years. Camas Valley won back-to-back state titles in 2011-12 and finished second in 2010.
“We’ve established ourselves as a playoff contender every year, and I think we’ll continue to do that,” Wolfe said.
C.V. enjoyed a tremendous five-year stretch from 2010-14, winning 60 of 64 games (Triad forfeited a regular season win in ’10). The Hornets won 39 straight contests from 2011-13.
“I didn’t get into this to do it for 20 years,” Wolfe said. “I’ve been blessed to coach my boys (Eli Jr., Kai and Bryson) and some great kids. I don’t regret the time I’ve put in at all, but I’m sure going to miss the kids.”
The rest of the Wolfe clan — Eli Jr., Kai, wife Kirsten and daughter Brooklyn — was at Saturday’s contest rooting on the team. Kirsten has helped with statistics and organized team dinners.
“It’s been a family affair, and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Eli Wolfe said.
Who will succeed Wolfe as head coach? Wolfe will certainly have a say in that decision. He said assistants Pete Dancer and Kyle Meals are not interested in taking the head post.
Wolfe wouldn’t rule out helping the football program in some capacity down the road, whether as an assistant or scouting some games.
“I’m not sure what the Lord has in store for me,” he said. “There are some things I want to go do.”