By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Standing up and speaking to their coaches and their players following their season ending loss to West Salem Friday were the Senior football players of McKay High School.
Senior players like Tristian Wilson and Bryce Clifton, each stood up and shared a message to those who are going to be with the McKay Royal Scots in 2016 and beyond.
“The biggest message is just if you’re not on that starting team, try to be on there,” said Clifton on his message to the team. “Your goal should be to get as much playing time as you can and just to work hard,.
“To work when you don’t want to, show up when you don’t want to and try to make it an opportunity that you are wanting to be there.”
Wilson added his opinion on the team as they looked to turn the momentum and the built foundation of 2015 as they turn it into even more success next year.
“It is very important to grind every day,” said a teary-eyed Wilson. “If you’re grinding every day, you’re going to be successful at the end of the day Friday. If you’re not grinding every day then it’s going to be tough to be successful.
“I know for sure this junior class that we have right now is some of the hardest working in the league and I’m proud to be a Royal Scot.”
Players like junior running back and linebacker Matt Janding took it in, reflecting on this year and is already looking forward to the challenges and the positives next year.
“I think the biggest advantage that we have right now is definitely the returning starters that we’ll have next year,” he started. “There going to be most of the starting offense and defense that were comprised of juniors.
“(We’re) just changing the culture,” Janding continued. “This junior class works very hard and they really want to have a really good their senior year.”
After winning one game in 2015, Brett Rhodes knows that the underclassmen that started for him this year already have that varsity experience entering 2016.
“They know what’s going to be needed to take it to a new level that we haven’t been able to get to in the last few years,” he said. “Ultimately comes down to the mental part of the game coming down to our offseason approach and what we’re doing to compete and get better.”
As team’s like the Sprauge’s, the West and South Salem’s turn their focus to the playoffs and their 2015 title hopes; McKay knows who they aspire to be and knows who they need to knock off and get to where many Scot team’s did before them.
Now, it just leaves one question for McKay.
Could 2016 be the Year of The Royal Scots?
Jeremy McDonald is a professional sports journalist in the Salem/Portland area and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalist in Oregon with B.S. degrees from Southern Oregon University in Journalism (2011) and Health/PE (2013). Got a story idea? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @J_McDonald81!