By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore..– With camp starting Monday at the baseball fields of McKay High School, under sunny and hot skies, the Football Royals Scots look to build upon the foundation that they have laid under first year Head Coach Josh Riddell.
“Coach Riddell is doing a good job, it feels good to be out here practicing, putting in that work,” said Jonathan Mentado “It’s just a great feeling just to be out here with your brothers and being out here getting each other better. That how it feels.”
Seniors on the team, names like Noah Tavera, Shane Tennis, Nolan Araujo and Matt Jarding to name a few, know that they’re time is short in the Green and Gold as they start camp.
And their trying to make the most out of it.
“It’s probably one of the very many last that I’m going to have this season,” Jarding said. “But I also come to realize that since it is the last double’s I have, I need to put in the most work and work harder than I have in the past three years so I can achieve more than I have in the last three years.”
The team came out slow in the morning practice, but made the adjustments and made the most out of the afternoon session.
“(It) was a little hectic,” described Riddell on Day One. “Guys were coming in without their registration papers filled out, without money, things like that. We got that nip in the bud early on in the early practice, got rid of that out of the way so that the second practice they were focused on football which is what we need and we were flying around out there and competing.”32
Expectations are high for McKay entering 2016 as they face an uphill battle to make some noise in the Greater Valley Conference with the likes of powerhouses like West Salem and Sprague. The forward to come Week One at the Black Turf at West Salem.
High expectations? We’re talking aspirations for a Title said Jarding, something that hasn’t been done since about 1999 and looking for the team’s first playoff appearance since 2010.
“We’re looking for a league title this year,” said Jarding. “The last few seasons, we’ve been looking to have a winning season so the expectations are, like I said, tremendous higher.
“It’s exciting because you can see where the coaching staff wants to take us and once you’ve seen it and been around it for a few years, you can actually see where the program is going like within a year and I feel like we’re going in the right direction with these kind of expectations we have.”
Riddell adds that the ball is in their court, it’s up to them to learn the offense, the defense, the plays as a whole and compete and fly around like they have been.
“With us, there’s no games yet so we have to have high expectations,” said Riddell “I’m a pretty positive person as a whole. With that being said, it’s on us to do the job…And the kids are responding to that, the kids are really responding to that.”
The top core of them, now there’s guys on the fence-wise. Maybe thinking, ‘hey, do I need to go follow those leaders or do I just miss every other practice’-type thing, we need those guys to follow in line, follow those leaders and go ahead and compete. Let it go, go compete. If you make mistakes, that’s fine. We’ll go out there and fix it.”
To continue to build off this foundation they have built entering Day two and moving forward from the past few weeks, it could be just something as simple as studying your playbook.
“Just going over the plays, make sure you study them,” Mentado. “Study with each other, just go over it.”
Or it could be something as large as bringing out the Alpha Dog out of it’s cage.
“That’s just competing and not being complacent out here,” said Riddell. “We’re going to have one-on-one drills, were going to have drills where we’re competing against other kids, we just have to go out there and dominate that person in front of us.
“We need to find that Alpha Dog in these kids, there are some Alpha Dogs out here, we need more, we need more to follow, we need more to step up and be the guys. And there are some guys that are on the fence that could be the guys who step up and do that. Now we need to put the ball in their court and see if they raise to the occasion.”
One thing is for sure though.
The Scots are ready to go for 2016.
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