By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.–As Salem Academy goes into their summer training with new faces across the board, some big names from their State Final game versus Harrisburg peaked their heads out and joined in on some 7-on-7 fun to help out their younger teammates.
Faces like Koby McCallum, Colton Daniels, Rylan Stamback and Skylar Williams to name a few peaked their heads out before they head out to their respective colleges in the fall.
Even Markel Moses, who’s going to Pacific University in the fall and will be apart of their basketball team, came out to hang out; and though the six-foot-six future Boxer Hoopster didn’t lace up the cleats one last time, he knew how important it was to show support for his former teammates.
“I think it’s good, some of us are going out of state but the couple of us who are staying, I know we’ll come back and watch a few games and we’ll always going to come back and remember having the fun times together,” “It’s not the end of the road, we’ll always come back and hang out with one another.
“So we’ll always comeback and support the younger cast and build them up and make sure they’ll do better than we did.”
Stamback and Daniels will be playing with each other at Evangel University, and though it’ll be awesome to be playing together as Crusaders again soon enough, Stamback knows how important it is to help their former teammates get better for the future.
“I think it’s awesome, they’ve got a lot of young guys and just trying to mentor them and just try to help them out with the plays and where to go, I enjoy that just teaching them,” said Stamback.
Speaking of learning from the Alums, the new face of Salem Academy’s offense in Cole Hardy knows the importance of learning as fast as he can from Daniels and from Head Coach Gary Johnson for their season opener versus Taft at the end of August, especially after missing his freshman season due to a broken bone.
“They’re just doing everything, they know and they’re helping me reading, where to put it and it’s just great,” said Hardy. “I can just, every time I touch a ball I’m getting better. Building on that, getting ready through the whole summer for the season, it’s just good.”
Gage Hazelton, who will be one of the new faces of the receiving and defensive backfield too echoed the same idea as Hardy as he faced someone like a McCallum (a MSU-Northern commit) will help him and them better as they prepare for the season ahead.
“It’s definitely a confidence booster because I played with a lot of those guys and they put in so much work and a lot of them are Koby and Rylan are going to the next level so it’s good work to go against them and get good reps,” said Hazelton.
As mentioned above, Stamback and Moses committed to their respective college.
For Stamback, the reason why he chose Evangel University was the Christian background it has that’ll help him guide himself moving forward.
“That was one of the biggest parts because especially this time of my life, I have a lot of questions and uncertainties on a lot of things so I’m trying to stay grounded and make sure that I’m going in the right direction with my life so I think with that environment I think it’ll help me stay grounded,” Stamback said.
As for playing his his former teammate, it’s something special.
“I think it’s really awesome just having someone that I really know and one of my best friends that I get to play football with,” said Stamback.
For Moses, to trade in the cleats for solely the hardwood sneakers, it’s a great opportunity; but it wouldn’t have had been without those around him who made it possible.
“It’s pretty special, it’s going to be a great opportunity for sure and I can’t wait to upgrade my body and my basketball skills and I got a great coaching staff, great friends and great family behind me while going through it so it’ll be a good chapter in my life,” said Moses.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald