By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.–It was surely a nice little foundation building year for the Scots of McKay. Though 2-7 in 2016, take a look at this stat:
Of those seven losses, five were by a touchdown or less. A bounce here, a bounce there, the Scots could’ve easily been 7-2 and contending for a home playoff game.
“I feel like last season has fueled us a lot, it encouraged us a lot, encouraged us more because last season we lost five games by seven points or less,” said Jamer Sliva. “That was not scoring with our offense, usually in those games we put our defense…too much pressure on their backs, our offense couldn’t perform, but it’s up to the whole team, offense and defense playing together.
“I feel like this year, our seniors, our upper class men have more chemistry with the younger kids because we talk to them more, we hang out with them outside of football at the school. We know each other more.”
With the season starting Monday morning, the jamboree at West Salem next Friday and then hosting the Titans the Friday afterwards, the sense of confidence and the sense of where they are at is something special for a McKay team not accustom to situations like the one they are in.
Though they have lost the leadership of Matt Jarding, Noah Tavera and Manny Miranda to name a few for 2018; the current wave of seniors are picking up just where 2017’s seniors left off for them.
“Well Manny, Noah, Jarding all of those guys, they preached family, hard work, all of that good stuff,” said Juan ‘Peanut’ Rangel. “And I feel like the seniors with us, we’re using their tatics, what they taught us and we’re just building up and when we went on our Senior Trip, our coaches all talked about family, working hard and just playing hard.”
That senior trip, to Pacific City, was a fun one described Rangel who had up to that point, never been to the coast or the beach before.
“For me it was really fun you know, first time going to the coast ever in my life so I had a great experience,” he said with a smile on his face.
As for hopping into the Pacific Ocean and that experience?
“It felt like a ice bath, that’s about it,” laughed Rangel.
And as the lineman finished up sprints post-practice, a somewhat familiar face was out there. Yes you have Raul Solis as the headliner and key lineman like a Anthony Tenorio, but a ‘sleeper’ of sorts at defensive end and ‘wing’ offensively:
He’s built like Jarding, stands about three-to-four-inches taller than his former workout partner in the 2017 graduate and will add speed to the edge for McKay on a already strong defensive line after spending last year recovering from an injury.
“I got some speed and I feel like we’re lacking it, especially at the D-End position where I’m playing,” said Surova. “I just feel like Raul playing strong, he’s going to know that everything on the weak side is going to taken care of. So I think it’s going to be a good season for us to comeback.
“It’s going to be ruthless, that’s what it’s going to be. It’s going to be very physical,” he described the defensive line this year.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald