By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Jamboree-time, great time to change up the pace and hit someone that isn’t your own teammate. Also too, it gives team’s an opportunity to sharpen their skills and also give the younger guys a chance to gain some valuable Varsity experience.
“It’s a amazing experience because it’s now like, ‘oh ok, they’re preparing us for the next level’,” said McKay’s Zair Ku Beiza, who saw some time at Running Back and Linebacker in the Varsity portion of the jamboree. “So even though your still swinging JV, they’re preparing you for the next level next year.”
With the host team in West Salem, the jamboree acted like the bridge between practice and when they suit up for their Varsity game versus McKay next Friday night in Northeast Salem as well as trying out a few new things along the way.
“I think it’s huge, that’s why I wanted to do a jamboree,” said West Salem Head Coach Shawn Stanley. “I know there’s teams that have chosen not to. We’re tired on beating on each other, we want to beat on someone else. The good thing about a jamboree is that you don’t know what your getting in the season sometimes, sometimes you see something on flim and a lot of times we don’t get the traditional defensive alignment or a offensive wrinkle so it’s a great job for coaches to communicate with kids and say:
“‘Hey I know it’s not the style we’ve done all week, but here’s what we got to do and go play football’ and I think most teams here are vanilla in what they do like we are too so I think it’s huge to get out in front of officials in a live situation and have to line up and play in and not get penalties and all that stuff. I think it’s a great deal.”
The Titans offense found that groove against Newberg and Reynolds Friday evening. The passing game was there as if it was a few weeks into the season instead of the week before Week 1 and the running game behind Noah Whitaker and the offensive line of the Titans that gave great leverage for Whitaker and the running game some additional momentum entering their game versus the Scots next Friday.
“We’re rolling good, we’re really going. We got some guys who stepped up and they really did, so we’re looking good on offense,” said the 2016 First-team running back. “Honestly I think we’re looking good, I don’t think there’s nothing much we can improve on, little things here and there like little blocks but nothing too big.”
Defensively, West Salem worked through some new things that have been introduced by Stanley and his staff and picked up some momentum during their 18-play defensive series against the Raiders to close out the Varsity Jamboree.
“I feel great about it, it makes me feel more comfortable in my teammates and my brothers behind me and making sure they’re doing the right thing,” said 2016 Honorable Mention D-Lineman Christian James. “We’re introducing a few things on defense, so you know we just got to pick up the pace a little bit and just get faster.”
McKay, they battled through some bumps and bruises that comes with the first time of competition, but guys like Ku Beiza and Johnathan Mentado who will be swinging between JV and Varsity in 2017, it gives them some valuable experience as Ku Beiza saw on the defensive side as a linebacker.
“Some things we could work on is our coverage, when to go down and when to peddal back,” Ku Beiza said on how they can improve defensively.
Offensively, Ryan Bangs anJovi Davis saw playing time at quarterback with recievers Juan Rangle and Khyler Beach on the outside. Beach had some fantastic catches called back while the QB Battle between Bangs and Davis saw Bangs showing off his baseball arm from the pocket while Davis showed off his Michael Vick/Russell Wilson legs keeping plays alive.
Davis would score the lone Scots touchdown of the jamboree, breaking a tackle trying to keep a play alive scrambling for about 30-yards for the score and spoke to about how they can improve upon offensively in the week leading up to the West Salem game next Friday.
“Timing with the recievers and our offensive line knowing which way to step,” said Davis on how the offense can improve in practice the next few days. “Having a whole new lineup is getting some time to get use to for the past couple of weeks, but we are slowly getting into a groove. I’d like us to start faster than we did in the beginning, we started off a little bit slow, a little hesitate.
“If we’re starting off fast, getting off the ball, getting to our holes and stuff, we should be pretty fine.”
Kick-off is at 7:30pm after the turf ceremony at McKay High School on September 1.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald