Changing Beneath The Surface

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

SALEM, Ore.–  McKay had high-expectations in 2017 after a strong showing in 2016 with how many close games they were in.

But when the buzzer rang out at the end of the Sprague game at home to close out the season in defeat after a 1-8 season, a mix bags of emotions were there for the Seniors of McKay.

A mixed bag of sadness of course knowing that this season, with the talent they had with Khyler Beach, Zontel Brown, Raul Solis, etc. they were looking for a successful season and not the 1-8 season that had resulted in 2017.

“It’s very, very, very bad feeling,” starts Solis on the loss Friday night.  “It’s pretty good though because all of us coming together all four-years but it’s really hard on us because all of us had chemistry together.

“We thought, we were going to come back this year strong but it didn’t end happily.” 28

For the seniors out on that field Friday night, trying to grasp one last fleeting memory on McKay’s first-year on the turf and their High School careers, they won’t forget those memories of playing in a Scots uniform as they take off those pads one last time that night in the locker room.

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Jovi Davis launching a pass down field during Friday’s game versus Sprague (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

Some will remember the feeling of playing under the lights, throwing the ball, hitting someone; but for Jovi Davis, it’ll hold something closer to him as he called the gridiron home.

Playing football for Davis has been his sanctuary, and playing at McKay was his ‘Peace of Mind’ away from home.

“Words can’t really describe how much I feel in love with this team,” said Davis.  “The people I played with, the coaching staff…they’re all great people.  It was the best times of my life.

“It’s where, when I had problems outside of school, this field was home to me.  This was where my safe area was, like a lot of people have there safe area, this was mine.  It’s just, the four-years here have been great here even though I’ve been hurt some of the years here it’s just it’s been a great feeling that I’ll never forget.”

The four-years for these seniors saw a coaching change entering their junior year with the arrival of Josh Riddell and though the 3-15 record doesn’t ‘show’ the difference; in-house it’s there in mentality and effort.

The freshman, after going winless for sometime are 4-4, so is the JV.  The record ‘change’ most people compare apples-to-apples to is probably on the horizon in the next year-or-two, but behind closed doors, it’s at the door step.

“Before, people wouldn’t even care and it just changed so much, people actually care,” said Solis.  “People are busting their asses in practice, it just changed so much, especially with Riddell, he’s changed this program so much.

“Even though the schedule doesn’t show it, it’s changed.”

Juan ‘Peanut’ Rangel knows that the program he entered as a frosh four-years ago, is not the one he’s leaving this season.

“Where it was when I started, it’s moved on, it’s gone up,” said Rangel.  “Our JV and our freshman players, they’ve showed some improvement.  They’re picking up some wins for us and hopefully they can change the future of McKay.”

And though people like a Solis, a Rangel, a Davis or a Ryan Bangs will leave; names like Freshman players like Aden Hyatt, JV players like Gary Hill and Daetrayl Berry, swing-player in Johnathan Mentado and Varsity-returnee Zair Ku Beiza are in the wings to fill in the shoes come kick-off in 2018 and continue to translate the ways of Riddell and his staff onto the field.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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