By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.–Jonathan Mentado calls McKay in and tries to pump the Scots crew together as they were facing the Central Valley squad called the Valley Lions from the 7-on-7 Association in their third game of the Salem Youth Football/Island Boys Club 7-on-7 tournament.
The soon-to-be-senior wanted to further step up his leadership traits as throughout the day, the linebacker was playing with a chip on his shoulder Saturday and was trying to find someway to get his young teammates around him to find that last little push to finish the day strong.
“It’s all about leadership and the biggest guy I looked up to was Matthew Jarding and how he was as a leader,” said Mentado. “I want to be like him and the only thing I said was saying ‘that it was mentality and it’s all about family and you got to bust your butt and you got to show up or you got to shut up’.”
The High School Scots, who like South Salem had Middle School teams in attendance early on competing in the Tournment, came out competitive against the try-out based 7-on-7 team that had a few local Salem kids like Johnnie Williams and Erik Barker from McNary and Juan Rangel from McKay and was competitive to the end before the Lions walked away from the match with the win.
On the otherside of the field, and getting ready for their 7-on-7 scrimmage with the Scots was North Salem. The Vikings, who are slowly coming into the 7-on-7 off-season competitions after a few practices leading up to Saturday’s tournament, are walking into it wanting to work on their passing game as that’s looking to be a vocal point for them this upcoming Fall.
“Honestly, I thought we were more prepared than I thought we were going to be. We’ve had a few practices thrown together and not a whole lot of guys,” said Zac Sullivan. “It’s going to be crucial because we’re trying to throw the ball more next year, we want to do a whole lot better. If we don’t get the timing down, if we don’t get the strings worked out by summertime there’s no way we’re going to do it we got to start now.
“We got to work our way, if we wait until Mid-July, Mid-August it’s going to be too late by then.”
Another Sullivan was on the sidelines coaching as the squads actual coaches aren’t allowed to coach during these tournaments as Hunter Sullivan was roaming the sidelines as coach, talking strategy with his brother Zac on what to do and how to approach the situation at hand.
“It’s definitely awesome that he’s literally the big brother, he knows exactly what’s going on. He knows it better than I do and it’s nice to have those set of eyes on the field with you,” said Zac Sullivan on his brother.
The North Salem offense looked solid with just a few practices under their belts against the competition leading into their game with the Scots. Though McKay filtered two quarterbacks all tournament long, Sullivan took the majority if not all the snaps for the Viks Saturday as they lost on a last second play to McKay in a highly competitive game.
But, mostly it was fun with the competition as every laughed and celebrated with one another as they put in the work for their crafts.
“It’s so fun, I mean a day like this is the best it’s best it can get. Just be out here and putting in the work is what we live for,” said McNary’s Barker. “It’s great, we’ve been doing 7-on-7 all Spring really and it’s just a great way to practice like reads and stuff and get everyone’s chemistry going and get everyone on the same page.”
“It’s a great moment,” adds Rangel, who’s trying to find a spot playing football next season. “Because I know my next experience won’t be until I go to College, but just coming out here and playing with some friends is pretty fun. Hopefully this moves on into college and I can become better and just keep improving from where I am at.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald