By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– They needed a stop. The defensive lines heels were in the endzone and they needed a stop or be faced with a two-score deficit.
Walking to his coaches on the field was a wall, telling his coach that he is ready. He is sent in.
At about six-five and nearly 300 pounds, Aaron Schafer was sent in on four and goal. And the man known as Groot by his teammates didn’t disappoint, making the crucial stop to hand his offense the ball.
“It was intense, but the play had to be made and it was fourth-and-two and as a team we had to stop them and I was the guy who got him,” said Schafer on the stop. “It felt really good, it was a great feeling.”
McKay, pumped and excited got the ball back following the great play, but couldn’t capitalize as they handed the ball back. The defense succeeded again as the Scots had a chance to win the game versus South Albany down 24-20 with 3:37 left.
The difference so far in the game, was a special teams score after Elijah Pokovich’s 77-yard score off a hitch that he bounced outside for the score that had erupted the home Scots fanbase before the kickoff return moments later.
It was a good momentum builder with Lebanon next week to continue to build from entering Week Four’s match-up
“It’s good, our defense got to step up next week. Our offense too, got to come together,” said Pokovich as a few plays here and there could have had McKay in a different situation than they were currently in.
Going to the current drive with time against them, the running game showed itself again as it did against Central.
Jose Camarena goes for three to start the drive. Rafael Aguilar breaks two yards that was followed by a Caleb Parksion to Pokpvoch connection to eight.
Zair Ku Beiza was stuffed for no gain, but KR Tipekis broke for a big gain.
He’s running for daylight as the clock reaches 1:37 left in the game when he was brought down.
That’s when a hiccup occurred. As Tipekis was going down to the ground with players around him, the ball was jarred loose. The Scots on the field and on the sideline said Tipekis was down by contact while the Redhawks were saying he wasn’t.
The refs ruled it a fumble, recovered by South Albany. And as the ‘Hawks took a knee from the shotgun formation, McKay hoped that South Albany’s snapping issues resurfaced in the closing moments of the 24-20 Redhawks win.
The pain was there nonetheless, knowing that where South Albany were lining up at was just ten-yards short of a Scots win if the call went in favor of McKay instead of the other way. But, it’s football and Coach Josh Riddell challenged his team to respond as they have a extra day to heal up and get ready for Lebanon next Friday on the road.
“It was chipping, chipping, chipping and it was one mistake but hey, we all mess up sometimes. We’re all human, I threw a pick early in the game. I can’t be mad at him, he did a great job and he made a great run right before that,” starts Parksion.
“I love my guys we’re a good team. This is a crushing loss because we were so close, but I like my guys, I know we can bounce back real quick. If you look at Week one to Week three in the strides that we made it’s a huge amount. I like the way we’re going in the direction we’re going, every game it’s getting closer and closer and before you know it we’re going to win one.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald