Taking The Initiative

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

SALEM, Ore.–  It’s during these times that you see who your leaders are truly made of.

Leading into the recent OSAA decision to push Fall Sports to two-month window in March and April on August 5, Salem Academy Senior Quarterback Brandon Reed and his fellow Senior Class had taken the initiative to help prepare the Crusaders for what was to come.

When quarantine started, Reed and the rest of the 2021 Seniors at SA couldn’t get access to the turf due to the rules in place.  Coaching was limited under the OSAA rules so when they gathered at Weathers Park across the way from Salem Academy’s football field, they planned and executed their own practice plans to try to make up for lost time.

For a group of Seniors who were eighth-graders when the program reached the 3A State Title Game in 2016, they too wanted to find a way to leave their mark on the gridiron as that group of Seniors year a few years prior.

“We didn’t really have any way to get onto the turf due to Salem Academy’s rules at the time. So, we just pushed through and decided on weathers park. We made our own practice plans and worked as much as we could up until we were allowed to get back on the field at SA,” said Reed.

Brandon Reed scooping up a ball Tuesday at Volcanoes Stadium playing catcher for the Valley Baseball Club (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

“As seniors we really just wanted to show not just our league but the state of Oregon that even with the Governor’s mandate that kids will still find a way to put the work in for something that they love.”

The Crusaders went 0-9 in 2019 with one Senior on a 20-player roster in their final year in 3A before dropping to 2A this upcoming school year.  Their focus was there on a common goal, to get better. And they did that approach three days-a-week to get into a groove for the season ahead.

For someone like Reed, it’s perspective on what their coaches do on a regular basis to prepare them for a day-at-the-office with the the squad hoping to make some noise in their first year in the 2A Classification.

“All the players took it good and were focused on a common goal of getting each other better and prepared for the season. It was an interesting process to teach the young and new players from the prospective of a coach,” Reed starts.  “It makes me appreciate all the work that our coaching staff at Salem Academy puts in for us all year long.”

With the season pushed back, it gives the Crusaders some time to improve moving forward; especially with the seven-on-seven league’s popping up for them to possibly join in this Fall to improve on the little things entering that eight-week season ahead.

As for following his dad’s footsteps and going into coaching, the gunslinger isn’t totally ruling it out once his playing days are one-day over.

“I am interested in it and the reason for that is from all the great coaches that I’ve had that showed what a great coach is supposed to look like,” said Reed.

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