By Jeremy McDonald
AMITY, Ore.– McKay’s Northeast Royals 7-on-7 were an execution of a play or two away from possibly forcing overtime against the All-Star cast of GymClub Sunday afternoon at Amity High School.
The only kryptonite for the Royals, playing into GymClub’s benefit down the stretch in their championship victory on this day with their defense, was finishing the job in the RedZone. Leaving, as mentioned above, two possible touchdowns on the table in the 23-7 victory for their opposition. A bittertaste for sure for a Northeast Royals squad that progressively got stronger throughout the day in Yamhill County.
“We did very well. We just got to work on our Redzone. Got to get more practice with coaches. We were a self-coached team this week and stuff,” said Quarterback Kyrin Fuimaono, as the Royals finished 2-3 on the day. “We just got to get better at communication and plays, stuff like that.”
In their following game GymClub, led by McNary’s Jack McCarty, answered fellow Mountain Valley Conference-foe Logan Smith’s with Sprague’s Olympian Football Club’s touchdowns with his own as the game eventually went into overtime. GymClub took advantage of the delay of game call on the Olys and the ensuring turnover for a one-yard gain to advance to the Semi-Final round of the tournament.
“I think we did pretty well, especially since we were undermanned. At least five of our guys are playing with South (Salem) right now. So it’s a lot of guys playing positions they usually don’t and Kyley (McCrae) tripping out telling us what to do. We were learning on the fly,” said McCarty. “That one felt good (against the Olympians) because they’re in our conference and everything, that would’ve been a tough one to lose for sure.”
With West Salem Titan Green’s win over South Salem Saxon’s Football Club, GymClub got stronger personal wise for their next game in the semis. Eeking by EPuerto in the closing moments to punch their tickets to the Championship game as McCarty showcased his clutchness once more as he did in Springfield a few weeks ago.
Across the way on Amity’s football was the Titan’s Black team facing the Southridge Club for a chance to play GymClub in the finals.
After Jackson Lowery threw an interception, John Kenney tied the game at nine and Lowery found Nate Garcia on a swing pattern inside the five to take a 16-9 lead after being down 9-7 a few minutes earlier. Eventually adding to their lead before the ‘Hawks answered in the Titans 30-16 win.
McCarty found TJ Zimmerman three-straight times to hand GymClub a 7-0 lead. Lowery pieced together a nice time-consuming drive, hitting Garcia to tie the game at seven. McCarty answered.
The Lowery-Garcia connection tied it up at 14. Baylor Korbin handed GymClub a 21-14 as they came up with a big defensive stop and GymClub took advantage. Going up two scores with two minutes left in the game.
“It’s great because they’re such a rival. They’re looked at as a top-team in the Mountain Valley Conference, but it was great and come out here have that stop and win that game against them. It was a great feeling,” said Celtics Dymani Rios. “I think it just came down to us getting more chemistry together and getting more practice together. I think we came together and it feels great to come back and win it all.”
Lowery found Zachary Dodson-Greene to draw the Titans in within 28-22 following the two-point, but time ran out before they could try to comeback.
For the boys from the hill, they were wheeling from the game. But they know the great feeling of getting to compete again as they look to Week 2 ahead and preparing for the season in the Spring.
“It’s just great to just be running around and playing football you know? So much has changed and it’s nice to get back something normal,” said Garcia. “Just like any first time out, there’s going to be some rough patches. But we’re going to keep getting better and we’ll be ready when the season comes.”
Gervais, under G-Town Cougars, went 0-4 on the day. North Salem Football Club went 1-3. Central 7’s went 3-2 on the day, reaching the quarterfinals as well. Salem Academy, under their old mascot name the Hornets, went 3-2 and reached the second round of the 28-team bracket Sunday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald