The Quiet Leader

By Jeremy McDonald

SALEM, Ore.–  McKay, or Northeast Royals as they are called in the Oregon 7”s 7-on-7 league, had their chances against the Pro Baller 7-on-7 Blue team through the past few weeks.  But it wasn’t until Sunday in which they had gotten over the hump and defeated the team to close out the next-to-final week of the season.

“It shows how far we’ve come,” said Brian Coburn.  “We’ve struggled the first couple of weeks, but we kept running little tweaks here and there.  We started to get a much better defense; our offense kept moving the ball down field.  From here, the sky’s the limit and we keep going.”

It was their fourth-game of the day at McKay City Park.  Each team was guaranteed three games this particular weekend, no brackets, no championships in the High School division; but with an absence of a team, the golden opportunity to get some more live reps presented itself for the Royals on this day.

Coburn is known for his quiet and stern demeanor, yet he showed some emotion there late against the PB squad Sunday afternoon.  He is a man of a few words.  When he does say something, it draws attention.

“I’m a man of a few words,” Coburn admits.  “I can roweled up the team with a few speeches at the beginning of the game, but a lot of days it’s being a leader by example.  Always working hard, showing up early.  First one the field, last one off the field. 

“Sometimes it’s not the man who talks, it’s the man that backs it up with his actions.”

Having played football in the area throughout his life, starting with McNary in third grade before moving his way eventually to the Scots where he was an Honorable Mention on the defensive side of the ball for the Scots in the tough 5A Special District 3 conference. 

McKay went 2-7 under then first-year Head Coach Brandis Piper in a four-way tie with North Salem, Central and South Albany.

For Coburn, who also plays Tight End, he had camps planned on the East Coast in an attempt to get his name out there for coaches.  The Coronavirus Pandemic had other plans, challenging the Senior to find other ways to get his name out there for the collegiate coaches during the year that is 2020.

Competition from High School squads like them.  Competition from Clubs like Pro Baller, Gym Club and Valley Capitals.  Competition breeds excellence. 

And doing it with his teammates is always a plus as well under a warm November day in Salem.

“You take what you can take.  It’s something that’s affecting the whole Nation.  Plans that were made over the Summer to go over to the East Coast to go to camps, that didn’t happen.  So, I have to make little of what I get and get to keep playing,” said Coburn.

“It’s perfect being out here, nice weather and it’s great competition.  It’s just another level of the game.  Whether it’s 7-on-7, flag football or tackle football, it’s fun no matter what version of the game that you play.  As long as you’re having fun with your teammates.  It doesn’t matter what version of the game you play.”

Photos By Jeremy McDonald


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