Strengthen The Weakness

By Jeremy McDonald

SALEM, Ore.–  Pass Coverage is something that McNary’s Dyami Rios needed to work on entering his Senior season with the Celtic Football program. 

But call it a blessing in disguise with the pandemic pushing back the start of his Senior Year and the emergence of the Oregon 7’s 7-on-7 league through the Island Boy Camp, his big weakness has been strengthening.

“This is great for me because pass coverage has been my weakest part of the game, so it’s great for me to get out here and get better at and I feel like I’ve made improvements at,” said Rios.  “Just getting more comfortable dropping back and reading routes, making pre-reads even, looking at the quarterback…all these reps and making improvements no matter what.  It’s been all good.”

The second-team All-Mountain Valley Conference Linebacker, playing alongside a first-teamer in Junior Walling (Oregon State Freshman this season) his Junior year as the Celtics went 4-6 and reached the first round of the 6A State Playoffs in 2019 has been taking advantage of the extended off-season.  Camps, 7-on, etc. 

And Rios knows too that he can still improve over the next portion of the offseason with the 7-on-7 league drawing to a close this month.  Footwork is an important one as he is making the most of the situation him and many other football players are finding themselves in.

Rios (center, right) talking to one of his teammates during the first week of the Oregon 7’s 7-on-7 league at Amity High School

“Just get better moving my feet and just keep moving around the field and going zone-to-zone and guy-to-guy.  Just keep making my reads from here,” said Rios.

Rios, like his quarterback in Jack McCarty, have been splitting time with the GymClub 7-on-7 team and the Celtic Football Club.  The Celtic Football Club is the name that McNary is going with to separate themselves from the school like the few other High School squads that are playing in the Sunday league.

Nonetheless, the extra reps are helpful.  Playing with different styles, playing with teammates and playing with players that could feasibly be playing against Rios in the Spring if the season comes to be.

“It’s really great,” said Rios.  “Being around the same guys who are in the same kind of mindset as you who want to win and want it as bad as you do.  Who understands the game like you do, it’s a great experience because that’s what you’re going to find in college and high school.

“It’s guys who want to be there and want to win, it’s what you’re going to see in college.  For me it’s getting me ready for that.”

And with this past Sunday where McNary and GymClub each had only three games as there were no bracket games to make up the difference, the extra reps are great. Rios added as they enter the final week of the 7-on-7 season.


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