By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– West Salem were playing Thursday night’s game against McKay undermanned. Without Yahir Bernal in the midfield and Angel-Nicholai Herrera in goal for the game, out due to Spring Break plans, the Titans did have a chance in the closing 30 seconds to force a draw with the Scots in McKay’s 3-2 victory.
“As a team we just stepped up as a team, we took the JV guys in and treated them like regular teammates. We fought our asses off,” said West Salem’s Sam Garcia. “(Goalie) Alex (Ochoa), he did a helluva job.”
Ochoa was the JV goalie and had for much of the game adjusted to the Varsity speed and against an aggressive McKay attack. Kobe Banes had the lone goal for the Scots all the way back in the 25th minute.
But again, the match-up always lives up to the hype. It always seems whenever some combination of McKay, West Salem, South Salem and McNary, it’s a battle. The physicality of the play, the mental tasking to stay in it late in exhaustion and the emotion for the game feeds into it.
“We just try to come out and work hard, try to win the game. We’ve had some great games, some great battles against us, against South and against West, against whoever,” said the Scots Filiberto Alacron. “It doesn’t matter which team it is, doesn’t matter what school it is…we want to keep scoring and keep winning and that’s why we come here for.”
Kaden Young struck first in the 15th leading into Banes goal before Young handed West Salem a brief 2-1 in the 57th before Angel Altamirano tied the game at two-apiece eight minutes later. Alacron in the 70th minute handed the Scots their first lead of the game.
The battle continued. McKay looked to extend their lead as West Salem tried to do minutes earlier up 2-1 while the Titans were looking to tie things up with enough time to go for the win.
“It’s pretty neat, you know your friends are on the other teams and you want to beat them. We were super close in this game, but we didn’t finish the game right,” Garcia said.
Young and Alex Elizarraga-Oregel last second shots on goals in the final 30 seconds were stopped before hitting the back of the net. Sealing the Scots six-straight game without a loss.
Since McKay’s 3-0 defeat to South Salem, the Scots are 4-0-2 as they enter their final three games of the season 4-1-2 on the year.
“We learned a lot, we learned what they have, what they do. The formation they run and everything and we try to be better than that, we try to be better and try to improve every game,” Alacron said.
McKay will travel to Keizer Monday while West Salem travels to South Salem to play the Saxons Monday, Both games are at 7:30pm.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald