Gearing Up For The Season

By Jeremy McDonald

SALEM, Ore.–  With the Spring portion of the off-season wrapping up and the Summer portion of the football off-season about to kick off, a lot of athlete’s took part in the Island Boy Camp’s 7-on-7 State Championship Tournament..  From the third-graders to the high school-level, it was one final opportunity to get some work in 

For the McKay Trio of Justice Anthony, Michael Keys and Kyrin Fuimaono, all playing on the part of the Oregoonz High School Team Sunday, it gives the three an opportunity to grow some chemistry amongst each other.  All while improving on their craft as the Scots look to build from their 4-6 season this Fall.

“This year I feel really confident with our team,” said Keys.   “This helps a lot.  Having a connection with all your teammates is nice, but you can’t get all your teammates out here…just having a connection with a few, with some strong connections, it helps a lot.  Justice teaches me a lot, even though he’s a year younger than me, he’s played football a lot longer than me.  He teaches me a lot.  If I make a mistake, he’s like ‘oh hey do this.  Do this, stay in that position’.  It just helps.”

Keys and Anthony shared time on the field defensively.  Keys at Linebacker and Anthony at defensive back as the two enter their senior and junior years respectively.  Anthony was one of Fuimaono’s top targets last season, alongside Chasse Lee.  And for Anthony, this Spring League has helped him improve going into the Summer and going into Fall Camp.

McKay’s Kyrin Fuimaono (9) preparing to throw a pass to Justice Anthony (5) during the final game of the Oregoonz final pool play game Sunday at McKay High School (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

“It plays a big role, getting extra reps and not being out of football shape.  That’s something big to stay in, getting my reps and keeping more form right,” Anthony said.  “We got a lot of McKay boys on this team and we got a lot more chemistry than we did last year.  It helps a lot because there’s a lot of IQ in 7-on, it’s going to help out a lot.”

Fuimaono, who threw over 2,000-yards with 21 touchdowns to four interceptions, being able to take the next step this offseason following last Fall’s successful season for the then-sophomore QB will help him looking to bridge last Fall to this Fall.  Looking short-term and long-term in terms of personal goals for him and his team.

“I get to read a lot of defenses that people run and stuff.  A lot of times it’s All-Star Teams with guys from different schools, I’m playing against good competition out here and seeing different defenses and stuff.  I still want my lineman out there and stuff like that,” smiles Fuimaono.  “It’s been a big improvement going into my junior year because junior year is the biggest year in part of recruitment and hopefully we will win more than we did last year.  We have a good squad coming back this year.

“Last year we were underclassmen and all that.  The whole squad was underclassmen, but now we got some vets that have played Varsity ball these past couple of years and I think we got a good chance in winning a lot this year and going far in the playoffs.”

South Salem’s Daschel Smith, who’s coming off his first full season starting at QB for the Saxons and helping them to a 6-5 record, was shaking off some rust after playing baseball this past Spring as he looks for a strong Fall season this year.  The incoming senior is planning on going to a few Summer Camps this Summer in preparation for the upcoming season and used Sunday as a good spark-plug for what is to come for him and his South Salem teammates.

South Salem’s Daschel Smith drops back for a pass in the Saxon Football club’s first-round game in bracket play Sunday afternoon at McKay high School (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

The squad was playing under the name ‘Saxon Football Club’ during the 7-on-7 Tournament.

“It’ll be crucial, especially going into my senior year.  I’m going to a lot of camps this Summer.  We started seven sophomores last year so we’ll have a lot of people coming back on offense.  A lot of skills and I think we can make a run for the league championship in our league,” Smith said.  “I think (Sunday) was very important for us.  I know a lot of these guys are coming into their club teams, we’re sticking together as our High School group.

“We didn’t do well today, but we haven’t had that many practices.  I would rather be doing this and trying to get better together and ready for Fall instead of playing separately.”

The Celtic Football Club from McNary won the State Tournament, defeating the Oregoonz in the Title game after defeating the Pro Ballers Club in the Semi-final Round.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald


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