By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– McKay’s belief and trust in one another didn’t fade as their backs were against the wall. Chips stacked against them, down 1-0, injuries late in regulation even hurt and challenged them, but the Scots didn’t back down. They weren’t going away without a fight.
They surrendered an early first half goal to La Salle Prep in the 5A Semifinals, but the Scots came out strongly in the second half. Controlling possession, but couldn’t tie things up. The time was dwindling, and down to their final possession of the season with six seconds left, McKay tied it. Sending the home crowd into a frenzy as the game went into Overtime.
Mikey Garcia scored the go-head goal in the first ten minute period as Goalkeeper Diego Garibay made three crucial stops in the second ten minutes while his defense continued to work in their 2-1 win to send McKay to the State Finals for the first time in program history this Saturday in Hillsboro.
Emotions were high as they embraced fans, friends, etc knowing they were seconds from having their season end in the Semi-Finals. It felt like everyone was at the game backing the Northeast Salem team. Kids from the McNary and West Salem teams were in attendance on this blustery Tuesday night as people came from the stands to celebrate with the Green and Gold. For one night, everyone was backing McKay. Witnessing the first time the Scots have sent a team to a State Final since the baseball team in 1997
“It was honestly all heart. We all came together and we just fought it out till the end,” describes Garcia. “Honestly, truly blessed that everyone came out and made noise. I’m just so thankful.”
“There were six seconds left, we thought it was over, but there was still hope. There’s always hope. We still play it until the final whistle and we never give up. We always keep each other hyped up, always play our hearts out 110-percent,” adds Gariby. “Honestly it’s amazing, get to experience a once-in-a-lifetime moment with the High School Final. We made history for the first time ever. It’s crazy it all happened so quickly. This season has been one-of-a-kind, it’s the best season we’ve ever had. We’ve only conceded three goals, scored at least 50-something, not sure, but one-of-a-kind season.”
Now it’s real fun. The dream of the start of the season has come to fruition to be one of the last two teams to make it to the final day of the season. Facing a familiar foe in West Albany, the Bulldogs took down Summit in the snow in Bend Tuesday as the two are set to play again for the Title as they Scots look to cap a perfect season in a few, short days.
“We take it in right now today, but tomorrow, we get back to work. That’s all I’m thinking, we’re ready for Saturday,” Garcia said. “Just practice, practice. It’s all mental, that’s what I’m thinking.”
Kickoff for the game will be at 10:30am Saturday morning between the Bulldogs and McKay.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald