Salem — The 2019 edition of North Salem and McKay might be the most thrilling, bizarre, controversial, and absurd game in the history of their rivalry. This one featured many shots in the foot, thrilling scores, crazy plays, and two sides on the edges of their seats for the entirety of the game. In the end, one team emerged from the rubble in a game of self-destruction, and it was the Royal Scots.
McKay Leads Early, North Salem Fights To A Halftime Lead
The game started out like you’d expect from the title and opening, with a turnover or big play. For North Salem, this was in the form a fumbled snap that was recovered near midfield by McKay. Capitalizing on the turnover, McKay marched down the field and Tyler Kynaston punched in a two yard TD run, making it 6-0 McKay after the missed extra point. The Royal Scots lead 6-0 after the first quarter.
The teams traded failed fourth down conversions after the score, and North Salem, facing a 4th and 8 at the McKay 30, was pressured by the Royal Scot defense but a scrambling Justin Montero nailed Isaiah Rico for a 30 yard TD pass and the Vikings led 7-6 with 8:37 left in the second quarter.
After a McKay punt, North Salem put together another grit and grind drive down to the McKay 9 yard line. Facing 4th and Goal, Montero tossed up a floater in a crowd of players that Clayton Hinton-Welty came down with for a North Salem touchdown. After the extra point, the Vikings led 14-6 with 2:34 remaining in the half of their homecoming game.
On the final drive of the half, McKay drove into North Salem territory with an opportunity to score but the half closed with a Brandon Garcia interception and North Salem led 14-6 at halftime.
McKay Emerges From The Rubble To Claim Victory Over Rival North Salem
The second half started with a bang, as Alexis Salto took the kickoff all the way down to the North Salem 3 yard line, setting up Kynaston’s second touchdown run of the night and McKay closed the gap to 14-12 after a failed 2 PT conversion. Fired up after the touchdown, McKay held North Salem to a three and out to get the ball back offensively.
McKay, with all the momentum, executed a drive that finished with a Rafael Aguilar three yard touchdown run and the Royal Scots led 19-14 with 5:36 left in the third quarter. North Salem, who has already gotten two touchdowns on 4th down conversions, faced a 4th down at the McKay 16 yard line but were shut down and turned the ball over on downs.
On the next possession, McKay drove to the Vikings 38 yard line, but it was hindered by a holding call followed by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, sending McKay 25 yards backward. Kynaston, facing 1st and 35, broke open with a rush that setup the Royal Scots within 20 yards of the first down marker. The run was called back on offsetting horse collar and illegal hands to the face penalties.
After the offsetting flags, McKay ran a play that led to a wide open Chansse Lee primed for a touchdown reception. However, Lee let the ball between his hands, costing McKay a potential touchdown. North Salem would eventually force a punt on the drive.
On the ensuing punt, Nortb Salem muffed it and the Royal Scots recovered at midfield, a costly turnover for North Salem. On the next play, a holding call backed up the Royal Scots to 1st and 20. On the 1st and 20 play, McKay went to a wide open Lee again, but he dropped a touchdown reception, costing McKay a TD for the second time in less than five minutes. The Vikings defense would stuff McKay short on a 4th Down attempt, giving North Salem another opportunity.
After shaving off almost three minutes of game clock, Montero threw a pass that was intercepted by Isreal Villareal and McKay once again capitalized on defense with 4:25 left in the fourth quarter. Fast forward to 1:33 left in the game, McKay faced a 4th and 1 conversion attempt to put the icing on a rivalry win. Instead, the Royal Scots were called for a false start that made it 4th and 6 and North Salem stopped McKay for one last chance at victory.
Starting on their own 30 yard line, North Salem failed to advance on 1st down but a horse collar tackle put the Vikings up to their own 45 yard line after the penalty. McKay responded with a sack a couple of plays later, but an unsportsmanlike penalty shot McKay in the foot, erasing the sack and putting North Salem near midfield again.
An offsides penalty moved the Vikings even closer to the end zone, but McKay had one last bit of defensive magic left. In need of a critical play to seal it once and for all, Villareal picked off Montero on a pass deflection and McKay would go on to win 19-14 in dramatic, rivalry game fashion over North Salem.
Soaking In The Royal Scots Victory Personally With McKay Themselves
After Head Coach Brandis Piper’s passionate postgame speech, I tracked down Tyler Kynaston, Rafael Aguilar, Isreal Villareal, and Coach Piper to talk about the huge victory for McKay.
Head Coach Piper on McKay’s second half transition, “We honestly talked about us shooting ourselves in the foot either offensively or defensively was because of us not doing the assignments we talked about. We did a couple of small adjustments on defense, talked about guys getting back to the basics and doing their jobs. Offensively, we stuck to the same plan we had, North did a good job making us run inside more but we stayed the course really.”
Villareal on his two clutch interceptions anchoring the McKay defensive effort, “This defense is honestly the best in the league, with this secondary snd defensive line we aren’t giving these offenses a chance. We’re ready for the next challenge.”
Kynaston on the second half comeback, “It was more on our coaches fixing us and getting on us for little mistakes. We came into this with the mindset we were better than them, not necessarily being cocky, we just had the team confidence.”
Aguilar on McKay going for three wins in a row next week against Corvallis, “We’re beat then last year, we’ll beat them again. You’ll hear about three wins in a row next week yes sir!”