There’s nothing like a little drama two days before the first round of the playoffs.
On Wednesday after practice Takkarist McKinley, the Eagles 6’3″, 240-pound all-world linebacker threatened to walk out on his teammates. The situation on the field was so bad that the Cal-bound football player went nose-to-nose with head coach Mark Carminer and yelled at him.
Once in the locker room McKinley dumped his gear in the coach’s office and said he wasn’t coming back.
When asked about the situation the next day, Carminer wrote in a text message that McKinley “is fine. And just had a rough day.”
If McKinley does suit up on Saturday and he brings that type of Ray Lewis anger to the field, Salesian Pride (8-2) could be in trouble. Not that the two teams don’t know one another—back in September Salesian steamrolled Kennedy 42-0.
But that was then and this is now. The playoffs are another animal where one loss will send a team packing home and looking toward next year.
“I would love nothing more than to end Salesian’s season right there on their field because they overlooked us,” Carminer told his players. “I’m not trying to be one-and-done.”
Eagles quarterback Roman Espinoza said to beat Salesian they’ll have to play all four quarters and not just one good half. “I think it’s going to be a closer game,” he said. “We know what they do and we know what we need to do better in order to win.”
Whatever Saturday’s outcome, Carminer said he’s proud of his team for battling through a roller coaster-like season—especially with the untimely death of Ulises Grijalva, a player who was killed on Aug. 5.
Saturday’s kickoff is at 1 p.m. at Salesian High.