YRHS Raider Gridders linebacker Grey McKen has been turning heads for all of the right reasons in his senior year.
“He’s a man amongst boys out there,” says Raiders Gridders head coach Roby Sharpe. “He hits hard and stops teams’ running games. They can’t get by him because he has the size, speed and determination to stop them in their tracks.”
This isn’t McKen’s breakout season, though. He was already a star last year as a Grade 11 student.
“We are not surprised at all by his great year because he was already a great player last year,” said Sharpe.
McKen, who stands roughly 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, can’t credit his success to this or that. He believes a handful of different things have helped him shine on the field.
“I think our defence as a whole has made it easier on me because everyone is doing their job so that allows me to just focus on my job,” said McKen.
“I feel like I came into this year with a lot of confidence too because I learned a lot while playing for Team Saskatchewan at the U-18 tournament over the summer. It was definitely a step up in competition and it showed me how good some players are and that motivated me.”
McKen, along with the Raider Gridders’ fierce defensive line, has held their opponents to only 175 yards on the ground throughout their first four games this year, averaging a little over 43 yards a game.
“Our defence has been great,” said Sharpe. “It works out well because we have a strong defensive line and if they happen to get by them, they have Mcken to deal with. He stops running backs and quarterbacks as soon as they cross the line of scrimmage and often before the line of scrimmage.”
To put into perspective how big of an impact McKen makes, his head coach believes he’s the best high school linebacker in the province.
“I’ve heard people say they think he’s the best linebacker in our football league (Moose Jaw High School Football League), and I agree with them, but I think he’s the best in our province,” said Sharpe. “He’s a rare talent that doesn’t come along too often.”
In terms of sacks and tackles, McKen isn’t too worried about his own accomplishments this year. He has his eyes set on a 3A 12-man high school championship.
“It’s all about the team and winning,” he said. “We have a great team and we want to win it all. That’s been our goal since training camp.”
McKen has not only made his mark on the field, but also in the dressing room. He’s developed into a leader that many younger players on his team look to for advise.
“He’s an All-American boy, except he’s Canadian,” said Sharpe. “He has the character you look for in a player to lead the defence. He does most of his talking on the field with his play, but he’s a guy that can lead in the huddle, too. It’s really good to have a guy like him because he’s helping the younger players’ transition to the senior level.”
Mcken’s football career isn’t about to end in high school. He’s poised to play at the CIS level next year for either the Regina Rams or the University of Saskatchewan Huskies.
“I went to the University of Regina last week to check them out and I’m going to the University of Saskatchewan this weekend (Oct. 12) to see their program,” said McKen. “I will definitely be playing for one of those schools, but I haven’t decided which one yet.”