By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Judged solely by their 3-0 record, Barlow High School will likely be the toughest opponent McNary High School’s varsity football team will face yet this season.
But an unblemished record didn’t seem to concern the Celts or their head coach.
“They are a running and short screen passing game team. We need to learn to read and take care of it,” said Tim McDowell, a McNary senior. “They like to run inside, move their line around, pull their guards and that’s stuff we just need to step up and take care of.”
Progress from last week’s game will be key, added Head Coach Rick Ward.
“Barlow is probably a little better team than Gresham. If we keep moving forward we should be all right,” he said. The Celts beat Gresham 31-13 last week.
McNary hosts Barlow at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24.
The Bruins dominated McMinnville High School 41-6, doubled North Salem High School’s effort for a 32-14 win, and eked out a 26-21 win over Clackamas High School.
While the team might rely on short screen passes, it hasn’t stopped Bruin quarterback Campbell Summerfield from tossing for more than two consecutive games of at least 125 yards, with a 185-yard showing on 15-23 against Clackamas last week.
On the Celtic side of the ball, the Bruins will have to contend with senior Kyle Ismay who doled out 306 passing yards in the team’s game with Gresham last week.
“[Barlow is] a pressure defense with seven to eight guys in the box and they’ll try to cover our guys man-to-man outside,” Ward said. “We’ll need to get our athletes out in space against that. If we can force them into a cover 3 where they’re playing off and playing soft, we’ll be able to get them to do whatever we want.”
Defensively the Celts will be looking to shut down wide receivers Nick Bieber and rusher Tanner Dillon. Bieber carried or caught every touchdown in the team’s outing against Clackmas, but Dillion captured the most territory, 145 yards on 20 carries.
“We look at [Barlow] like we do every game, we don’t look past any team and we take every game one step at a time,” said Mike Gerasimenko.
The 2-1 Celtics entered the season as the underdogs on the Central Valley Conference, but have surprised many with their showing in the past two games with Newberg and Gresham. It’s a shot in the arm that has Gerasimenko thinking about what the future might hold.
“We going to make it to the playoffs for sure, and we’re going to give the teams in our conference a run for their money,” he said.