By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
After a streak of four losses there’s only one option left for the McNary High School varsity football team according to their coach.
“Our next step forward has to be a win,” said Rick Ward, McNary head coach.
The Celts take on the Olys at Sprague Friday, Oct. 22. Game time is 7 p.m.
McNary lost its most recent Central Valley Conference clash to South Salem, 34-21, while Sprague picked up its first CVC win last week over North Salem in a 55-41barnburner.
The Olys were led to the win by runningback-cum-quarterback Jordan Giza who rushed for 151 yards in the team’s 361-yard rushing attack for the night. Sprague passed for another 120 yards .
“We have to stop Giza,” Ward said.
That may be a tall order for the Celtics who allowed South’s Jake Fohn to run for for 162 yards in the team’s last outing, but the two team’s match up better, said Garren Robinett, a McNary senior.
“It seems like we’re a shoelace away from winning a game and Sprague is a matchable opponent,” Robinett said. Robinett is closing in on more than 700 receiving yards for the season.
McNary will be counting on another big game from quarterback Kyle Ismay, the conference leader in passing yards, 1,745, but the team will have to avoid the costly mistakes that led to their South Salem loss – a dropped snap, a blown snap and a tally of more than 30 yards in penalties on the team’s last drive of the South Salem game.
“We need to work on going hard every play until the whistle blows, and maybe even after that,” said Celt Jake Short, a senior.
Cleaning up the mistakes may be simply a matter of learning to trust each other more, Robinett said.
“When we’re being aggressive and trusting Kyle and it seems to work out. When we don’t, it’s easy to see what happens,” he said.
No matter the outcome McNary will have an opportunity to compete in a play-in game for a state playoff berth but, at this point, a win – any win – will help put them in the proper mindset.
“We need a win in the CVC,” said Celt Mike Gerasimenko. “It’s extremely important.”