Isaiah Santana challenges a Saxon forward for control of the ball in a game last week. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)


By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes

Earlier this season, the McNary High School varsity football made history in ending South Salem High School’s dominance of Central Valley Conference foes.

Last week, the team made history again, but it’s a mark the team would probably rather have erased from the files. McNary lost to Sprague High School for the first time in 10 years, since Head Coach Miguel Camarena took over the program.

“We were winning 1-0 and we were all over them. We made a mistake in the back and we collapsed and, in 10 minutes, they scored three goals,” Camarena said. “There was no concentration at all.”

Celt Jose Navarro scored the lone goal for McNary in the ninth minute of the game. The Olys surged back with goals in the 15th, 17th and 25th minutes.

“We had everything going for us, but we might have gotten a little overconfident. They surprised us and made those goals,” Navarro said.

Goalkeeper Christian DeSantiago had four saves for McNary.

Earlier in the week, McNary faced off with South Salem High School and took a 2-0 loss.

“We made a mistake on the first goal in the back and we just couldn’t recover from it. Throughout the whole season we’ve been inconsistent,” Camarena said.

While it’s late in the season to be shaking things up, Camarena is hoping a new formation will help the team shore up its defenses.

“We’ll have four in the back, one in the back-mid, four in the mid, and one forward,” he said. “At this point, if you don’t win, you have to change formations until you find the magic.”

Celt Oscar Ramirez remained somewhat skeptical of the formation change.

“I think we’re going to have fewer goals and fewer scoring opportunities,” Ramirez said. He felt the two losses were the result of lack of concentration. “I don’t feel like we wanted to win so that needs to change.”

The Celts last game of the season will be a home match withWest Salem High School at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28. Regardless of how well the team fares, it will end up in a play-in match for a berth in the state playoffs.

Navarro said it was time for the team to kick in the afterburners, “I want to see everybody put effort into fighting for every ball. We’ve just got to get focused and start taking everything seriously if we want to make it into the playoffs.”