By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
McNary High School varsity football team is counting on Muntain View High School to bring it for their match-up Friday, Sept. 21.
“They’re the returning 5A state champs. We’ll be looking for them to come out and punch us in the mouth and we have to be ready for it,” said Celt linebacker Kelly Cowan.
The Celts (1-2) kickoff with Mountain View (1-2) at 7 p.m. at McNary. The McNary fine arts department will host a tailgate party beginning at 5 p.m. leading up to the game.
McNary will look to build on gains in its passing after a stellar first half against Gresham High School last week and regain its momentum on the ground after faltering against the physical Gopher defensive line.
Making things difficult will be the blitz-happy Cougar defense.
“We will block the blitz and Gosling will have time to throw,” said Isaac Parker, McNary head coach. “Part of the problem early in the season were route breakdowns and the inability to get the ball off on time–pass protection for more than five seconds is difficult for anyone. Up front, our line and backs are finally starting to understand our protections and we are getting better”
Mountain View fields a tall and large defensive line with six athletes at least six foot tall and half of those topping out at at least 270 pounds. All of them pull double duty on the offensive line.
“We’re going to make sure the receivers know our routes and the linemen protect Goose [Hayden Gosling] in the back,” said Celt D.J. Wilson.
Last week, Mountain View took a 35-14 loss to Sprague High School–the team favored to win the Central Valley Conference this year. However, until the fourth quarter, The Cougars had the game tied up at 14-14.
The Cougars’ senior wide receiver John Carroll, a three-year starter, and senior running back Kyle Ayers will likely get the most attention from senior quarterback Toby Webb.
In the run up to the game, Parker said the team will be focusing on a life lesson that’s as applicable to football as it is anything else.
“We are learning how to take pride in our jobs. Sometimes it seems like our kids do just enough to not get in trouble or just enough to get by but we haven’t quite learned how to take our job and do the absolute best we can and take pride in doing it the best we can. I hope we can learn to do that this week.”