By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
Either McNary or North Salem high school will emerge with their first Central Valley Conference win when the two teams meet Friday, Oct. 5.
The Celtics are hoping it will be them.
“The good news is our defense stopped the run against South Salem last week and that’s what we’re looking forward to doing again this week with North,” said Celt Cody Bond. “We’ll get there is we focus on our fundamentals.”
North Salem’s 0-5 record for the season is somewhat deceptive. The team has posted at least 12 points in every game and had three with at least 20.
While the team is fielding sophomore Jerrin Williams at quarterback, the team boasts one of the top running backs in the state in Santano Sauseda, a first-team CVC honoree in 2011.
“He’s deadly, so our defense is going to have to be really strong,” said Celt Jon Kiser.
McNary (4-1) will be looking to rebound from a 47-7 lashing by South Salem last week that saw the team’s offense struggle in most areas.
“In order to have a chance to beat good teams, we can’t make the mistakes we made. We must execute our plays on offense better starting at the snap of the ball. South was a good team, but we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities,” said Isaac Parker, McNary head coach.
New additions to the Celt offense are wildcat plays where the ball is snapped directly to a running back or receiver and gives them a pass or rush option. Isaac said to expect more of them as the season unfurls.
A key component for such plays is focus, something the Saxon defense repeatedly found the Celts lacking in last week’s game. On most drives, Celt quarterback Hayden Gosling was scrambling for room or getting run down for a loss at least once.
“We want to make sure that everybody is focusing on their jobs,” said Celt Daniel Brattain. “We also have to believe, once everybody starts believing in what we can do, we’ll have something really good going,” he said.
“We need to get healthy and find some consistency with our personnel,” Parker added. “On offense, we will be focusing on our individual job at every position, and be committed to doing our job for the sake of the team.”