Perry Groves heads upfield after picking off an Oly pass in the game Thursday, Oct. 10. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Perry Groves heads upfield after picking off an Oly pass in the game Thursday, Oct. 10. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

Of the Keizertimes

The McNary High School varsity football team will be looking to bounce back after its first conference loss when they take on the McKay High School Royal Scots at home Friday, Oct. 18.

The Celts lost a closer-than-it-seemed battle to Sprague High School last week putting the Olys at the top of the Central Valley Conference mountain. As the team prepped to take on the Scots, Celt Brett Hildebrand said focusing on the outcome of the Sprague game wouldn’t do the team any favors.

“We have to control what we can. We can’t focus on what Sprague does against North Salem or McKay (high schools). We can still make a run in the playoffs and this is a week to work on that,” Hildebrand said.

The Royal Scots are trying to snap a six-game losing skid. The east Salem team lost to South Salem High School last week 36-3.

“We have a lot of talented players on our team, but we need to get to the point where everyone plays well together at the same time for four quarters,” said Brett Rhodes, McKay head coach.

The most consistent Scots this season have been receiver Jorge Garibay, running backs George Smith and Brandon Lao, and linebackers Alex Avilez and Orlando Lupain, Rhodes said. Lao is a former Celtic who transferred to McKay before the beginning of the school year. Since the beginning of the season, Lao has more than 500 yards rushing and 200 yards receiving with seven touchdowns.

Rhodes said the goal for the Scots in the McNary game will be simple: improvement.

“We have to learn from our previous mistakes and focus on the process of what we need to do to improve,” Rhodes said. “McNary has a solid line up front and our guys in the trenches have to be prepared for a physical night.”

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