Day: September 19, 2014

Bulldogs next test for gridders

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes  The McNary High School varsity football teams meets the first of three new Greater Valley Conference foes Friday, Sept. 19. The Celts (1-0 in conference, 1-1 overall) hit the road to face West Albany High School, which is making its return to 6A ranks. The last time two teams were in the same conference, it was known as the Valley League. “I think our team turned a corner in the second half of the game with Westview last week. I was really pleased with the effort put forward. I am hopeful that we will remember that level of play, and bring it every game here forward. I expect to see us play with that type of energy and excitement against West Albany and, if we do, we should fare well against them,” said Isaac Parker McNary head coach. In the Westview game, it was the Celtic defense that spent much of the first half on the field. The offense wasn’t able to reset the chains against the Wildcats until well into the first quarter. McNary scored 14 unanswered points in the second half, but never threatened for the lead in a 34-20 loss. The most lucrative combination in that game were air attacks from quarterback Drew McHugh to receiver Devon Dunagan, but several receivers contributed while playing on both sides of the ball. Dunagan piled...

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Johnson’s family, Keizer Police relieved by outcome

By CRAIG MURPHY Of the Keizertimes SALEM – Shortly after the verdict was read, Jean Ausborn bowed her head. “Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus,” she sobbed quietly as the tears flowed. For more than 10 years, Ausborn had been waiting for this day. It finally came at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday when Marion County Circuit Court Judge Tom Hart read the verdict delivered by the jury. Victor David Smith was found guilty of murdering Phillip Lynn Johnson – Ausborn’s son – with a firearm outside Johnson’s Keizer apartment on the night of July 1, 2004. The charge carries a life sentence, with a minimum of 25 years served. Afterwards, Ausborn had many she wanted to thank. “I want to give honor to God,” she said. “I want to thank Him for this day.” Ausborn was also thankful for prosecutor Paige Clarkson and others with the Marion County District Attorneys office, as well as everyone from the Keizer Police Department that worked on the case over the years, in addition to other police agencies. “I want to thank them for not giving up,” Ausborn said. “It’s so overwhelming.” Amidst the family’s jubilation on Tuesday, the pain was there as well – just as it has been every day since that fateful night in 2004. “It’s bittersweet,” Ausborn said. “I lost my child, but we got justice for him. It took...

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Cats sink claws into Celts with 34-20 win

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes  For a game that ended in a 34-20 loss for McNary High School varsity football team, there was rarely a dull moment in the Celtics’ clash with Westview High School Friday, Sept. 12. The Wildcats repeatedly threatened to blot out the lights on Flesher Field Friday, but the Celtics were raging against it until the final drives of the game. Westview’s hurry-up offense buried McNary 27-6 by the half, but the Celts returned from the break refreshed and ready to make a game of it despite the score. “We constantly impress on our kids to only bear the weight of things that they can control.  If they are stressing over things that they don’t have control over, they will never be comfortable. I think our kids sorted through what they had control over, what they didn’t, and tried to refocus on the things that they could do,” said Isaac Parker, McNary head coach. The Celts’ opening drive sputtered and ended up turning over the ball on downs after a fourth-and-three attempt failed. The Wildcats struck first three plays later on a quarterback keeper by Austin Brisbee, who ran the ball in from the McNary nine-yard line. The touchdown put the team up 7-0 less than three minutes into the game. McNary’s return drive suffered a deathblow in the form of a sack that...

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Together again, at last

After six years of often acrimonious relations, Keizer’s two major youth baseball organizations are talking about putting themselves back together. Keizer Little League and the Keizer Youth Sports Association (KYSA) are in talks to merge and be one again. That’s good news for sports fans and really good news for Keizer’s kids. The split between the two groups was always a head-scratcher for outsiders. A group of Little League supporters sought a different set up for baseball, broke off and formed KYSA.  They didn’t exactly take their ball and go home; they took their ball and started their own club. It may have made the founders of KYSA feel good but it wasn’t always the best route for our kids who just wanted to play ball. The current merger talks are really about maintenance of the fields. The job of maintaining and repairing the baseball complex is so big it needs the help of everyone involved with youth baseball in Keizer. After winning the management contract from the city, Keizer Little League management soon discovered that operating the baseball fields is no easy task. Volunteers need to irrigate and mow grass, assure the infrastructure—concession stand, bleachers, parking lot—need to be cleaned and maintained. Like many volunteer-driven organizations, it is 10 percent who do most of the work. If the need to better take care of the facility is the...

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