By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
McKay had no answer for Brendan Van Voorhis.
Not when he ran right up the middle of the Scots kickoff team for a 90-yard touchdown.
Not when he caught a short pass from Josiah Gilbert, made a defender miss and used his 100-meter track speed to score an 81-yard touchdown to give McNary a narrow lead at halftime.
And certainly not when Van Voorhis beat a cornerback and safety help to grab another ball from Gilbert and raced to the end zone for a 76-yard touchdown to finish off McKay 46-41 on homecoming night.
“That’s one of the better games we’ve had around here, that’s for sure,” McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen said of Van Voorhis’ performance.
Gilbert went up to Van Voorhis before the game, played on Friday, Sept. 23, and told him he would score four touchdowns. But Van Voorhis decided to do him one better, finishing with five scores and more than 400 yards in the shootout.
“That kind of put a number in my head to try and get and (Gilbert) put the ball where it needed to be for me to score,” Van Voorhis said. “We were fired up about this game. We came out here and played like we were fired up. We wanted to win real bad.”
McNary made it a point to get the ball in Van Voorhis’ hands. Along with eight catches for 275 yards, he also had 44 yards on six rushing attempts.
“I knew (Van Voorhis) was just going to take over and he did,” Gilbert said. “It’s phenomenal.”
The Celtics needed all five of Van Voorhis’ touchdowns.
McKay quarterback Noah Tavera passed for 350 yards and three scores.
The Scots did most of their damage on fade routes with McKay receivers out-jumping McNary defenders for the ball.
“They were very accurate and went and got it and we didn’t play the ball very well,” Auvinen said. “We’ll keep working on it.”
McKay also scored 14 points on defense, twice returning interceptions for touchdowns.
Gilbert threw for 316 yards and five touchdowns but also had three interceptions and lost a fumble.
McNary defensive back Lucas Garvey twice intercepted Tavera, including once in the end zone at the end of the first half to set up Van Voorhis’ 81-yard go-ahead score.
The Scots got on the scoreboard first.
After converting a fourth-and-6 at the Celtic 41-yard line with a 36-yard completion by Tavera, Matthew Jarding reached the end zone on a 5-yard run with 7:57 remaining in the first quarter.
McNary marched down the field as well but its opening drive stalled at McKay’s 5-yard line when Josh Benson was tackled behind the line of scrimmage on fourth-and-goal.
Garvey’s first interception gave the ball right back to the Celtics and Gilbert found Van Voorhis for a 40-yard touchdown. On the first play of the second quarter, the two connected again for a 46-yard score but McNary twice failed to convert two-point attempts and led 12-7.
McKay answered with 14 straight points on a Tavera touchdown pass and then a pick-6 to go ahead 21-12 with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
But Van Voorhis returned the following kickoff for a touchdown to get the Celtics within 21-19.