By HERB SWETT
Of the Keizertimes
McNary whipped Forest Grove 24-0 at home Friday, Sept. 30, improving to 3-2 and leaving the Vikings winless.
Josiah Gilbert was the Celtics’ star, scoring two rushing touchdowns, throwing a touchdown, and intercepting a pass. AJ Johnk kicked a 21-yard field goal and three extra points.
Johnk’s squib kickoff started the game, and the Celtic defense kept Forest Grove from getting anywhere with the ball. A punt from Cole Hammond went out of bounds at the Viking 44-yard line, and a run by Brendan Van Voorhis got McNary to the 35. Forest Grove held the Celtics to no gain on the next two plays, but on fourth down quarterback Josiah Gilbert ran to the right all the way into the end zone. Johnk’s kick gave the Celtics a 7-0 lead with 8:44 left in the first quarter.
Soon after the second quarter started, Lucas Garvey intercepted a Forest Grove pass at the McNary 15.
A few plays later, the Vikings got the ball back on a fumble and had first down and goal to go at the Celtic 8. Tackles by Kolby Barker and Gilbert held the visitors, and McNary had the ball back at its 11-yard line.
Again the Celtic offense faltered, with a pass from Tyler Ellertson being picked off by Chino Davis at the Forest Grove 9. But the McNary defense forced another punt. This time, the Celts got somewhere. After a pass from Gilbert to Van Voorhis put the ball on the Forest Grove 20 and two short gains got the ball to the 3, Gilbert ran up the middle for McNary’s second touchdown. Johnk kicked for a 14-0 Celtic lead.
McNary got the ball back quickly, with Gilbert intercepting a pass and taking the ball to the Forest Grove 4. The Celtics soon found themselves with fourth and goal at the 4, and Johnk kicked his field goal in the closing seconds of the second quarter. McNary had a 17-0 halftime lead.
On their first drive of the second half, the Celts had fourth and one on their 36, and a Gilbert keeper moved the ball to the Forest Grove 28. He then carried the ball to the 18 and passed to Jose Solorio for first and goal on the 7. He passed to Van Voorhis for the final touchdown of the game, and Johnk kicked the extra point for a 24-0 score with 8:28 left in the third quarter.
“We had more trouble than we would have liked,” McNary coach Jeff Auvinen said. “But it happens. We didn’t play very well offensively, but the kids played their hearts out. We need to clean things up.”
Gilbert rushed for 135 yards and passed for 127.
“This week, our strategy was just to take care of ourselves,” Gilbert said. “We have to improve our offense for our game against McMinnville.”
McNary’s defense got its first shutout of the season, holding Forest Grove to 141 yards on the ground and just four in the air along with four interceptions.
The Celtics play at McMinnville Friday, Oct. 7.
The 4-1 Grizzlies are coming off a 24-12 win over South Salem.