By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

With five minutes remaining, McNary appeared to be heading for another 0-0 tie.

Jovanie Bravo had other plans, out-running the Franklin defense and putting the ball past the keeper to give the Celtics a much needed 1-0 victory on Monday, Oct. 9.

“I had a couple of chances in the first half and was disappointed I couldn’t finish them,” Bravo said. “I knew I had to do something for my team. These three points are really going to help us out in the rankings. We knew we had to win.”

Bravo was inspired by former McNary players Gustavo Villalvazo and Bryan Keo, who attended the game and told the team to play the game like it was their last.

“I saw it was a long ball and I just sprinted to it like it was a final,” Bravo said of scoring the goal. “This win means a lot to us.”

The victory came after McNary tied McKay 0-0 on Friday, Oct. 6.

Celtics head coach Miguel Camarena did everything he could to try to break the scoreless streak, moving from three forwards to five in the final 10 minutes against Franklin.

“We risked it in the back,” Camarena said. “We tried to put as many as we could. A couple of times they had a big chance. But for us, we have to win. We went for it and it paid off.”

Miguel Bravo nearly got McNary on the scoreboard in the first two minutes, firing a shot directly at the Franklin keeper. Sebastian Lopez then had to make two saves in the 13th and 14th minutes to keep the game tied.

The Celtics had another opportunity in the 24th minute when a header served up on a cross by Miguel Bravo bounced over the crossbar. Bhavdeep Bains then found Jovanie Bravo on a cross but Franklin’s keeper made a diving save. Michael Reyes put another shot on goal shortly after but McNary went into halftime tied 0-0.

“We create so many opportunities,” Camarena said. “We have some open goals where if you score, the game changes. We have to keep working.”

Franklin forced a foot save by Lopez in the 56th minute. Bains then put a shot on goal in the 74th minute before Jovanie Bravo finally got the Celtics on the scoreboard.

McNary nearly upset undefeated and No. 1 ranked McMinnville on Wednesday, Oct. 4 as a Miguel Bravo penalty kick broke a 0-0 tie in the 68th minute. But the Grizzlies quickly answered with two goals to secure a 2-1 victory.

“We were 12 minutes away from a big upset,” Camarena said.

“My team played better than them for 68 minutes. They did. We created more opportunities than them. But when you play a team like McMinnville, you can’t relax.”

The close loss showed Camarena what the Celtics are capable of with only two games remaining in the regular season—Tuesday, Oct. 17 at North Salem and then a home match agains South Salem on Thursday, Oct. 19.

The Celtics are 39th in the OSAA power rankings and need to get into the top 36 to earn a play-in game.

“If this team plays like it did against McMinnville, it’s going to be difficult for somebody to beat us,” Camarena said. “If we play like we did against Forest Grove (3-0 loss), everybody is going to beat us. We have to make sure that we play our A game every game.”

McNary has allowed just two goals over the last three games since Jose Luis Bravo returned from a knee injury. With Lopez getting two yellow cards against McMinnville, backup keeper Alejando Villarreal got the shutout at McKay,

“He did a fantastic job,” Camarena said. “I’m happy to have two solid goal keepers.”