By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Determined to be more physical, McNary defeated North Medford 40-20 in a non-league football game on Friday, Oct. 20.

“Last year we got smacked because they just came out and were just 10 times more physical than we were,” McNary senior Brayden Ebbs said. “So all practice we were focusing on being able to match or exceed the toughness that they were going to bring to the game and I think we did really well in that part. This game we were just taking it to them and running the ball down their throats because that’s what they did to us last year.”

McNary senior Jonny Williams caught two touchdown passes and had 97 yards receiving at North Medford on Friday, Oct. 20. (MAIL TRIBUNE/Denise Baratta)

The Celtics finished with more than 500 yards on offense—211 rushing and 301 passing.

McNary jumped out to a 13-0 lead in the first quarter as quarterback Erik Barker threw touchdown passes to Jonny Williams and Jose Solorio.

The Black Tornado stormed back with 75-yard and 1-yard touchdowns to take a 14-13 lead.

But the Celtics quickly answered as Barker connected with Junior Walling for an 11-yard touchdown.

McNary’s defense then gave the team a spark going into halftime as Walling recovered a fumble deep in North Medford territory and returned it for a touchdown to give the Celtics a 26-14 lead.

“That last score was a huge gift for us,” McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen said. “It was the last play of the half. The bell rings halfway through the play. It was a pretty good snap. The guy (North Medford quarterback Josh Robbins) mishandles it and then we kick it and Junior picks it up and runs it in.”

The Black Tornado opened the second half running the ball inside McNary’s 10-yard line but the Celtic defense was able to hold on fourth down.

“We were a little worried because they had got together that (first half) drive and we thought they were going to power it right at us again and they tried,” Auvinen said. “We responded and played with more confidence. It ended up being a really good day.”

McNary scored two more touchdowns in the third quarter on a pass from Barker to Williams and a run by Walling to bust the game open and take a commanding 40-13 lead.

“We were thinking it was going to be a pretty close game but going down there and putting the work to them was a pretty good confidence booster,” Ebbs said.

Solorio added an interception before North Medford scored the final touchdown of the night with 10:51 remaining. The Celtics were than able to run out the clock.

“We handled ourselves really well,” Auvinen said. “They were not as good as they were last year. They lost some kids. We played a ton better than we did last year. We did play really well offensively. We played well defensively.”

Walling rushed for 102 yards on 18 carries and caught two passes for 25 yards. Robert Benson had 84 yards on 17 attempts. Barker completed 22 of 31 passes for 301 yards and four touchdowns. Jacob Jackson caught eight passes for 96 yards. Williams had three receptions for 97 yards.

“Our O-line made huge holes for us, gave Erik some time in the pocket,” Walling said. “I think Erik did really well throwing and it was easy for me to run the ball with the O-line doing so well.”