By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
After another disappointing first half of football, McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen saw something in his team that gave him “a glimmer of hope.”
Trailing by three touchdowns, McNary senior Jacob Jackson intercepted South Medford quarterback Giovanni Bottero on the third play of the second half.
Erik Barker then connected with Griffin Oliveira to get the Celtics on the scoreboard and McNary’s defense stood tall, stopping the Panthers on fourth-and-1.
But McNary’s offense couldn’t get anything else going and South Medford added two more touchdowns, including a 60-yard punt return, to defeat the Celtics 35-7 on homecoming.
“I saw some fight tonight that I hadn’t seen for a while, since that West Linn game,” Auvinen said. “The interception, going down and scoring and then the fourth down stop. That was exciting football right there. That’s the kind of football we’re used to. That was fun football, that little stretch. If we play that way all of the time, we just have to get after it and fly around, trust each other and play together, play hard, play tough. That was a glimmer of hope.”
McNary spent the week preparing for South Medford making changes to its personnel, structure and attitudes, and will continue to do so as it prepares for its Mountain Valley Conference opener at home against Sprague (0-5) this Friday at 7:15.
“I’m going to keep trying something until it works,” Auvinen said. “I’m not ever going to give up. I may be one of the most stubborn people on the planet. And I’m old. There’s different ways you can do things and I’m going to keep trying. I think we took a step forward this week and we’re going to do some of the things we did last week and continue those because I think they may have helped, keep looking for new things and make adjustments and hopefully take the battle for four quarters.”
Barker completed 15 of 27 passes for 127 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Junior Walling rushed for 81 yards on 18 carries.