Author: Eric Howald

Celts meet Comets in zero week

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes If there’s one thing senior Wes Heredia wants out of McNary High School’s gridiron clash with Crater High School Friday, Sept. 3, it’s redemption. “I’m looking forward to proving some people wrong. I think we’re a better team than we’re being given credit for,” Heredia said. McNary will travel to Central Point, Ore., for the game beginning at 7 p.m. The Celtics finished last season with a whimper rather than a bang. In the season finale against North Salem only 12 of 23 seniors suited up for the game, the other fell...

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Returning athletes will be backbone of McNary girls soccer

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Fans will notice many of familiar faces when the Celtic girls varsity soccer team returns to the field Tuesday to host Sandy High School. “We’ve got about 90 percent of the team from last year returning,” said Miguel Camarena, head coach of the McNary High School girls soccer program. In practices earlier this week, the team was still figuring out the exact shape of the team that will take the field. “We need to sharpen up our ability to position ourselves with the ball and then move with it,” said senior center Jordan Salinas. After a tough season of difficult relationships within the team last year, Salinas is anticipating a smoother ride this season. “It’s actually been really good. We’re all getting along and welcoming the new players. I know they’ve going to do great,” Salinas said. In 2009, the Lady Celts finished in fourth place, just one point behind Sprague and West Salem high schools. They fell to Barlow High School in the opening round of the playoffs, but the team defeated West Salem, Sprague and Redmond on their home turf during the regular season. The OSAA dropped Redmond from the Central Valley Conference during redistricting this summer. Sophomore Haley Scoggins was eagerly anticipating rematches with the Olympians and Titans and sizing up her new team. “We lost some key players...

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Keeker steps into Nick’s cleats

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes For Larry Keeker, the decision to take up the  challenge of running the McNary High School baseball program was all about family. “Our program is a real family and, after nearly 60 years, it has members throughout the nation,” said Keeker. Keeker was tapped as head coach of the varsity baseball team last week. He succeeds Craig Nicholas who coached the team from 1999-2010. Keeker’s teaching and coaching career spans more than 20 years and programs at North Salem High School and McNary. He started as the junior varsity coach in the Celtic program before moving to the freshman team. He became an assistant varsity coach three seasons ago. He is also an assistant coach for Celts’ varsity basketball team. While Keeker expects a competitive season out of the varsity baseball team next spring, he doesn’t expect to be making many changes in the immediate future. He will need to flesh out his coaching staff to replace Chad Booth, another assistant baseball coach who stepped down when Nicholas opted for retirement, and fill his now-vacant post. “After that the first order of business will be sitting down with the coaching staff and going over the game plan from offense to defense to philosophy to see where improvements can be made,” Keeker said. He’ll be relying on his staff and colleagues to build...

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John Knox interim pastor follows in footsteps of John the Baptist

By ERIC A. HOWALD Of the Keizertimes Rev. John Neal, the interim pastor of Keizer’s John Knox Presbyterian Church, possesses a joviality that is expressed not only in the upbeat tones of his voice, but in the way he sweeps his arm across his body when he’s creating the space for other’s to talk. It’s more than a little bit infectious. “One of the things we’re having is a lot of fun right now. We’re trying to build on the deep belief that God has a sense of humor and that God is to be enjoyed in the midst of life,” said Neal, who possesses a doctorate in theological studies. Neal took over the reins of the church after Rev. Michael Brown stepped down from the John Knox altar, but Neal’s presence at the church isn’t expected to be long-term. “How long will it be? It may be a year, it might be two or a little more,” Neal said. “It’s a time of change and a time of getting ready. It’s also a time of healing rough patches.” To read the complete article and other news from around the Keizer area, pick up a copy of the June 21 print edition of Keizertimes, available at stores all around the area. To subscribe to the print edition for just $25 a year, click on the ‘Subscribe Today’ link at the...

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