Celts fall to top-ranked Lake Oswego in second round

McNary receiver Jesse Dyer stiff-arms his way to a first down in the Celtics 35-14 win over Lake Oswego (KEIZERTIMES/Joey Cappelletti).

After an impressive performance in their first round playoff game against North Medford, the McNary football squad didn’t have the manpower to hang with top-ranked Lake Oswego with a trip to the quarterfinals on the line.

Despite a pair of long touchdown catches by Braiden Copeland in the second half, the Celtics couldn’t climb out of a 21-0 hole they dug themselves in as McNary fell to the Lakers 35-14 in the second round of the postseason on Friday, Nov. 12.

“The offense really made some adjustments and gave us a shot. But we had a couple of coverage breakdowns that were a little disappointing in the second half,” McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen said. “But the kids never stopped battling. Not for one play.”

Copeland had seven grabs for 135 yards and two scores in the loss. 

While the McNary offense went three-and-out on their first possession, the defense came up with a huge fourth down stop to give the Celtics the ball back in Lake Oswego territory. 

A 15-yard completion from McNary quarterback Tyler Copeland to his brother, Braiden, had the Celtics sniffing the red zone. But the Lakers defense sacked Tyler Copeland two plays later and eventually forced McNary to punt. 

Lake Oswego regained possession on their own 21-yard line and marched 79 yards in a little more than three minutes. The drive was concluded on a two-yard touchdown run by Lake Oswego quarterback Jack Layne, giving his team the 7-0 lead.

After an interception by Tyler Copeland gave Lake Oswego the ball in Celtics territory, the McNary defense held strong once again, getting a fourth down stop after the Lakers moved the ball inside the 20. 

However, the Celtics went three-and-out and had to give the ball right back to the Lakers, who scored early in the second quarter on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Layne to Gabe Olvera, putting Lake Oswego up 14-0.

The Lakers scored with less than a minute remaining in the half after another McNary turnover, extending their advantage to 21-0. 

“They got some playmakers over there. They have about five kids faster than any kid that we have,” Auvinen said. 

Both teams showed off their playmaking ability in the third quarter. 

On their first drive of the second half, McNary found the end zone for the first time as Tyler Copeland connected with Braiden Copeland downfield for a 44-yard touchdown to make it a two-score game. 

“We made some blocking adjustments that gave Tyler a little more time to look for his brother, which gave Braiden a chance to go up and use his athletic ability and physicality,” Auvinen said about McNary’s halftime adjustments. 

However, on Lake Oswego’s first play of the second half, Olvera took a screen pass from Layne and raced past the Celtics defense for an 80-yard score. 

After struggling with the Lake Oswego pass-rush in the first two quarters, Tyler Copeland escaped pressure with a pair of long runs on McNary’s following possession. Later in the drive, Tyler found Braiden once again for a touchdown, this time from 30 yards out, trimming the deficit to 28-14. 

Although he had three interceptions on the night — he only had two on the season coming into the game — Tyler Copeland was proud that he was able to throw a pair of touchdowns to his brother in his final game in a McNary uniform.

“I didn’t have the best game, which sucks, but going out with two touchdowns to my brother, I am going to remember that forever,” he said. 

But later in the third quarter, Olvera caught his third touchdown of the night, scoring from 35 yards out to make it a 35-14 game, putting the game out of reach for McNary. 

“If we don’t give up those two long (touchdowns) in the second half it’s anyone’s ball game,”Auvinen said. 

McNary finishes the season with a 7-4 record. 

“It was a good year. The kids battled through all that adversity and really bounced back,” Auvinen said. “We had great senior leadership and I am really pleased with how the kids progressed.