Copeland named MVC Player of the Year

McNary quarterback Tyler Copeland was named the Mountain Valley Conference Player of the Year after throwing for 1,757 yards and 22 touchdowns (KEIZERTIMES/Matt Rawlings).

The McNary football squad received 16 all-conference spots for the 2021 season, with the top honor going to Celtics senior quarterback Tyler Copeland. 

Despite missing a game and playing half the season with a high-ankle sprain, Copeland was named the Mountain Valley Conference Player of the Year after throwing for 1,757 yards and 22 touchdowns — Copeland also received an honorable mention nod as a safety.

“The hard work has paid off. The Lord has blessed me through this process. I couldn’t have done any of it without Him,” Copeland said. “This is a team sport and my team was always there to pick me up.”

Copeland led McNary to a 7-4 record as well as a playoff win over North Medford.

Up front, three seniors in offensive tackle Isaac Scroggins, offensive guard Aldo Villalvazo and center Jeremiah Ratliff were named to the all-conference second-team. 

Senior Rudy Garcia earned a first-team selection on the defensive line with 26 tackles and 2.5 tackles-for-loss. 

Junior wideout Braiden Copeland, Tyler’s brother, was a first-team selection, leading the league in receiving with 39 catches for 667 yards and nine touchdowns. Copeland was also a first-team pick at linebacker with 44 tackles on the season. 

The Celtics had two other linebackers earn all-conference recognition in senior Jake Patton and junior Hunter Ruberto. Patton was placed on the second-team with 46 tackles and four sacks while Ruberto received an honorable mention nod with 34 tackles and two recovered fumbles. 

Gunner Smedema, a senior receiver, received a second-team nod. Despite missing time due to a leg injury, Smedema still caught 19 balls for 319 yards and seven scores. Additionally, Smedema, was a first-team selection at cornerback, leading the team with five interceptions. Sage Allen, a senior cornerback who played on the opposite side of Smedema, was named an honorable mention with 19 tackles and five pass breakups.

Senior running back Zane Aicher also was named to the second team. A swiss-army knife for the McNary offense, Aicher rushed for 636 yards and seven touchdowns on 121 carries to go along with his 23 catches for 237 yards and two scores. Along with Tyler Copeland, Braiden Copeland and Smedema, Aicher also got recognition for his play on the defensive side as a first-team safety, recording a team-high 77 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, eight pass breakups and three interceptions.

Senior kicker Logan Ready rounded out the all-conference picks by receiving second-team all-league status.