The Celtics are set for their longest road trip of the regular season when they travel to South Medford High School on Friday to open league play with a matchup with the OSAA ranked No. 7 Panthers.
South Medford (2-0) is building off a lackluster 2021 where they went 2-8. But with only 10 seniors on the 2021 squad, head coach Bill Singler’s team is filled with youth, experience and depth.
They have very few two-way starters which keeps them fresh and healthy on the field. McNary head coach Connor Astley pointed out they have two solid defensive ends that don’t need to play on offense because of the depth at line South Medford has.
“They’re going to be fresh, they’re going to be ready to rock and roll, and that’s definitely to their advantage,” Astley said.
Defensively, a sore spot for McNary (0-2) early on has been the secondary. With their largest defensive back coming in at six-foot-one-inch, they faced two teams with a lot of size in their receiving core and allowed five passing touchdowns in each game.
The South Medford receivers may not have the same size across the board as those from Lakeridge and Tualatin, but they’re deep and fast. Senior Andrew Walker is a 6A state track champion in the 100 and 200 meters. At six-foot-one-inch, Walker is the smallest of the four top pass catchers.
Fellow senior Josh Phillips joins Walker out wide, measuring in at six-feet-two-inches and 180 pounds. Junior receiver Tanner Tuggle has the same measurements as Phillips, while junior Ty Henry adds size at six-foot-four-inches and 165 pounds.
“We’ll do our best to corral them, but I think the biggest thing is we’re going to try and confuse the quarterback and get him to do things to throw into areas where he maybe shouldn’t be throwing,” Astley said.
Astley is familiar with a lot of the offensive scheme that South Medford likes to run. They use a lot of the offense that Astley grew familiar with at Southern Oregon University, as well a lot of power-g that they’ve seen the last two weeks from Lakeridge and Tualatin.
One of the focuses during the week is communication, according to Astley. He said it’s been an issue in the first two weeks, and has been a reason for guys to not be in the right spot.