Jordan Araiza catches a ball over his shoulder in the end zone on Monday, June 6, at spring football camp at McNary. (JOSHUA MANES/Keizertimes)
As the 2022 school year draws to a close and Spring sports seasons end, the look towards the Fall has already begun.
McNary football held its Spring camps the last three weeks, giving head coach Jeff Auvinen and his staff an early look at what they’ll have to work with next season, and how to fill the holes left by graduating seniors.
“We’ve got a pretty good core of kids coming back, we’ve got kids that are really working hard,” Auvinen said.
And they will be bringing back some playmakers from last year, Auvinen pointed out.
One of those playmakers, Braiden Copeland, led the league in receiving last season with 39 catches, 667 yards and nine touchdowns. His brother Tyler won Mountain Valley Conference player of the year last season as quarterback for the Celtics.
Auvinen is confident in his receiving and defensive back core, seeing it as the deeper position groups they have early on.
At one of their weaker positions early on — mostly due to lack of depth, said Auvinen — it looks they’ll need a new offensive line after losing three second-team all-conference linemen in graduating seniors Isaac Scroggins, Aldo Villalvazo and Jeremiah Ratliff.
Auvinen said they have guys to play on the line, but a lot of work is needed.
“We’ve got great o-line and d-line coaches,” Auvinen said. “Connor and Kenny and Brian will do a great job with our o-line and d-line, but they’ve got a ways to go.”
The Celtics have a good quarterback battle in camp to replace Tyler who graduated. Senior Jackson Alt and junior Gage Smedema. Auvinen said Smedema will also play on defense and receiver when not behind center.