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Wildcats bring potent air attack

McNary’s Brady Sparks sprints around a pack of linemen in the North Salem game Friday, Sept. 5. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)
McNary’s Brady Sparks sprints around a pack of linemen in the North Salem game Friday, Sept. 5. (KEIZERTIMES/Eric A. Howald)

By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes 

The McNary High School varsity football team hosts its only non-league game of the season Friday, Sept. 12, and it promises to be a doozy.

The Celtics and Westview High School Wildcats, of Portland’s Metro league, kick off at 7 p.m.

Both teams won their first contests of the 2014 season last week and will have momentum as much as anything else riding on the outcome of the game.

The Wildcats went 7-4 last season and took second place in the Metro Conference. Last week, they clobbered Tualatin High School in a 49-13 rout. The Celts beat North Salem High School 35-21.

“They’re going to be a bit different than North in the way they play the game. It’s going from a heavy ground game team to a pass team with a hurry-up offense,” said Devon Dunagan, a McNary senior.

Wildcat quarterback Austin Brisbee threw for nearly 2,800 yards and 23 touchdowns last year. Brisbee had three touchdown passes and 313 yards against Tualatin. Westview’s running game is becoming a threat as well. Tailback Trevor Bovero and teammates Max Chung and Jayden Hanna all scored on the ground against Tualatin.

The mix is likely to test the Celtic defense, which few members of the team were pleased with last week.

“We had some big flags with North Salem and those are things that we need to clean up this week. We can definitely be doing our jobs better on defense,” said Celt Trent Van Cleave. The Celts lost one of two fumbles and lost 58 yards to five penalties.

McNary presented a fairly balanced offensive package last week even though no one individual player posted eye-popping numbers. Brady Sparks put in 170 yards of the Celts’ 193 on the ground with a touchdown. Quarterback Drew McHugh completed 11 of 18 for 133 yards with two touchdown passes. Kyle Torres led the receivers with 35 yards on four catches and a touchdown, but David Gonzalez, Matt Aguilar and Anthony Nguyen were nipping at his heels with no less than 26 yards in the game.

McNary senior Steven Wilkerson said the team’s focus leading up to the game would be on fundamentals.

“It’s not about how big or strong you are, it’s all in the first two steps of every play,” he said. “As far as Westview goes, we don’t plan on letting them get in the hits, if they do, we’ll punch back.”