By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
From a snap over the quarterback’s head to a blocked punt inside the 10-yard line to a fumble in the end zone to a critical 12 men on the field penalty in the final minutes, last season’s South Salem film was a hard re-watch for McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen.
“We made so many mistakes last year,” Auvinen said. “It was one thing after another and we did not play very well.”
What makes matters worse is if McNary defeats South Salem, the Celtics finish tied for first in the Greater Valley Conference with Sprague and West Salem.
“We owe them one if not more than one from previous years,” Auvinen said.
McNary last beat the Saxons in 2013.
Auvinen isn’t sure what to expect from this South Salem team, which just like last season, is coming off a more than 40-point loss to Sprague to open the season.
“There’s a lot of mystery at the moment,” Auvinen said. “I don’t know how good North is because they’ve only played one game. I don’t know how good South is because they’ve only played one game and I don’t know how good we are because we’ve only played one game. I think Sprague is pretty good but besides that I’m not sure.”
Alex Sanchez, a 265-pound defensive lineman, tight end and running back, will lead the Saxons as they welcome McNary Friday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m. South Salem has a new quarterback in junior Elijah Enomoto-Haole.
Auvinen would like to see his team take a step up in all three phases of the game.
While the defense gave up only seven points to North Salem, thanks in large part to two goal line stands, the Celtics allowed too much yardage.
The offense left too many points on the board due to dropped passes and penalties.
Like last season, Auvinen expects a tight game at South Salem.
“I think it’s going to be very competitive,” he said. “It’s two good teams that will play hard and be well coached and try to progress from Week 1. It should be interesting.”