By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
McNary (3-1) will go to Forest Grove (1-3) Friday, Sept. 29 with one of its leaders on both sides of the ball standing on the sideline.
Lucas Garvey, the Celtics leading rusher and top cornerback, suffered a broken collarbone running the ball in the first quarter of a 21-7 win at McKay on Friday, Sept. 22.
McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen expects Garvey to be out six weeks and in the meantime he’ll help the Celtics as an assistant coach.
In Garvey’s absence, Junior Walling rushed for 171 yards on 29 carries at McKay. Freddy Jimna had 31 yards on eight touches and Robert Benson added 37 yards on nine attempts.
“All the running backs did a nice job,” Auvinen said. “We’ll continue to use all three of them.”
On defense, Devyn Schurr got snaps at cornerback. Nigel Harris will also get a shot there.
“It might be by committee. It might be who rises to the top,” Auvinen said. “I thought that everyone that went in for him (Garvey) did a great job, both offensively and defensively.”
Some good news on the injury front—Jonny Williams, who missed the McKay game after tweaking his quadricep, was back at practice on Monday, Sept. 25 and could also help the Celtics at cornerback.
Lineman Tim Kiser, who suffered a concussion against Sprague, is also expected back soon.
“There’s certain steps you take on the way to coming back, maybe make it back this week,” Auvinen said of Kiser. “We’ll see where he’s at. I’d say for sure, next week he’s available.”
McNary has owned Forest Grove since the Vikings entered the Greater Valley Conference in 2014, winning all three match ups by a combined score of 107-38.
“They haven’t been great but they play hard,” Auvinen said.
“They’ve just made too many mistakes but if they clean all of those up, they could make a game of it. If they don’t, we’ll take advantage of fumbles and miscues.”
Forest Grove snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 13-6 win over North Salem on Sept. 8. The Vikings have been blown out by West Albany, McKay and West Salem.
“They beat North and North ended up beating West Albany so anything can happen in this league,” Auvinen said. “We just need to concentrate on ourselves and get better every week.”
For McNary, that includes penalties. The Celtics had 14 for 105 yards at McKay.
“I think that we need to get better at every facet,” Auvinen said. “There have been times when our offense has been really good and times when our defense has looked really good and times when our special teams looked special. I don’t think we’ve combined all three in a game yet. We need to find a game where they’re all clicking and I think that would really help us in this second half of the season.”