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Month: September 2018

Rep. Kurt Schrader: Smoking out a solution on preventing wildfire

Unlike other natural disasters, such as hurricanes, flooding and tornadoes, the fight against wildfires that now seem ever-present along the West Coast has been largely overlooked at the national level.

However, with the passage of an Omnibus spending package in March, wildfire outbreaks will now have access to the same Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds that are used to offset the costs of wildfire damage.

“Why are other natural disasters allowed to access that budget and not the fire guys? The answer is Paul Ryan. He would not allow that to happen and that was an act of discrimination against the West. The good news is the West ganged up on him and said we should have access,” Rep. Kurt Schrader said.

In addition to providing access to FEMA funds, new policies will end “fire borrowing.” Fire borrowing is the name given to the longstanding practice of borrowing from the Forest Service’s wildfire prevention funds to pay for suppression once a fire breaks out. The result was funds to do the work of prevention were not available during the low-risk seasons.

While it’s good news for the communities affected by wildfires, Schrader said the work needed to continue “putting people back to work in the woods with a thoughtful, congressional approach. Not clear cutting, let’s thin and do some prescribed burning.”

As the West Coast can begin to breathe a sigh of relief as the fire season wanes, communities in North and South are still waiting to begin recovery from Hurricane Florence, not to mention hurricane-related recoveries still being executed in Puerto Rico and Houston, Texas. Asked what could be done to better prepare communities across the country from mass devastation, Schrader said it begins with recalculating the FEMA budget.

“The problem we’ve got is that the budget is based on intensity and frequency calculated in the 1980s. With climate change, FEMA has documented that the storms are occurring more often and they are much more violent. We have not adjusted the base FEMA budget because Republicans don’t want to deal with the base reality of what stuff costs,” he said.

He added that reform of federal flood insurance programs – and thought into how and where people are allowed to build – needs to begin.

“We shouldn’t allow new homes to be built in floodways or floodplains or on the beach, that’s ridiculous. We also have to figure out a flood insurance program that doesn’t bankrupt a retired couple living in Tillamook,” he said. “The Republicans want to privatize the thing and they found out a lot of their constituents don’t like that idea because the rates would go through the roof. Government can defray some of the costs as long as people take responsibility for other things.”

Defense leads Whiteaker over Walker

Whiteaker’s varsity football team moved to 2-0 with a 14-6 victory over Walker on Wednesday, Sept. 19.

Head Coach Tom Larimer credited the defense for the win.

“We really were not very good on offense,” said Larimer, “But our defense owned the day.”

Whiteaker’s defense is led by coordinator Luke Atwood, an all state quarterback at McNary, one of the top D-III quarterbacks in the country at Willamette, coached with Tom Smythe for 13 years, including 10 years at McNary, and played professionally for seven years.

“I can’t describe how fortunate Keizer is to have him back coaching in our community again,” Larimer said.

Atwood’s defense smothered Walker the entire game.

Braiden Copeland led the way with 10 tackles and an interception, while Kyler Donahue, Jackson Alt, Hunter Ruberto, and Dominic Hughes each had five tackles.

Damon Thornton snuffed out Walker’s last gasp effort when he intercepted a pass in the final minute of the game.    

“Kyler, Ty (Borde), and Damon really just shut down Walker’s passing game.  They were stuck on those receivers all day,” said Larimer.

Whiteaker’s offense struggled, but did enough to win.

The Wolverines put 14 points on the board in the second quarter, and that was all the defense needed.

Copeland opened the scoring with a short touchdown run and connected with Jacob Hurst from 10 yards out just before half for what turned out to be the winning score.

Copeland led the team with 79 yards rushing on 11 carries, running primarily behind Will Green, Cristian Garcia, Hughes and Hurst.

The game was followed by a free post game BBQ for the players and fans.

“We have incredible sponsors,” said Larimer. “They provide anything and everything we need to build a positive experience for these kids.  We served nearly 200 free meals after the game. I saw lots of smiling faces and happy families.”

Claggett wins big

Claggett Creek blew out Leslie 52-14 in its season opener on Sept. 19.

Jabol Balos rushed for two touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass to Osmid Cano Espinoza.

Julian Orta ran for a touchdown and took a kickoff back for another score.

John Carlos Vasquez ran a blocked punt back for a touchdown.

“Our defense played really well the whole game,” Panthers head coach Aaron Carr said.

“It was a good start to the season.”

Tumwater runs past McNary

McNary’s (0-4) defense had no answer for Tumwater’s wing-T as the T-Birds rushed for more than 500 yards to throttle the Celtics 57-13 on Friday, Sept. 21.

Tumwater scored on runs of 90, 58 and 92 yards in the first half to take a commanding 43-6 lead.

McNary got on the scoreboard early in the second quarter when Nigel Harris caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Erik Barker.

Barker completed 16 of 27 passes for 121 yards. Harris caught two passes for 51 yards.

Junior Walling, who rushed for 140 yards on 25 carries, scored the final touchdown of the game on a two-yard run.

The Celtics host South Medford on Friday, Sept. 28 at 7:15 p.m.

South Salem 21

Sprague 20

Sprague (0-4) owned the first half but South Salem (2-2) took control in the fourth quarter, scoring 21 unanswered points to defeat the Olympians for the first time since 2015.

Sprague took a 20-0 lead into halftime after Ethan Johnson threw touchdown passes to Wiley Roberts and Marshall Bray, and Chris Sharp scored on a 4-yard run.

But the Saxons got on the board early in the fourth quarter when Zach Webster scored on a 1-yard run.

Elijah Enomoto-Haole then connected with Webster for a 30-yard touchdown and Treyden Harris for a 23-yard score to give South Salem the lead with 6:56 remaining.

Ryan Rickman led the Saxons ground game, finishing with 144 yards on 22 carries. Sharp had 90 yards on 24 touches for Sprague.

South Salem opens Mountain Valley Conference play at home against Bend on Friday, Sept. 28 while the Olympians host Tigard in their final non-league game.

Sheldon 56

West Salem 21

Sheldon jumped out a 35-0 lead in the second quarter and coasted to victory.

Anthony Gould scored West Salem’s first points, catching a 43-yard touchdown pass from Simon Thompson at the end of the first half.

Jamal McMurrin then grabbed a 18-yard touchdown pass from Thompson in the third quarter.

Jordan Whitaker scored the final touchdown of the game on a 1-yard run.

Thompson completed 13 of 31 passes for 183 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

He also rushed for 80 yards on 10 carries.

Gould caught six passes for 117 yards.

West Salem (2-2) plays at Beaverton on Friday, Sept. 28.

Silverton 34

North Salem 13

North Salem (0-4) battled undefeated Silverton for a half but an interception returned for a touchdown just before intermission ended any chance of an upset.

Clint Pfeifer led the Vikings offense, rushing for 92 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.

North Salem plays at McKay on Friday, Sept. 28.

Celtics need something to celebrate

It’s homecoming week at McNary.

Monday was the coronation assembly, Wednesday the powder puff game, Friday the varsity football game and crowning of the queen and king and then Saturday a dance.

It all couldn’t come at a better time.

Mostly, the Celtics need something to celebrate.

Playing in Tumwater, Wash., McNary dropped to 0-4 last Friday, falling 56-13 in another game that was never really competitive. The T-Birds led 43-6 at halftime.

The Celtics have played as difficult a schedule as anyone in the state and host South Medford, last season’s 6A state runner-up, for homecoming, in their final non-conference game.  After graduating 19 seniors, the Panthers (3-1) aren’t nearly as talented as a year ago, squeaking by McMinnville 21-12 at home last week.

So will the homecoming celebration include the Celtics first win of the season?

Here are my picks:

West Salem at Beaverton

The Titans and Beavers have similar resumes. Both are 2-2 and have not been able to compete against the elite teams in the state with West Salem getting blown out by Lake Oswego and Sheldon and Beaverton losing by 35 points to Clackamas. The last time these two squads met, Beaverton won 41-28 in the second round of the 2016 state playoffs. West Salem gets revenge.

Prediction: Titans 45, Beavers 34

Bend at South Salem

Moving up to 6A, the Lava Bears have been one of the biggest surprises, starting the season 3-1, with their most impressive win coming at North Medford, 29-28, in the third week of the season. But the last time Bend came to Salem, it lost by 29 points to West Salem. The Saxons are riding high off a 21-20 win over rival Sprague. Can South Salem carry over the momentum or is it due for a let down?

Prediction: Saxons 27, Lava Bears 24

Tigard at Sprague

The Olympians difficult schedule continues against undefeated Tigard, No. 4 in the power rankings and in OSAAtoday’s coaches poll. The Tiger defense has allowed just 57 points this season, the third lowest of any 6A team in the state, while Sprague’s offense has lacked its usual firepower of previous teams.

Prediction: Tigers 44, Olympians 14

North Salem at McKay

The good news is either the Royal Scots or Vikings will celebrate their first victory of the season at the end of this one. Both have been close, with McKay falling to South Albany by four, and North Salem losing to Corvallis by seven. The Vikings won last year and are the more experienced group.

Prediction: Vikings 30, Royal Scots 28

South Medford at McNary

For the first time since opening the season on Aug. 31, the Celtics return home, where they are 2-4 over the last two years, including a 39-35 loss to McMinnville on homecoming last season. While McNary hasn’t shown anything over the last two weeks to appear like a team on the verge of a breakthrough, South Medford hasn’t played on the same level as Tualatin and Tumwater. The Panthers defense allowed 275 yards passing last week to McMinnville. If McNary’s offensive line can give him time, Erik Barker should be able to take similar advantage. South Medford’s offense also isn’t as dynamic as what the Celtic’s defense has seen this season. The lumps and bruises McNary has taken the first four games should help the Celtics down the stretch and that begins with South Medford.

Prediction: Celtics 28, Panthers 24

Derek Wiley is Associate Editor of the Keizertimes.

Last week: 4-1, Overall: 15-8

US Senate is a factory of suspicion and contempt


This  is the cost when institutions have lost public trust.

The United States Senate is supposed to be a deliberative body, protected by extended terms from contracting the political fevers of the day. This role assumes a certain level of competence, collegiality and goodwill among its members.

None of which has been displayed by the lead Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein. She knew about Christine Blasey Ford’s charges against Brett Kavanaugh for nearly two months before they started leaking to the press. This method of revelation—following the end of the Kavanaugh hearings —blindsided Feinstein’s colleagues, denied the nominee a proper chance to confront the accusation, and launched an important public issue under a partisan cloud.

So Feinstein is guilty of governing malpractice and has encouraged suspicion and contempt, especially among conservatives, for the institution she represents.

How about the Judiciary Committee more broadly? This is the place where serious-minded investigations of judicial qualifications (and disqualifications) are supposed to take place. The committee has subpoena power and a staff of investigators for a reason. It should be the forum where matters such as the charges against Kavanaugh are considered. And Chairman Chuck Grassley’s offer to hear committee testimony by Ford, in public or private, was not unreasonable.

But Democrats view the Republican-controlled Judiciary Committee as highly politicized — and for an understandable reason. The most recent Supreme Court nominee chosen by a Democrat, Merrick Garland, was defeated and mistreated by delaying his vote beyond President Obama’s term in office. There was no credible explanation for doing this — except that the ideological stakes were high and Republicans had the ability to impose their will. It was a raw and effective exercise of power, but it had the cost of leaving a bad partisan taste in senatorial mouths.

Over the last few years Republicans have demonstrated an undeniable ruthlessness in the Supreme Court nomination process, encouraging progressive suspicion and contempt.

So how about the FBI? It, at least, should be a respected, trusted arbiter in American life. Why not take the job of investigation away from elected representatives and give it to career professionals?

But who could have possibly predicted the bureau’s reputational roller coaster over the last few years? First, a clownish intervention in the last days of a presidential election that might have helped elect Donald Trump. Then revelations about politicized agents within the FBI who hated Trump. Then almost daily attacks on the bureau by the president of the United States, who calls his trashing of the FBI’s credibility “one of my crowning achievements.”

The Democratic call for FBI involvement was badly mishandled. By withdrawing Ford’s initial agreement to testify before the Judiciary Committee and insisting on a preliminary investigation by the FBI, Ford’s lawyers made their strategy seem like a time-wasting partisan maneuver. And we already know how Senate Democrats would overwhelmingly respond to an eventual FBI report. If the FBI finds strong evidence implicating Kavanaugh in a crime, Democrats will oppose him. If there is a muddled mix of accusations and memories, Democrats will oppose him. If Kavanaugh is completely vindicated, Democrats will oppose him.

Americans can be forgiven for thinking that everything involved in Supreme Court nominations — all the institutions, traditions, principles, procedures, solemn oaths and columned buildings — are merely a cover, a disguise for the will to power. Where there is no authority, all that remains is a contest of power.

Out of all this, two things strike me as clear.

First, as it stands, the facts are in Kavanaugh’s favor. The charge against him is vague, uncorroborated and completely inconsistent with virtually all other accounts of Kavanaugh’s character.

Second, an accusation of attempted rape can’t be allowed to hang in the air without a more serious investigation. In matters of such cruelty and lasting damage, there is no exemption for youth and inexperience. I would no more want a Supreme Court justice who had attempted rape than I would want a president who committed sexual assault. That is not too high a standard.

I am on record saying that Republicans should go the extra mile to examine the Ford accusation. But not an extra marathon. Of all our institutions, the FBI retains some shred of moral standing. It should be instructed by the president to conduct an investigation, in a limited amount of time, with a narrow remit: to see if there are any other witnesses or contemporaneous evidence that would make Ford’s claim seem likely. If not, Kavanaugh should be quickly confirmed.

(Washington Post Writers Group)

Demos forget rights of the accused


The Senate Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, like others in her party, apparently has forgotten that in America, the burden of proof falls on an accuser, not the accused.

Thus Feinstein played a starring role in her party’s efforts to slime the reputation of Brett Kavanaugh, an eminently qualified jurist nominated by President Donald Trump to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court.

On Sept. 13, Feinstein released a statement about an anonymous accuser’s unspecified “information” on the judge, which the senator said she referred to federal authorities. Feinstein released the statement without even asking Kavanaugh about the charges.

Feinstein had plenty of time to ask. On July 30, college professor Christine Blasey Ford wrote a letter to the senator in which she asserted that a drunken Kavanaugh—then a high school student—“physically and sexually assaulted” her “in the early 1980s.” The then-17-year-old Kavanaugh groped the then-15-year-old Ford, tried to pull off her clothes, and put a hand over her mouth, Ford wrote, before she got away.

Ford provided little detail as to the time—or even year—or the place. Her corroboration was limited essentially to notes taken by a therapist when Ford first revealed the story in 2012.

The Democrat from California maintains that she could not mention the allegation to Kavanaugh without violating Ford’s request for confidentiality. Feinstein apparently never informed Ford that accused individuals have a right to face their accusers.

Instead leaks about the Ford letter, presumably by Democrats affiliated with the Senate committee, revealed the allegation which led Ford to break her silence. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, has since invited Ford and Kavanaugh to address his committee on Monday. Kavanaugh accepted the invitation; Ford has said she wants the FBI to first investigate the alleged incident before she testifies.

I tend to believe women who accuse men of sexual misconduct, because these types of episodes happen all the time unfortunately. When I first heard the accusation, I thought it was very possible a drunken teenage boy forced himself on a vulnerable teenage girl, who fortunately got away.

But Kavanaugh denies Ford’s charge, the witness Ford named refutes her claim, and the pendulum has swung too far on these stories.

Kavanaugh has led a good life. He’s been a good boss, husband and father to the women around him, who enthusiastically vouch for him. He’s passed six investigations by the FBI.

One person’s unsubstantiated accusation, waged decades after the alleged event and at a politically sensitive moment, should not be enough to topple him.

On Twitter, conservatives have hammered Democrats for their hypocrisy on sexual harassment and misconduct.

Feinstein voted against convicting an impeached Bill Clinton, who was accused of much worse as an adult. Democrats also have hit the mute button after Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., won his party’s primary in a bid to become Minnesota attorney general after allegations that he battered a former girlfriend.

They were adults who held public office at the time of the accusations, yet Democrats are holding them to a lower standard than they have set for a teenager.

But hypocrisy isn’t the big problem here. The horror lies in the obscene toxicity behind the left’s rush to bury Kavanaugh.

When Trump picked Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, Senate Democrats had not gotten over the GOP Senate’s decision to block President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland. The Republicans, Democrats complained, wouldn’t even give Garland a hearing.

Garland never was going to win confirmation from a GOP-controlled Senate — not when a presidential election scheduled within the year could produce a president who would keep the conservative 5-4 majority from swinging in the other direction.

But Senate Democrats could not let go of the resentment they felt at the GOP’s refusal to hold a hearing for Garland. Before she voted against Trump’s first Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, Feinstein told MSNBC, “The humiliation it caused a very good man resounds with all of us still.”

Humiliation? Please. The Republicans spared Garland a hearing for a job he wasn’t going to get at the time. Now the Democrats are looking for payback by engineering an unfair hearing for Kavanaugh. They are so determined to lash out at Kavanaugh that they’re dredging up dirt from his high school years.

If the left can’t smear an eminently qualified jurist on the basis of his judicial record, they’ll destroy his reputation. So if he makes it onto the big bench, he’ll have a stain on his name likely to haunt every decision he writes until his dying day.

(Creators Syndicate)

The price of football is too high

It’s fall again! Time for football games and cheering for your team.  Heck, football’s become so popular even females are playing the game, at least as kickers, while possibly no one would be surprised to learn that females are in the game as quarterbacks and pass catchers.

There is a dark side to our country’s perennially-watched grid iron game.  But hold on a moment!  Is it really in danger of seeing its end?  Science argues it is.  As we know, football is a sport in which those simply watching the game are entertained as men turn one another’s brains into the consistency of overly-boiled rolled oats.

What’s been discovered by scientific research is that, in spite of all the protective gear, especially the designed and re-designed head gear, repeated hard impacts that are part and parcel of the game do permanent damage to the human brain.  These impacts result in chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).  In fact, a recent profile study of over 100 brains of former football players indicated signs of CTE while the longer they had played, the worse the brain damage.

Although the study wasn’t random, it does indicate that the risk is high.  There are the far too many sad stories of former players who spent their years of retirement in a kind of fog from neurological breakdown to crippled mental capacity.

Initially, the theory was that CTE results from repeated concussions that led the NFL to encourage less hard hits and promote a new concussion protocol to monitor the damage.  But experience with the matter has disclosed that the permanent damage is not the concussions; rather, it is the routine by the hundreds of constant poundings to the heads of players and the obvious fact that these are the way the game is played.

A lot of moms and dads who devote time to reading up on the latest information available to American parents have decided to direct their kids to sports less head-impacting than football.  The result is that football has more and more often become the province of poorer kids and minorities who, generally speaking, see the sport as a means to get out of poverty even though constant head traumas bring high risk.

Obviously, there are excessive amounts of really big money in football at the university and professional levels, resulting in extraordinary efforts by vested interests to protect it from its critics.  As a result, we already see the old Phillip Morris strategy at work where when cigarette makers realized that stop smoking programs would cut profits, they went overseas.  What’s underway now is a search far and wide into other places in the world where health concerns are brushed off and life spans are already short.

My wife and I would not allow our kids to play football, period.  We argue strenuously against it for our grandkids, too.  I’ll readily admit that I’ve been a fan of a favorite team or two. But, knowing what happens to the heads of those who play, I’ve mainly weaned myself from watching and thereby not supporting the ever-growing crowd of people who ultimately sacrifice their lives to perpetual murkiness, mental incapacity and premature death.

(Gene H. McIntyre shares his opinion frequently in the Keizetimes.)

Celtics rout West Salem in Mountain Valley Conference opener

Of the Keizertimes

McNary (5-1-2) wanted to show the rest of the new Mountain Valley Conference that it was here to fight for the league championship.

After a 5-1 win over West Salem (2-5-1) on Tuesday, the Celtics are now ready to prove they’re one of the top teams in the state.

McNary will get that shot Saturday at Summit (7-1).

“We have to give everything that game,” McNary junior Jack Baez said. “They’re a top three team in the state so we need to show them that we’re up there with them. We have to come out big.”

The Celtics came out big against West Salem, scoring two goals in the first eight minutes.

Francisco Rios put in the first. Luis Lopez scored the second.

But then McNary relaxed and the Titans took advantage as Andres Labate fired a shot into the net to get West Salem within 2-1 early in the second half.

Picking up the pace, Baez tapped in a goal to extend the Celtics lead to 3-1 with 29 minutes remaining.

“It was a really nice assist,” Baez said. “I just got lucky I was in the right place at the right time.”

Midway through the second half, Baez added a second goal to give McNary a 4-1 lead.

“We got too composed, too cocky,” Baez said. “We had to pick it up. We had to come to a realization that this game isn’t over, 2-0 is always the most dangerous score in soccer so we just had to continue to pick it up in the second half. It was good we didn’t let our heads down our anything like that. We raised the tempo instead of lowering it down. That’s another thing that is special about this team. We overcome a lot of things.”

Alex Salazar put in the final goal of the night with 13 minutes left to play.

“There’s just something special about this team this year,” Baez said. “We just connect way better this year and I’m confident going into this league. I feel like we’re a top team, hopefully we continue to show it. We just have to continue with our hard work.”

Goal keeper Alejandro Villarreal had five saves, playing for the injured Sebastian Lopez, who McNary head coach Miguel Camarena expects back soon.

“He’s getting there but we want to be smart,” Camarena said. “It’s a huge asset to have two goal keepers.”

Saturday’s game at Summit begins at noon.

“It’s going to be a tough one but if our kids play their game, we should be good,” Camarena said. “They’re a pretty good technical team with a lot of possession so our goal is going to be to try to take the ball away from them and create opportunities.”

City will join lawsuit to stop shooting across river

Of the Keizertimes

In its meeting Monday, Sept. 17, the Keizer City Council took its most bold steps to date toward stopping bullets traveling from a shooting range across the Willamette River into west Keizer neighborhoods.

During the meeting, the council opted to join, as intervenors, a $2.7 million civil lawsuit and request for an injunction against the D. Lance Davis and his business, Northwest Rock, Inc. Davis owns the quarry being used as a recreational shooting range from which bullets have traveled into a city park and into the home of a Keizer couple in the past year.

As an intervenor in the injunction portion of the lawsuit, the city will not be entitled to monetary awards, but it is an act of solidarity with the plaintiffs, Tom and Sheryl Bauer, seeking a permanent stoppage to the property being used as a shooting range. In June, a bullet from the range passed through the outer wall of the Bauers’ home and stopped only after hitting a granite backsplash.

“The goal of the injunction is a common one. It’s the same thing the city council wants and that’s to have [the shooting] stop,” said Keizer City Attorney Shannon Johnson prior to the council approving the action. “I want to warn you that there are downsides, but this is a situation that we’ve never run into. We have concerns for the safety of our citizens.”

Johnson said the primary risk for the city will come in the possibility of needing to enlist outside counsel on the matter.

Councilor Amy Ryan asked where funds would come from if additional legal help was needed.  Johnson said that determination would likely be made at the time, but contingency funds were the most probable source.

“When you talk about additional funds, nothing can replace lives and I am completely behind this,” said Councilor Roland Herrera.

Johnson chuckled when asked if the time dedicated to the lawsuit would detract from other priorities, “It has and it will continue, but those issues are, frankly, not as important as this.”

The council unanimously approved moving forward as intervenors.

In addition, the councildirected city staff to draft a letter to the Oregon Legislature asking the state’s governing bodies to “address the dangerous and unacceptable situation with regard to discharge of firearms in close proximity to urban areas.”

Mayor Cathy Clark asked whether the letter should address rural as well as urban areas, but City Manager Chris Eppley and Johnson cautioned against expanding the parameters of the request.

“Going the legislative route is going to be a tough row to hoe. Crafting something that walks the appropriate line is going to be difficult and, the broader you cast the net, the more people will join in the opposition,” Eppley said.

Councilor Marlene Parsons asked whether hunting along the river should be an additional consideration, but waterways are mostly controlled by the state.

“The state has recourse if a hunter is the bad actor in this,” Clark said.

Gary Blake, a member of the West Keizer Neighborhood Association, thanked the council for its actions, saying, “This shooting issue is something that needs to be addressed and I really appreciate your action tonight.”

McNary lineman recovering from neck injury, concussion

Of the Keizertimes

While he’s still weeks away from returning to the football field, McNary senior Wyatt Sherwood was standing on the sideline Friday and back at school on Monday.

Sherwood suffered a neck injury and concussion run blocking at West Linn on Friday, Sept. 7. Early in the third quarter, Sherwood had his defender on the ground when McNary running back Junior Walling was tackled into him, bending his head back.

“You can’t really see it on film but that’s how we’re presuming it happened,” Sherwood said. “I think I kind of blacked out a little bit because I can’t really remember much of that play. There was some pain in my neck but a lot of numbness. My legs felt a little different. I couldn’t move them at first but then I could. When they stood me up, my extremities all went numb and that’s what really kind of scared me.”

Sherwood was carted off the field, placed in an ambulance and taken to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, where it was determined he had swelling in his C5, 6 and 7 vertebrae and spinal canal. After spending Friday night at the hospital, he was released Saturday at 5 p.m.

Sherwood tried to go to school the following Tuesday.

“I didn’t really do well because the lights really hurt,” Sherwood said. “I had a pretty good concussion at that time.”

A week later, Sherwood was feeling much better.

Sherwood has always been a lineman, although an undersized one. He played offensive tackle at 185 pounds last season.

“I had to prove myself there against some big guys, some 300 pound guys,” Sherwood said. “It was difficult but I held my own.”

With the goal of getting up to 220, Sherwood spent the offseason in the weight room and eating more protein. By the start of this season, Sherwood, who also grew two inches, weighed in at 245.

“I’m bigger and stronger. I feel faster,” Sherwood said. “I can hold my own against guys and I can take guys, too.”

Sherwood, who also plays on the defensive line for the Celtics, looks forward to returning to the field.

“I plan on coming back sometime,” he said. “I’m thinking two weeks from now, maybe less. I’m not sure yet. It will be kind of different. I might be a little more cautious with things than I was before. I might not use my head as much as I used to. I’ll be wearing a cowboy collar to keep my head from going back again like that to prevent that injury again.”