By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes
LAKE OSWEGO—McNary’s football season ended the same way it started.
Riding high off a four-game winning streak and a league championship, the Celtics, who opened the season 0-5, came back down to earth in a 56-33 first round playoff loss to Lakeridge.
“We played slow and soft, not a good combination in the playoffs,” McNary head coach Jeff Auvinen said. “They (Lakeridge) played much faster. They played much harder than us. They were gritty and tough and they kicked our butt.”
The Celtics competed early as quarterback Erik Barker connected with Devyn Shurr for a 47-yard gain on the first play of the game. After the drive ended with a blocked field goal, Lakeridge went 23 yards on three plays to take a 6-0 lead with 9:24 remaining in the first quarter.
But McNary answered with a 12-play, 73-yard scoring drive to take its only lead, 7-6. Barker hit Nigel Harris for a 31-yard gain to get the Celtics to the 1-yard line, where Junior Walling then bulldozed his way into the end zone.
The Pacers then took control, scoring on plays of 45, 61, 14, 18 and 20 yards to take a commanding 42-7 lead at halftime.
After Lakeridge added another long touchdown to begin the third quarter, McNary’s backup quarterback, Ryan Bamford, connected with Jacob Jackson for a 17-yard touchdown.
An interception by Harris gave the ball right back to the Celtics and Barker out-jumped a Lakeridge defender to catch a 6-yard pass from Bamford in the end zone.
Bamford then threw his third touchdown of the game, on a 9-yard strike to Wyatt Sherwood, to get McNary within 49-26.
Robert Benson scored McNary’s final touchdown of the season on an 8-yard run with 3:20 remaining.
“We played a little harder, a little faster, like we should have played the whole game,” Auvinen said of the Celtics effort in the second half.
McNary finished the season 4-6. The Celtics won all four of their Mountain Valley Conference games but were outscored 307-113 in non-league games.
“We did not do well out of league,” Auvinen said. “I think we have the ability. I think we just have to get the mentality going that we belong and get after it.”