By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
It’s one-and-done from here on out, and the McNary High School varsity football team is hoping it will be the one to put the kibosh on Roseburg High School’s season.
The Celtics (5-4 overall) and Indians (6-4 overall) meet on McNary’s Flesher Field Friday, Nov. 8, in the first round of the state playoffs.
“It will be a good physical game. We’re ready for it and it’s what we want,” said Celt Brett Hildebrand.
McNary earned a third place finish in the Central Valley Conference and completed its regular season ranked high enough to avoid a play-in game. Roseburg finished fifth in Special District 1 and demolished Barlow High School 63-7 in a play-in game last week. The teams enter into the contest ranked 14th and 19th, respectively.
“It’s one of the closer-matched games in the first round. I believe we are a better team, and this is a game we can win. We respect their program, their history and their coach, but think we can compete well,” said Isaac Parker, McNary head coach.
The Indians are making their 22nd consecutive appearance in the playoffs under Thurman Bell, the team’s head coach since 1971. Under his wing, Roseburg has claimed four state titles.
Roseburg’s workhorse this season has been senior Levi Holden with 228 carries for more than 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns. Roseburg favors the ground game, but Indian quarterback Cody Walker has 230 yards on 12 completed passes. Roseburg receiver Ryan Carhart has 121 yards on four catches.
“We need to take care of the veer and their run game, and stay on top of their play action. On offense, we have to be patient and take what they give us. Good things will happen if we remain patient and let our play-makers make plays,” Parker said.
Part of competing with the Indians will mean dealing with their reputation or, at the very least, not letting it get to the Celtics, said McNary senior Perry Groves.
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