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Raiders look for bounce back

A contrast in styles will be on display at Mt. Hood Community College when the run-heavy McKay Royal Scots take on the air-it-out Reynolds Raiders on Friday night.

McKay comes into the game with a pair of home wins under new coach Greg Mendez, piling up almost 50 points per game in decisions over South Albany and North Medford.

“They do some things are are tough to get ready for,” Reynolds coach Sean Van DeMerghel said. “But our front seven in playing pretty well right now. A lot of those kids have been around for a couple years, and they’re learning their positions.”

The key to the Raiders defense is at inside linebacker where the tandem of Kyle Auda and Saati Ofa patrol the middle of the field.

“Those two are playing at a high level right now, and they’ll lay a hit on you,” Van DeMerghel said. “But it all starts up front, controlling the line and allowing them to get where they need to be.”

by: THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - Reynolds bunched together for an onsides kick attempt on the opening play during last weeks 16-13 loss to Beaverton.

Running back Tyler Gonzalez powers McKay’s attack, picking up four touchdowns in the team’s opener. Quarterback Juan Ochoa, a receiver last year, is also capable of breaking loose.

The Raiders are no strangers to high-scoring games, employing the shotgun formation almost exclusively with four receivers racing around the field on nearly every play. Reynolds scored 40 points or more four times last season and opened this year with a 52-point explosion against Hillsboro.

Last week, the team stumbled against Beaverton getting shutout in the second half of a 16-13 loss.

“We can’t drop balls and have bad penalties. I have to believe last week was just a one-time mistake,” Van DeMerghel said. “We can’t let that last game bother us too long — Friday can’t come fast enough.”

Raiders QB Josh Schleining leads the conference with 562 passing yards, completing 35 of 56 (.630) attempts with six TDs and only one interception.

“I have confidence in him pulling the trigger. If I didn’t we’d find somebody else,” Van DeMerghel said. “He stays calm under pressure and doesn’t get rattled.”

The Raiders also have a weapon in kicker Angel Garcia, who leads the league with 16 points. He has converted 7 of 8 extra points, his only miss hitting the upright, and is 3 of 4 on field goals.