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Cowboys defeat Storm in overtime


Crook County stops storm on two-point conversion attempt to end game

In what can only be described as a game of inches, the Crook County Cowboys held on to edge the Summit Storm 28-27 in overtime, in an exciting nonconference football game.by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Aaron Swindle runs the ball around the right side during the Cowboys win over the Summit Storm on Friday. Swindle ran for 97 yards in 20 carries during the contest as Crook County won 28-27 in overtime.

“That’s huge,” Crook County Head Coach Ryan Cochran said following the contest. “Anytime you win in overtime, that’s a big deal. We handled some adversity and they stuck with it and they found ways to win in weird ways.”

Tied 21-21 at the end of regulation, the Cowboys drew first blood in overtime, scoring on a 10-yard Colbran Meeker run. Ryder Shinkle kicked the extra point and the Cowboys led 28-21.

The Storm quickly answered. Quarterback, Tyler Mullen kept the ball for a short gain. Then Merritt Barber swept around right end down to the five-yard line. Summit ran the same play on the next down with Jason Garcia carrying the ball into the end zone. Trailing 28-27, the Storm decided to attempt a two-point conversion to win the game.

Barber took the ball around right end again, on the same play, but this time he was met with stiff resistance by the Crook County defense. Zach Smith, Aaron Swindle, and Jason Williams all hit Barber, stopping him less than a foot from the goal line.

“They ran the same play three times in a row,” Smith said. “When we saw the movement we all figured it was going to the same place, so I went and hit him in the shoulders and Williams and Swindle went and took him out at the ankles and we stopped him. It meant the world.”

As players unpiled and the officials signaled that the extra point was no good, Crook County players leaped into the air and those on the sideline rushed the field celebrating.

The victory moved the Cowboys all the way from 28th to 24th in the OSAA?Power Rankings and kept their playoff hopes alive.

Early in the contest, it looked like it was going to be all Crook County.

The Cowboys moved the ball seemingly at will, eating up big chunks of yardage on the ground. The Cowboys first drive stalled when the they fumbled and the Storm recovered. However, the Storm was unable to move the ball. On fourth and eight, the Storm elected not to punt, and the Cowboys defense tackled Mullen for no gain, giving Crook County the ball on their own 40-yard line.

Four plays later, the Cowboys appeared to score, but the play was called back on a Crook County penalty. On second and 14, Crook County quarterback Blake Bartels hit Colbran Meeker, who carried the ball to the 19-yard line for a Cowboy first down. On third and long, Bartels dropped back to pass again and hit Ryder Shinkle for a first down on the six-yard line. Two plays later, Meeker scored on a two-yard run, and the Cowboys led 7-0.

Summit was unable to move the ball again and quickly punted the ball back to the Cowboys. Meeker returned the ball all the way to the Summit 33-yard line, but an illegal block moved the ball back to the 46-yard line. Three plays later, Bartels hit Meeker on a 35-yard touchdown pass, but once again, the play was called back by a penalty. On second and 16, Bartels dropped back to pass and appeared to hit a Crook County receiver in the hands. However, the ball popped into the air and a Summit defensive back intercepted the ball and returned it to the 39-yard line. From there, the Storm went on a long drive, finally stalling on the 10 yard line.

On fourth down, the Storm attempted a 27-yard field goal. However, Crook County defensive end Clark Woodward broke through the Storm line, blocking Devon Curtright’s kick. Woodward then picked up the ball and ran untouched 85 yards for a touchdown.

“I owe everything I’ve gotten to our line,” Woodward said following the game. “I’m just glad that everyone kept playing. They really showed what it means to be a Cowboy. They gave everything they had.”

Shinkle’s kick was good and the Cowboys led 14-0.

Late in the first half, Bartels kept the ball and swept around left end for a nine-yard gain. Bartels broke his collarbone on the play. With normal starter Mike Irwin already out with a concussion, the Cowboys were forced to rely on JV quarterback Seth Kessi for the remainder of the contest.

Crook County still led 14-0 at the end of the first half and appeared to be in control of the game. However, the Cowboys were unable to move the ball effectively in the third quarter.

The Storm closed to within a touchdown midway through the period on a 14-yard pass from Mullen to Josh Cherry. The two teams traded possession the remainder of the quarter. Then, with seconds remaining in the period, Summit dropped back to punt. Meeker was unable to catch the ball cleanly, and the Storm recovered the ball on Crook County’s 15-yard line. Summit moved the ball to the Crook County four-yard line, but Williams recovered a fumble on the 17-yard line. From there, the Cowboys marched methodically down the field, finally scoring on a one-yard quarterback sneak by Kessi. Leading 21-7 with just 6:38 remaining in the contest, it looked like the Cowboys were going to win. However, the Storm rallied. Mullen scored just 11 seconds later on a 58-yard fake reverse to make the score 21-14.

The Storm attempted an onside kick. However, Crook County recovered the ball on the 46-yard line. Crook County was forced to punt and the Storm took over on their own 16-yard line with 3:30 remaining in regulation. The Storm quickly marched down the field with Mullen scoring from 13 yards out to tie the score with 1:16 left in regulation.

On the final play of regulation, Kessi threw a long lateral to the sideline for Shinkle who heaved the ball down the field, where it was intercepted by the Storm, setting up the overtime heroics by the Cowboy defense.

“It was just a great effort,” Cochran said. “When Bartels got hurt, it changed our offense, but the kids had great effort and stuck with it. The sideline was awesome and our crowd was awesome. It’s hard to manipulate everything in my head right now because it was such a weird ending.”

Meeker finished the contest with 99 yards rushing on 16 carries. Swindle added 97 yards on 20 carries, while Woodward rushed for 34 more yards.

Bartels was 3-5 passing the ball for 48 yards prior to his injury while Kessi was 3-9 for 33 yards. Shinkle led the Cowboy receiving corps with two catches for 23 yards while Swindle caught a pair of passes for 22 yards and Brant McCloughan caught one pass for 15 yards.

As a team, the Cowboys finished with 316 yards of total offense compared to 326 for the Storm while the Storm had 19 first downs to 18 for the Cowboys.

The Cowboys (4-4) host the Marshfield Pirates on Friday beginning at 7 p.m. The game is a must-win contest for the Cowboys with the team needing to move ahead of 23rd-ranked Yamhill Carlton in order to earn a play-in game.

“We know that we have to take care of our stuff and then let the chips fall where they may,” Cochran said. “We are trying to just take care of business and move up the ladder.”

Crook County 28, Summit 27 (OT)

Crook County 7 7 0 7 7 — 28

Summit 0 0 7 14 6 — 27

CC — Colbran Meeker 2-yard run (Ryder Shinkle kick)

CC — Clark Woodward 85-yard return of blocked kick (Shinkle kick)

S — Josh Cherry 14-yard pass from Tyler Mullen (Devon Curtright kick)

CC — Seth Kessi 1-yard run (Shinkle kick)

S — Mullen 58-yard run (Curtright kick)

S — Mullen 13-yard run (Curtright kick)

CC — Meeker 10-yard run (Shinkle kick)

S — Jason Garcia 5-yard run (run failed)