Madras bows out of soccer postseason


White Buffalos lost 5-3 on the road to Ontario

After dropping four of five matches to end the season, the Madras High School soccer team somewhat limped into the postseason.

After earning a wild card spot in the play-in round via its power rating, Madras fell to Ontario 5-3 on Saturday in Ontario.

The loss eliminated the White Buffalos from further postseason play, and the Tigers advanced to the first round of the Class 4A boys soccer state playoffs.

The Buffs were down two starting players to begin the match, and then an injury to Andres Escalante – the team’s best defender and one of the captains – dampened the team’s morale, head coach Clark Jones said.

“As soon as Andres had to go out, the flood gates opened a bit,” Jones said. “We weren’t exactly expecting being down two players before the match started, and it was a little hard for the guys to come back from that.”

By the start of the match, however, it looked as if the team would respond just fine.

Two minutes into the match, Madras’ Bryan Renteria cashed in the opening goal, and the Buffs looked liked they were going to be in control.

However, with the early departure of Escalante, the Madras back line just wasn’t the same and Ontario netted four straight goals before the Buffs scored again.

Jones said part of the team’s struggles against the Tigers could be attributed to the rough second half of the season they had. In the Buffs’ final five matches of the regular season, the team went 1-4 after being in first place through the first half of the season.

“I think we just had a little lack of confidence in the tail end of the league,” Jones said. “Some of our chemistry went away for whatever reason, and we weren’t playing loose like we were earlier.”

Once the Buffs came to after Ontario’s barrage of goals, Maylo Urieta and Florencio Aguilar picked up goals, but it wasn’t enough.

Jones said Aguilar’s goal was especially nice, and not just because of the way he scored it.

“Florencio hit a nice free kick that went right over the keeper’s head; it was a pretty nice shot,” Jones said. “But since he’s one of the seniors, it was a nice way for him to go out ... scoring the team’s final goal of the season. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer kid, either.”

With the loss, the Buffs ended the season with a 1-5 record in their final six matches, but finished the year with a 6-6-2 mark, an improvement from last season.

Jones said they didn’t play poorly the last half of the season, with the exception of a 3-1 loss to Gladstone.

“We didn’t play well enough to win, either,” he said. “We didn’t let the game come to us at times, and we pressed a little too hard.”

Madras placed five players on the all-conference team, two of which made the first team.

Escalante was named to the first team, as was Renteria. Oved Felix and Florencio Aguilar were named to the second team, while Gustavo Pacheco was an honorable mention selection.

Aguilar, Escalante, Sam Coyle and Scott Sanchez played their final matches for the Buffs in Ontario, but Jones has a really talented crop of young players he thinks will be able to take over next season.

“It’s nice because they are already talking about schemes to help make up for what we are losing,” Jones said of the younger players on the team. “We’re going to have to come up with some players to fill a couple big holes, though.”

Those holes, Jones said, will be for Sanchez at goalkeeper and Escalante in defense.

“Not to take anything away from anyone else, but we just don’t have the types of players to fill in at those positions yet,” Jones said.

Also next season, two of the Buffs’ biggest competitors – La Salle Prep and North Marion – won’t be in the Tri-Valley Conference. La Salle is moving to Class 5A while North Marion will be in the Oregon West Conference.

Schools with developing soccer programs, Crook County and Corbett, will join the league, so Jones sees next year’s TVC shaking out to be a three-team race.

“I think there’s going to be Gladstone and Molalla, and then we should be right there,” he said. “Gladstone’s coach gets everything he can out of his players, and Molalla is just always a good team.”

Jones said next season if the Buffs get to playoffs, he’s hoping they go in with a positive feeling and on some sort of winning streak, rather than how they went in this season.

“We’d like to have a little momentum going forward,” Jones said. “Hopefully, we can hold our own next season, and go charging into the playoffs.”