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The Dalles takes advantage of three Crook County turnovers and more than 100 yards in penalties to outscore the Cowboys 24-15

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Clayton Berman (bottom of pile) and Easton Perrin, No. 73, tackle Dusty Dodge of The Dalles for a short gain, while Kyle Knudtson, 30, Brayden Duke, 25, Austin Rochelle, 35, and Wyatt Holliday, 64, all pursue the play. The Dalles went on to win the game 24-15. In a hard-hitting game, The Dalles Riverhawks defeated the Crook County Cowboys 24-15 Friday in Prineville in the Intermountain Conference opener for both teams.

Neither team was able to move the ball effectively the entire game. However, The Dalles capitalized on several Crook County penalties and moved the ball just enough to slip past the Cowboys.

"That's why you see the down faces, because we know we definitely could have done better," Crook County head coach Ryan Cochran said. "That's our job, to get things fixed and come out and play a whole lot better football."

Neither team was able to move the ball in the first quarter. However, the visiting Riverhawks took advantage of great field position to score the only touchdown of the first half. A seven-yard Crook County punt gave the Riverhawks the ball on the Crook County 23-yard line. Two plays later, Riverhawk quarterback Gabe Helseth hit Zac Anderson in the corner of the end zone for a 23-yard touchdown strike.

The extra point attempt was no good, but the Riverhawks were on the board.

Neither team was able to move the ball effectively the remainder of the half. The Dalles finished the half with just 112 yards of total offense, and eight first downs, four on Crook County penalties.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys managed just seven yards of offense and one first down in the half.

The two teams went into the locker room at the half with The Dalles clinging to a 6-0 lead.

That all changed early in the third quarter. The Dalles attempted an on-side kick to start the half and the Cowboys recovered the ball on the 47-yard line. A pass from Crook County quarterback Brody Connell to running back Kyle Knudtson gave the Cowboys a first down on the Riverhawk 37-yard line.

A 20-yard run by Kaden Horton gave the Cowboys their second first down of the drive and moved the ball on the 17-yard line. The Cowboys picked up their third first down of the drive when Horton carried the ball to the 5-yard line on a counter play.

On the next play, Connell kept the ball and swept around left end for the Cowboys' first touchdown of the game. Connell kicked the extra point and the Cowboys had a 7-6 lead.

However, The Dalles quickly answered, going on a six-play, 42-yard drive that was capped off by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Helseth to Anderson. Once again, the extra point attempt was no good, but The Dalles was back in control, leading 12-7.

When the Cowboys couldn't move the ball on their next possession, they were forced to punt. Connell's punt sailed out of bounds just two yards beyond the line of scrimmage, giving The Dalles the ball back on the Cowboy 45-yard line.

A personal foul on the Cowboys gave The Dalles a first down. A pass interference call gave them another first down. Okean Green scored three plays later for The Dalles on a reverse, giving the Riverhawks an 18-7 lead. Once again, the two-point conversion attempt was no good.

With the Cowboys trailing by a pair of touchdowns, they took to the air.

The strategy backfired as Connell was intercepted twice in the fourth quarter. The second time proved costly as Lance Parke stepped in front of the Crook County receiver on a pass into the right flat. Parke snared the ball on the 30-yard line and carried it all the way to the 6-yard line. From there, on fourth and goal, Helseth was able to sneak the ball just over the goal line, giving The Dalles a 24-7 lead.

The Cowboys tried to rally with Connell hitting Hogan Smith with a 38-yard catch and run for a touchdown. Connell then hit Trevyn Smith in the left corner of the end zone on the two-point conversion attempt as the Cowboys closed to 24-15 with 6:01 still remaining in the contest.

"I was definitely pleased that no matter how undisciplined we are and no matter how bad a night we were having, everyone on the team was giving 100 percent effort," Hogan Smith said. "We played our hearts out no matter what the score was."

However, that was as close as the Cowboys would get. On their final possession of the game, Crook County moved the ball backwards due to penalties and quarterback sacks and finally were forced to punt with just over a minute remaining while facing a fourth and 50.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Hogan Smith outruns Jaxon Pullen of The Dalles en route to a 38-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Cowboys' loss to the Riverhawks last Friday night in Prineville.The Dalles then ran the clock out, preserving the win.

Despite having the ball for much of the game, The Dalles finished with just 247 yards of total offense.

"The defense continued to play well," Cochran said. "They are doing good stuff, but we have to do a better job of moving the ball consistently on offense and we have to do a better job of being disciplined on every play."

Unfortunately, the Cowboys managed just 110 yards of offense on the night, while picking up more than 100 yards in penalties.

"It hurts really bad, but we know that no one on our team went out and tried to lose the game on purpose," Hogan Smith said. "It was just we need to be more disciplined. And that's the thing, it's a game that we know we can win. It's just a matter of playing our best football."

The Dalles had one turnover in the game while the Cowboys finished with three.

"I feel like all the effort was there, just discipline, like jumping off-sides and not looking after the ball," said Ethan Cossit, who had a pair of sacks. "It's really frustrating with both sides of the team doing the same thing. I feel like during practice we just need to work harder and work on our discipline and come out again with a good effort."

Connell was 6-14 passing for 72 yards and a touchdown pass to Hogan Smith, but he also threw two interceptions.

Knudtson caught two passes for 14 yards, while Trevyn Smith caught two for 11 yards.

Horton led the Cowboy rushing attack with eight carries for 35 yards, while Knudtson had nine carries for 15 yards as the Cowboys pickd up just 42 yards on the ground.

Defensively, Cossit had seven solo tackles, four assists, two sacks and a fumble recovery. Clayton Berman added six solo tackles and six assists, while Brayden Duke had five solo tackles and four assists and Knudtson had five tackles.

"The effort was never in question," Cochran said. "They did a heck of a job of never giving in and keeping battling. That's this group. They battle hard, it just comes down to execution and discipline and that's something that we are really going to work on."

With the loss the Cowboys dropped to 3-1 on the year and 0-1 in Intermountain Conference play, while The Dalles improved to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in league.

The Cowboys go on the road next Friday as they take on North Marion, which defeated Woodburn 28-7 Friday night. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Dalles 24, Crook County 15

The Dalles 6 0 12 6 — 24

Crook County 0 0 7 8 — 15

TD — Zac Anderson, 23-yard pass from Gabe Helseth, kick failed

CC — Brody Connell five-yard run, Connell kick

TD — Anderson, 6-yard pass from Helseth, run failed

TD — Okean Green, 6-yard run, pass failed

TD — Helseth 1-yard run, run failed

CC — Hogan Smith, 38-yard pass from Connell, Trebyn Smith pass from Connell

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