Rangers spoil Cowboy homecoming
The Estacada Rangers took advantage of a series of first-half miscues to roll to a big early lead as they defeated the homestanding Crook County Cowboys 38-13 Friday night in a key league matchup.
"You guys brought it tonight," Estacada head coach Andy Mott told his team following the game. "That's exactly what we needed to come out and do. You guys came out and made a statement tonight against one of the better teams in the league."
Playing before a huge crowd on homecoming night, the Cowboys stuffed Estacada on their opening possession. On their first possession of the game, the Cowboys moved the ball to near midfield before they were forced to punt.
Penalties and the Cowboy defense backed the Rangers up to their own five-yard line as they were once again forced to punt.
The Cowboys were unable to take advantage of good field position and a short punt gave the ball back to the Rangers near midfield. Once again, the Cowboy defense rose to the occasion and forced a Ranger punt. However, this time Kyle Knudtson muffed the punt and the Rangers recovered the ball on the Cowboy 35-yard line.
Six plays later, Jake Behrman pounded the ball straight up the middle for a four-yard touchdown. Isaiah Schaffer passed the ball to Nate Hagel for the two-point conversion and the Rangers had an 8-0 lead with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter.
"Power football is always on our docket," Mott said. "We jumped into it a little early tonight. We like the look and we liked what we got out of it, so we decided to stick with it."
The ensuing kickoff by Travis Jackson bounced off a Crook County player all the way to the Estacada 47-yard line where the Rangers recovered.
Once again, the Rangers were unable to move the ball and were forced to punt. The Cowboys moved the ball into Estacada territory, but on fourth and five, the Rangers tackled Knudtson in the backfield for a three-yard loss, giving Estacada the ball at midfield.
Estacada quickly capitalized as Schaffer raced around the right side for a 35-yard touchdown. Shaffer's two-point conversion run was good and the Rangers led 16-0 with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
"It switched quick," Crook County head coach Ryan Cochran said. "That was a tough one to swallow. Some errors and some mistakes happened and that put us from playing tough with them to flipping the score really quick, so that was tough to deal with. But I'm still proud of our kids and they still kept working until the very end."
Penalties backed the Cowboys up to start their next drive. However, a pass from Brody Connell to Ethan Cossitt moved the ball out to near midfield, before the Cowboy drive once again stalled.
Following a Connell punt, the Rangers took possession on their own 30-yard line. Four plays later, Kaden Settle raced into the end zone from 35-yards out. Jose Vasquez's two-point conversion run was good and Estacada led 24-0 late in the first half.
Following halftime festivities, the Cowboys received the ball to start the second half. Kaden Horton returned the kick all the way to the Estacada 45-yard line. A penalty for a horse collar tackle tacked on 15 more yards, moving the ball all the way to the Estacada 30-yard line. Three plays later, Horton took the ball on a counter and sprinted 23 yards for a touchdown. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, but the Cowboys were back in the game, trailing 24-6.
"What our games come down to is us being able to execute plays," Horton said. "The mistakes happen and they come and go, but I'm happy for me and my brothers that we were able to bounce back from those mistakes and be able to put a couple of drives together."
"We got punched in the mouth in the first half," added Cochran. "Coming back out in the second half and responding in a positive way and being able to move the ball and get first downs and score a few points, I was pleased with that."
However, Estacada quickly established themselves on the ensuing possession. After Elias Villagomez had kicked the ball into the end zone the Rangers took over on their own 20 and went on a time and ground eating 18 play, 80-yard scoring drive. All 18 plays were runs with Schaffer finally scoring from four-yards out. Schaffer also converted the two-point conversion and the Rangers were up 32-6 late in the third quarter.
"It was super important to get that win," Schaffer said. "Now we need to get a good rest, good practice and come back and play next week We had a few injuries the last couple of weeks and we got some guys back and our attitudes changed and everyone was all hyped up for this game and it showed. It felt great."
Hogan Smith dropped back to pass on the next Cowboy possession and Schaffer intercepted the ball. Schaffer raced through the Cowboy defenders for an apparent touchdown, but the play was called back for an illegal block. Still it was Estacada ball as the third quarter ended.
The Rangers promptly went on a 12-play, 53-yard drive culminating in a four-yard touchdown run by Waylon Reidel. Schaffer was stopped short on the two-point conversion attempt, but the Rangers still led 38-6 with time winding down.
Crook County started their next possession with good field position, and quickly scored on a 59-yard run by Connell. Villagomez's kick was good and the Cowboys trailed 38-13 with 6:16 left in the contest.
Crook County recovered an on-side kick and was back in business, quickly moving the ball to the Estacada 40-yard line. However, a series of penalties moved the ball all the way back to the Crook County 23-yard line. Pinned deep in their own territory, the Cowboys handed the ball to Horton, who gave the ball to Smith on an apparent reverse. Smith then passed the ball to Connell, who raced past several Estacada defenders all the way to the Estacada 32-yard line for a Cowboy first down.
Unfortunately, three plays later, Connell bobbled the center snap and Vasquez fell on the ball on the Crook County 25, ending any chance the Cowboys had of making a comeback.
From there, the Rangers ran out the clock.
Estacada completed just one pass for 12 yards all night. However, they used power football to amass 335 rushing yards as they spent most of the night pounding the ball up the middle.
Schaffer finished with 165 yards on 22 carries, while Settle ran for 76 yards on just six carries.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys had a more balanced attack with Connell and Smith combining to complete 12 of 19 passes for 110 yards. With Connell and Horton leading the way, Cowboy running backs carried the ball 23 times for 140 yards. Connell finished with 80 yards on 10 carries, while Horton had 53 yards on five carries.
Clayton Berman and Connell led the Cowboys in tackles with 13 and 10, respectively.
With the win, Estacada improved to 5-3 on the year and moved up to 14th in the final power rankings of the year, guaranteeing that they would host a play-in game.
"I feel sorry for whoever draws us," Mott told his team. "If we play like this next week, somebody is going to have a hell of a time with us. You guys rose up tonight on the road and got a big win. I'm proud of you."
Estacada will host Sweet Home in a play-in game either Friday or Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys fell to 4-4 and were left waiting until Saturday afternoon to see if they finished high enough in the power rankings to earn a play-in game.
"One thing that I will never forget about the Cowboys, whether or not this is my last game, is that we are relentless sons of guns," Horton said following the game. "We played through the whistle every time and you won't find a tougher group of guys. I'm proud to be a Cowboy. I wouldn't ride with anyone else."
"It's a bad thing that now we don't have any control over the postseason," Cochran said. "We are obviously going to be watching and hoping for the best and we will see how the rankings come out. I think this is one of the toughest leagues in the state. If we can get in the playoffs, I think we can surprise a lot of teams."
The loss dropped the Cowboys from 14th to 20th in the power rankings. However, they survived to earn a play-in game on the road at 5-3 North Valley, also on either Friday or Saturday night.
The winners of this weekend's games will advance into the playoffs, where they will be on the road in the opening round.
Estacada 38, Crook County 13
at Crook County
Estacada 8 16 0 6 — 38
CRook County 0 0 6 7 — 13
E — Jake Behrman 4-yard run. Isaiah Schaffer pass to Nate Hagel.
E — Schaffer 35-yard run. Schaffer run.
E — Kaden Settle 35-yard run. Pass failed.
CC — Kaden Horton 23-yard run. Pass failed.
E — Schaffer 5-yard run. Schaffer run.
E — Waylon Reidel 4-yard run. Schaffer run failed.
CC — Brody Connell 59-yard run.
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