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Crook County gives up three late goals as Buckaroos pull away late for 5-2 victory

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Abel Nunez, number 28, heads a ball away from a Pendleton player as Cowboy defender Hayden Shaw looks on. The Cowboys and Buckaroos were tied midway through the second half before Pendleton went on a late surge to win 5-2.  The Crook County Cowboys kept things close early before the Pendleton Buckaroos pulled away in the second half to take a 5-2 Intermountain Conference win Thursday afternoon in Prineville.

"I think we played hard," said Crook County forward Kevin Sanchez. "We just have to keep going to the end until the whistle blows. It's frustrating, but at the same time, it's a process. All that matters is getting better."

After giving up a goal 18 minutes into the match, the Cowboy defense stiffened.

Jesse Sanchez tied the match late in the first half on a shot that bent around Pendleton goalkeeper Andrew Wolotira.

However, three minutes later, the Cowboys committed a foul and Pendleton captain Jon Lopez scored his second goal of the match on a direct free kick from 25 meters out.

That's the way the score remained until six minutes into the second half, when Alexis Robles Ortiz scored his first goal of the year to tie the match at 2-2.

Lopez scored his third goal of the match minutes later to put the Buckaroos ahead for good.

Trenton Villers scored a pair of late goals for Pendleton as the Cowboy defense broke down in the second half.

"Our defense is good," Sanchez said. "But because all but one of them are freshmen, it is hard for them to get the experience. They have gotten so much better since the beginning of the year, they are just maturing and getting stronger, but we still make mistakes."

With the victory, the Buckaroos improved to 4-3-1 in league play and 5-5-2 overall. More importantly for the Buckaroos, they kept pace with The Dalles, which also has a 4-3-1 record for the final post season berth from the IMC.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys fell to 0-8 in league and 1-12 overall.

Crook County is on the road today against Ridgeview, which is tied for first place in the IMC with Hood River Valley. The Ravens boast a 7-1 league record and a 10-1 overall mark and have moved up to fourth in the OSAA power rankings.

Crook County then closes out the season on Thursday with a home match against the Redmond Panthers, 1-7, 1-10-1. Game time for both matches is set for 4:30 p.m.

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