Crook County, Roseburg dual should be worth wait
The Crook County Cowboys and the Roseburg Indians were scheduled to wrestle each other in a dual meet in January.
However, large quantities of snow in the Cascades caused the match to be postponed to this Saturday, Feb. 8.
There is nothing but pride on the line when the two teams square off on Saturday.
Both teams are ranked second in their respective classifications.
In addition, the match is the final home match for the Cowboys this season, and the last match prior to the district championships, which will be held Saturday, Feb. 22 at Ridgeview High School in Redmond.
Despite the wait, the dual should be a highly contested, competitive match.
Both teams have a raft of ranked wrestlers, and both teams rely on team depth for much of their success.
Roseburg finished third at the Reser's Tournament of Champions this past weekend, while the Cowboys were sixth.
In the JV portion of the tournament, the Indians were victorious, while the Cowboys finished a close second.
Since the two teams started dualing six years ago, the match has become one of the most highly anticipated duals of the year.
Of the previous five meetings, Crook County has won three times and Roseburg twice.
The Cowboys have won the past two duals by scores of 41-28 and 43-17. In 2017, the Indians rolled the Cowboys 57-9. Roseburg also won a close match in 2016, taking a slim 35-28 win, while the Cowboys won the first match of the series, shellacking the Indians 50-12 in 2015.
The match has proved to be hard to predict and has been filled with drama on most years.
This year should be no exception.
According to Oregonwrestling.net, the Indians have 18 ranked wrestlers, while the Cowboys have 22.
The Oregon Wrestling Forum also ranks 18 Indians, but just 15 Cowboys.
Either way, both teams are loaded with top talent.
Both squads have been known to juggle their lineups for this dual, making predicting individual matches difficult.
However, there are bound to be several great matchups between highly ranked opponents.
For the Indians, Cameron Cross is ranked third at 113 pounds, while Nash Singleton is ranked No. 1 at 120 pounds. At 126, Kahleb Diaz is ranked either second or third, depending on the poll, while Rhett Martin is ranked first or second at 132 pounds, also depending on the poll.
At 145 pounds, the Indians have Archer Bergeron, who is currently ranked third, then at 152 pounds they have Tristin David, who is ranked either third or seventh depending on the poll.
The Oregon Wrestling Forum has Darian Thacker ranked No. 1 at 160 pounds, while OregonWrestling.net has him ranked second at 170 pounds.
Also ranked at 170 pounds is Rourke Martin, who is fifth in both polls.
The Indians also have top 10-ranked wrestlers at 160 in Colin Reitmann, 195 in Rogan Coffman and Eli Mignola, and 110 where Hunter Blix is ranked fourth.
For the Cowboys, Tucker Bonner is ranked second at 106. According to the Oregon Wrestling Forum, Steven Ware is second at 113 pounds, while he is ranked third at 120 pounds on OregonWrestling.net.
Also ranked at 113 pounds is Cash Wells, who is fourth in one poll and fifth in the other.
At 120 pounds, Tannon Joyner is ranked fifth on the Oregon Wrestling Forum and eighth on OregonWrestling.net.
At 126, Zach Mauras is ranked third in both polls, while Trentyn Maryanski is 11th on one poll.
At 132, Jace England is ranked either 15th or 16, while Wyatt Wood, who won the 132-pound weight class in the JV portion of the Reser's Tournament of Champions, is unranked.
At 138 pounds, Hunter Mode is ranked first on the Oregon Wrestling Forum and second on OregonWrestling.net.
Brayden Duke is ranked second at 145 ponds on the Oregon Wrestling Forum and is ranked third on OregonWrestling.net, while Alex Vail is also ranked in the top 15 by both polls.
At 152 pounds, the Cowboys feature Ben Sather, who is ranked fourth by OregonWrestling.net and fifth by the Oregon Wrestling Forum.
Crook County 160-pounder Gavin McLean is ranked either third or fourth depending on the poll, while 182 pound Kyle Knudtson is ranked first by OregonWrestling.net and second by the Oregon Wrestling Forum.
The Cowboys also have ranked wrestlers at 195 pounds in Gabe Saenz and 220 pounds with Hayden Hilderbrand.
Although the dual should be close, I'm picking the Cowboys to upset the Indians by a score of 38-32.
Wrestling is scheduled to begin with the JV match at 2 p.m. and the varsity match starting at approximately 3 p.m.
In other high school sports news, the Crook County High School boys basketball team is still solidly in the playoff hunt.
The Cowboys sport a 10-5 record and are 2-1 in Intermountain Conference play.
That puts the Cowboys tied for second with the Pendleton Buckaroos, who Crook County defeated a week ago.
The Cowboys host Hood River Valley, 8-7, 2-1, tonight in a 6:30 p.m. match, then host the league-leading Redmond Panthers, 10-7, 3-0 on Friday, at approximately 7 p.m. following a game between the Cowgirls and the Panthers that starts at 5:30 p.m.
Redmond is led by one of the best athletes in the state in Dylan Moss, a 6-5 forward.
The all-around athlete was a first team IMC selection in football and went to state a year ago in track and field.
Although Moss is Redmond's top scorer and rebounder, he is far from the team's only scoring threat.
The Cowboys have a distinct height advantage over the Panthers, something they took advantage of last Friday, as they whipped Ridgeview 64-37.
Crook County may also have an advantage from outside with Kevin Sanchez, Jesse Sanchez, Abel Nunez, Cayden Lowenbach and Caleb Arnold all capable sporting three-point range.
Hood River Valley relies on their scoring to win games, averaging just over 60 points a contest while giving up 57. Meanwhile, Redmond likes to grind things out, averaging 52 points a game while giving up an average of 49.
Crook County has the largest margin of victory of the three teams, averaging just over 63 points a game offensively, while giving up 51.5 points a game on defense.
The Intermountain Conference season will reach the halfway point following Friday's games.
Should the Cowboys win both games, it would put them in first place in the conference and in control of their own destiny.
Although three teams from the IMC will make it to the state playoffs, it is critical for the Cowboys to win the league if they hope to advance past the first round of the playoffs.
That is because the IMC is not highly regarded in the OSAA power rankings.
Pendleton is the lone IMC team in the top 10 (they are ranked ninth), while Crook County is 14th in the power rankings and Redmond is 18th.
With the remainder of the conference ranked 22nd or lower, it is unlikely that teams will be able to improve their power rankings as the season continues.
The end result is that, other than the conference champion, not only will the remaining two IMC teams play their opening playoff game on the road, they will be facing one of the top three or four teams in the state.
If the playoffs were today the Cowboys would earn the 14th seed and the right to play No. 3-ranked Crater on the road in the opening round of the playoffs.
However, if Crook County were to go on and win the league championship, they would be given the eighth seed and would host a playoff game against Milwaukie.
That makes each game critical moving ahead for the Cowboys.
If you haven't seen the Cowboys play this year, I would encourage you to check out one of the games this week.
Crook County plays hard defensively and has a highly entertaining offense.
The team looks better than any team that the Cowboys have fielded since David Reeher and the rest of the Cowboys lost to North Eugene in the first round of the state playoffs approximately 10 years ago. Since then, the team has earned some play-in games, but have not managed to return to the state playoffs.
This year's team should change that.
Meanwhile, while they are continuing to show improvement, the Cowgirls are once again near the bottom of the IMC standings.
The Cowgirls are currently 2-12 overall and are 0-3 in conference play.
However, the team has a chance to pick up their first league victory of the season this week.
The Cowgirls are on the road against Hood River Valley, 1-14, 0-3 on Tuesday, then host Redmond, 2-12, 1-2 on Friday. Both games are winnable for Crook County should they manage to stay out of foul trouble and minimize their turnovers.
Crook County has shown the ability to score this year, averaging 36.5 points a game.
However, the Cowgirls have given up 54 points a game. Meanwhile, both Redmond and Hood River Valley have had difficulty scoring all season. The Eagles have managed just 30 points a game, while giving up 56, while the Panthers have scored 32 points a game and given up 53.
Should Crook County win both games, they would be back in the playoff hunt, while a pair of losses would virtually eliminate them from playoff contention.
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