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The Crook County Cowboys overcame a slow start to defeat the homestanding North Marion Huskies 18-7

The Crook County Cowboys overcame a slow start to defeat the homestanding North Marion Huskies 18-7 Friday night in the opening Tri-Valley Conference football game of the year.

"It was a good first game," said Crook County head coach Ryan Cochran. "Ultimately we learned some things about how to get better and that's going to be our focus this next week, adding on to what we did Friday night and just getting better."

Playing in muddy conditions, neither team was able to score in the first quarter. Crook County finally got on the board midway through the second on a three-yard run by quarterback Hogan Smith The extra point attempt was no good, but the Cowboys still led 6-0.

North Marion came back with a touchdown of their own late in the quarter. The Huskies punted, their only punt of the game, and Crook County muffed the kick. North Marion recovered the ball and took advantage of the short field to score. When the extra point was good, the host Huskies led 7-6.

Crook County was able to overcome two more first-half turnovers as their defense shut the Huskies down.

"Their score came off a fumbled punt return and so it gave them a really short field," Cochran said. "They got down into the red zone two or three times, but our defense kind of bucked up and stopped them on fourth downs. Our defense played an amazing game."

That's the way the score stayed until the third quarter when Smith scored again, this time on a 25-yard run. The two-point conversion failed, but the Cowboys had the lead for good.

Smith scored one final time on a three-yard run in the fourth quarter as the Cowboys controlled the second half.

"Hogan played extremely well," Cochran said. "He had 138 yards rushing. Some of that had to do with the really muddy field conditions so we weren't able to pass the ball as much as normal. But he had a really good game."

Cochran was disappointed with how the Cowboys played in the first half, but was extremely pleased with how the team responded in the second.

"The first half we were pretty sloppy," he said. "We lost the football a couple of times in the first half and we didn't establish ourselves very well. The second half our offensive line came out and established the line of scrimmage and we were able to rush a lot. Especially in muddy conditions, it was good for us to establish that"

The Cowboys finished with 288 total yards, 250 of those on the ground. In addition to the 138 yards from Hogan Smith, Trevyn Smith added 45 yards on seven carries, while Brayden Duke rushed for 50 yards on 24 carries.

Trevyn Smith also picked up an interception in the contest, while Duke had 35 yards receiving.

Defensively, Hogan Smith led the way with five tackles while Kyree Willis and Maliki Mullins each had three tackles. Duke and Haydn Hilderbrand each had a pair of sacks.

The win is a big victory for the Cowboys as North Marion is the defending league champion. Crook County is at home this Friday when they host the Molalla Indians, 21-0 winners over the Madras White Buffalos last week.

Crook County 18, North Marion 7

Crook County 0 6 6 6 – 18

North Marion 0 7 0 0 – 6

CC – Hogan Smith 3-yard run, kick Failed.

NM – Touchdown, kick good.

CC – Smith 25-yard run, two point conversion attempt failed

CC – Smith 3-yard run, kick failed.

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