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Crook County High School football showdown with unbeaten Gladstone set for Friday

LON AUSTIN - Braden Duke slips a Molalla defender during the Cowboys' 28-0 mauling of Molalla Friday in Prineville. The Cowboys controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides, limiting Molalla to 33 yards of total offense. CCHS has a showdown with Gladstone, also 2-0, on Friday.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Crook County Cowboys took control Friday night and shut out the Molalla Indians 28-0 in Tri-Valley Conference football action.

"You did it tonight," Crook County head coach Ryan Cochran told his team following the game. "We talk about preparation and playing four quarters all week. We don't worry about the scoreboard, that takes care of itself. I'm super proud of our preparation. We had a good week, but most importantly how we showed up in the locker room and how we prepared. I'm proud of you."

Although neither team scored in the first quarter, the Cowboys were driving when the quarter ended. Crook County took the lead for good just 11 seconds into the second on a one-yard run by quarterback Hogan Smith. Tristan Fischer ran the two-point conversion in and the Cowboys led 8-0.

"Our defense really creates our offense; it's the backbone and lifeblood of our team," Smith said following the game. "We've got a lot of great older leaders and some younger guys getting their first opportunity who are really stepping up. That's spearheading our success so far."

Molalla was unable to move the ball on the ensuing possession and Crook County took over on the Molalla 46 after a short punt. Nine plays later, Fischer ran the ball in from four yards out. The kick failed, but the Cowboys led 14-0.

That's the way the score stayed until the third quarter when the Cowboys struck twice more. Molalla suited just 23 players for the game, and by the end, had just 17 still available to play. Crook County took advantage of their depth, pounding the ball at the line of scrimmage, and wearing down the Indian players.

"Our defense is playing really good football," Cochran said. "Our goal tonight was to create three turnovers, and that's two weeks in a row now that they have put out some great stops. It's good, good solid defense. We can rotate guys in and keep them fresh, and I think that's a big big part of our success."

Molalla managed just 33 yards of offense in the game, while the Cowboys finished with 243 yards, mostly on the ground. Crook County would probably have gained more yardage, but a series of penalties killed several drives.

"Obviously we have to focus on not shooting ourselves in the foot," Cochran said of the team's offense. "Penalties got us quite a few times and stalled drives out, so we have to clean that up and just execute better. We aren't where we should be yet."

Molalla quarterback Isaac Thomas Klementis, who completed eight of 11 passes a week earlier against Madras, was constantly under pressure against the Cowboys, completing just four passes while being intercepted three times.

"He was a heck of a football player and we knew that we had to contain him," Cochran said of Thomas Klementis. "Our defense stepped up, but I think it's something that we can continue to get better at. We have a long ways to go."

For the second consecutive week, Crook County's Hogan Smith had a monster game. Smith was 6-9 passing for 43 yards, rushed for 90 yards on 12 carries, scored two offensive touchdowns, and added a third touchdown on a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown.

Kyree Willis and Trevyn Smith each also intercepted passes for the Cowboys.

Palmer Smith came in to relieve his brother Hogan at quarterback in the fourth quarter and carried the ball four times for 22 yards. Triston Fischer also had a good day rushing the football, carrying four times for 25 yards and one touchdown.

Garrett Cobb led the Cowboy receiving core with 18 yards, while Brayden Duke and Trevyn Smith each caught passes for eight yards.

With the win, the Cowboys improved to 2-0 on the year, while Molalla fell to 1-1. Crook County will go on the road on Friday to take on the Gladstone Gladiators, 2-0, 48-8 winners over North Marion in their last game. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The game will go a long ways towards deciding the league champion, as every other team in the conference already has at least one loss.

" We will take that one week at a time, but you know that Gladstone is always a great football team," Cochran said of the importance of Friday's matchup. "They are well coached and have got great players so it will definitely be a challenge for us. We are going to have to put in a lot of work this week."

Crook County 28, Molalla 0

Molalla 0 0 0 0 – 0

Crook County 0 14 14 0 – 28

CC, 1-yard run by Hogan Smith, Tristan Fischer run good.

CC, Fischer 4-yard run, Fischer kick no good.

CC, Smith 35-yard run, Haydn Hilderbrand run failed.

CC, Smith 31-yard interception return, Zachary Gonzalez pass from Smith

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