Cowboys end a bit flat
The Crook County Cowboy football team ran into a buzzsaw Friday evening as the Henley Hornets jumped all over the Cowboys in the first half en route to a 33-14 victory.
The visiting Hornets used big plays and Cowboy mistakes to jump out to a quick 19-0 lead before the Cowboys had even picked up a first down.
"Sometimes you get knocked in the mouth, you have to reset and keep coming," Crook County head coach Ryan Cochran said. "They are a good football team and when you get punched in the mouth, sometimes you stammer. We got chopped and we kind of stuttered there for a little while."
Crook County's offense failed to move the ball the entire first half, but their defense improved in the second quarter, stuffing the Hornets multiple times.
With 3:47 remaining in the half, the Cowboy defense stopped Henley on fourth and short, taking possession of the ball on their own 24-yard line. The Cowboys quickly moved the ball into Henley territory, but two false start penalties and a quarterback sack left Crook County with fourth and long from their own 42.
With just over a minute left in the half, the Cowboys punted the ball back to Henley, who took over on their own 27-yard line. There were two flags on their first play of the possession, an ineligible receiver call on the Hornets, and a targeting call on Crook County. The targeting call was stepped off, and Henley had a first down on the Cowboy 44-yard line.
One play later, the Hornets were called for an illegal block, making it first and long. However, the Hornets scored two plays later.
First, quarterback Tim Orr completed a pass to Jeremiah Arthur, giving Henley a first down on the Cowboy 30-yard line. Then, Orr dropped back to pass again and hit Gavin Graham on a perfect strike in the right corner of the end zone. The extra point was good and the Hornets led 26-0 at the half.
"The first half, we started out slow," said senior Trevyn Smith. "But my team, the second half, we picked it up and we fought as hard as we could."
The Hornets attempted an on side kick to open the third quarter, but the ball was cleanly fielded by Crook County's Zachary Gonzalez giving the Cowboys the ball on their own 43-yard line. On third and eight, Cowboy quarterback Hogan Smith hit Trevyn Smith with a short pass and Smith did the rest of the work himself, running to the Henley 45 for a first down. A personal foul on Henley on the tackle moved the ball to the 30-yard line. A holding call moved the ball back to the 33, before Brayden Duke powered the ball up the middle to the 25-yard line.
From there, Hogan Smith scrambled for a first down on the 18-yard line. After a run by Trevyn Smith lost a yard, Hogan Smith took matters into his own hands, carrying the ball three consecutive times. The third time running into the end zone from three yards out. The two-point conversion failed, but the Cowboys were finally on the board, trailing 26-6 midway through the quarter.
Any hope of a comeback ended three plays later when Orr pump faked, then threw a long pass down the right sideline for a 65-yard pass to Graham. The extra point was good and the Hornets led 33-6 with 6:07 remaining in the third quarter.
Neither team was able to move the ball the remainder of the third quarter. Then, late in the fourth, the Cowboys went on an 11-play drive that ended in a two-yard touchdown run by Hogan Smith with 3:54 left in the contest. The two-point conversion attempt, a pass to Trevyn Smith, was good, leading to the final margin of 33-14.
From there, Henley ran out the clock.
"We battled through a lot of adversity," Trevyn Smith said of the season. "But I think that, no matter what, we played to the best that we can. I think that we played hard. I just want to thank Crook County football for giving me the four best years of my life."
Crook County managed just 223 yards of total offense in the game, with 185 coming on the ground.
Hogan Smith finished with 23 carries for 89 yards and two touchdowns, while completing 6 of 15 passes for 38 yards. Smith also threw a pair of interceptions in the game.
Brayden Duke carried the ball 11 times for 59 yards, while Trevyn Smith had five carries for 23 yards. Trevyn Smith caught three passes for 15 yards, while Steven Ware had three catches for 23 yards.
After the first quarter, the Cowboy defense played solid football. Trevyn Smith finished with six solo tackles and four assists, while Braden Ross had five solo tackles, one assist and two tackles for loss.
Hogan Smith added four tackles, Gonzalez three solo tackles and four assists, and Kyree Willis and Dakota Humphreys each had three tackles.
Although Cochran was disappointed with the final score, he was pleased with how his team played in the second half.
"That first half was not the way we want to play a football game," he said. "So, being able to come in at halftime and do a reset and then to see our players coming out and responding in the second half and playing more disciplined, playing with effort and heart, that was a great thing to see. Can't play first halves like that and have a good outcome, so I was proud of them how they came out in the second half, how they finished and competed."
Cochran added that he wanted to credit his seniors for their hard work and leadership.
"I'm super proud of them," he said. "Having this weird season, the grit that they showed this year was awesome. They are a great group of guys and we are going to miss them dearly, but they have left their impact on the program."
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