Cowboys will open at home against Ridgeview; Blue-Gold dinner and scrimmage is Saturday at Ward Rhoden Stadium

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Crook County football has a new head coach in Pard Smith.Fall football is back in Crook County, as the CCHS varsity football regular season is scheduled to begin on Sept. 3.

Coming off a shortened pandemic-forced spring season, in which the Cowboys went 3-3 overall, new CCHS head coach Pard Smith will look for more success in the new fall season. Smith, who has been an assistant with the program since 2008 and played for Crook County in both middle and high school, was named head coach earlier this summer after Ryan Cochran, the previous head coach, resigned in order to spend more time with his family.

Before any competitive games are played, the Cowboys will participate in a few preseason events. On Aug. 21, the season unofficially gets underway with the Blue and Gold dinner and scrimmage. The dinner will be at 5 p.m., with the scrimmage taking place afterwards at 7 p.m. The team will also take part in a jamboree hosted by Redmond High School, which also features Bend and Mountain View.

That Central Oregon flavor continues as the new campaign officially kicks off on Sept. 3 against Ridgeview, with the Ravens making the short drive from Redmond to Prineville. While the schools are normally conference rivals in the 5A Intermountain Conference, CCHS plays football at a lower level in 4A Special District 2, so this does not count toward the Cowboys' league record. In the last meeting between the two teams in 2019, Crook County prevailed 39-15 at home.

Following the matchup with Ridgeview, the Cowboys hit the road for three consecutive away games, starting with a Sept. 10 duel with Cottage Grove. Crook County tamed the Lions the last time the teams met, back in 2019, winning by a score of 49-0. After that, the team travels south to Klamath Falls on Sept. 17 to seek out revenge against Henley, who bested CCHS 33-14 back in April. The final non-league game for the Cowboys comes on Sept. 24, when they face North Eugene in enemy territory.

As the calendar flips over to October, Crook County's schedule likewise turns to their league games, starting with a home tilt against North Marion on Oct. 1. The Cowboys have won two of the last three meetings with the Huskies, including an 18-7 win on the road this past March.

After the North Marion game, CCHS travels to Molalla on Oct. 7 for a Thursday night game of Cowboys and Indians. Crook County has prevailed in each of the last two contests against Molalla, including a 28-0 shutout last season.

On Oct. 15, Smith and company host reigning league champion Gladstone. The Gladiators cruised to a 31-0 win over CCHS last season, so expect the Cowboys to have this game circled on their calendars.

On Oct. 22, Crook County makes the quick trip from Prineville to Madras, as they take on the White Buffalos of MHS. Madras only recently rejoined the 4A ranks for football, but CCHS put them in their place with a 28-6 victory last spring.

Wrapping up the regular season is a home game between Crook County and Estacada. The Rangers have won the five matchups in the series, most recently with a 46-19 victory back in April, so the Cowboys will be looking to end that streak.

Though football may not be the calling card for CCHS athletics, the return of Friday night games in the chilly fall weather is certainly worth celebrating.

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