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Low numbers make it tough going for Crook County High School Cowboys at Redmond jamboree

LON AUSTIN - Trent West sacks the La Pine quarterback during the jamboree at Redmond Aug. 27. The Cowboys faced off against Mazama and La Pine at the event, giving up points to both without scoring themselves. The Crook County Cowboys saw their first live action of the season on Friday at the Ridgeview Football Jamboree.

Due to a lower than normal turnout for football this year, the team has not done any hitting prior to Friday, and it showed at times as the Cowboys were unable to score offensively against Mazama and La Pine.

"Our numbers aren't as great as they have been and there is quite a bit of disparity between our old guys and our young guys, so we've been focusing on the fundamentals and getting our plays in — but I don't know that we have gotten a full live play in at all in practice yet," first-year head coach Pard Smith said. "We wanted to go out and run some of our stuff that was new to us and see how it looked and use that as a building block moving forward."

The Cowboys showed a stout defense most of the night, and were able to move the ball at times, just not push it into the end zone.

The jamboree format saw each team play nine offensive plays, then switch to defense before switching back to offense for a second time.

Mazama was the unofficial Class 4A state champion a year ago, and they showed that they are still a team to be reckoned with.

On their first offensive possession, the Vikings drove the ball from their own 40 yard line all the way to the 10 before Kyrie Willis intercepted a pass. Willis was streaking down the sideline for what would almost certainly have been a touchdown, before the officials blew the play dead as the jamboree rules ended play immediately on a change of possession.

Mazama were unable to score on the final two plays of their first possession, so the Cowboys took over on their own 40. In their first nine plays, Crook County was unable to gain a first down. On their second turn on offense, Mazama finally punched the ball into the end zone.

Once again, the Cowboys were unable to move the ball against a stout Viking defense. Crook County quarterback Palmer Smith was intercepted on the team's second possession, and once again the Cowboys were unable to gain a first down.

La Pine was a different story.

Crook County was able to move the ball, but on their first possession a pair of penalties and a sack of Smith prevented the Cowboys from scoring. The team ended their first offensive series as Eli Freauff caught a pass from Smith, but was knocked out of bounds on the three-yard line.

On their first possession, the Hawks scored on a halfback option pass and a 30-yard touchdown run.

Crook County drove the ball inside the one-yard line on their second possession, but were unable to get the ball into the end zone.

La Pine drove the ball to the Crook County one on their second possession but was unable to push the ball into the end zone.

"The things we have repped all week, when we faced live bullets, they broke down," Smith told his team following the jamboree. "Our discipline broke down and then we started making excuses. We have to get better at blocking. We have to get better at tackling and we have to get in better shape."

Smith added that the team approached the jamboree looking to get everyone some plays and to get film that the coaches could evaluate players.

"We want to be able to get guys reps and be able to evaluate, then moving forward, clean up the mistakes and hopefully hit on all cylinders next week."

The Cowboys are at home on Friday when they host the Ridgeview Ravens in a 7 p.m. game.

"I'm proud of the boys," Smith said. "They are working hard and we are going to keep working hard next week. Come check us out Friday and we will be working hard and hopefully give you something to cheer for."

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