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Entertaining season opener goes to overtime but Cowboys come up on short end of bout with Ridgeview Ravens

LON AUSTIN - Joshua Knight hauls in a vital two-point conversion pass for the Cowboys.The Crook County High School football team came up just short on Friday as they lost in overtime, 20-26, to the Ridgeview Ravens.

"Now we know what we have to do," Crook County head coach Pard Smith told his team following the game. "That's the best we've ever started a week one game, but it's not good enough. There is no room for error there. We have to be the most disciplined team on the football field at all times. Effort and energy was there, and I think we won the discipline battle, but we made a couple of mistakes. It didn't go the way we wanted it too, but man we were in a dog fight."

The visiting Ravens struck first as quarterback Aidan Brenneman hit Jeremiah Schwartz, who had gotten behind the Cowboy defense, with a perfect strike for a 30-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was blocked, but the Ravens led 6-0 with 6:41 remaining in the first quarter.

The Cowboys responded with what appeared to be a touchdown of their own on a 21-yard pass from Palmer Smith to Triston Fischer. However, the play was called back by a holding call. Then, on third and 13 from the 25-yard line, Smith dropped back to pass again, this time hitting Eddie Freauff, who was tackled into the end zone.

Like Ridgeview's first extra point attempt,the Cowboy's kick was blocked, but the two teams went into the second quarter tied 6-6.

On the first play of the second quarter, Ridgeview fumbled the ball and an alert Cole Calhoun fell on it for the Cowboys. It was one of two fumble recoveries by Calhoun on the night.

"Whatever I can do to help my team," Calhoun said following the game. "I'm proud to be a Cowboy. It was a hard-fought game and we battled til the end. Ride for the brand."

Crook County was unable to take advantage of the turnover, and were eventually forced to punt.

Crook County downed the punt on the Ridgeview 15-yard line. From there, it took the Ravens just five plays to score, this time on a 61-yard touchdown run by Eric Pendergrass.

The two-point conversion attempt was no good, and the two teams went into the locker room at the half with the Ravens leading 12-6.

Kyrie Willis returned to kickoff to the Ridgeview 31 to open the second half. From there, the Cowboys went on a clock-eating drive, finally scoring with 6:35 left in the quarter on a pass from Smith to Willis. The two-point conversion attempt was no good, but the two teams were tied.

That's the way the score stayed until the fourth quarter when Crook County took their first lead of the game.

After forcing the Ravens into a punting situation, Ridgeview snapped the ball over the punter's head. Ridgeview was able to recover the ball, but the Raven punter was tackled on the nine-yard line, giving the Cowboys the ball in great field position.

Three plays later, Smith scored on a four-yard quarterback sneak.

Smith then hit Joshua Knight in the corner of the end zone on the two point conversion, giving the Cowboys a 20-12 lead.

However, Ridgeview responded, driving the ball down the field and scoring a touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Brenneman to Schwartz with 3:13 remaining in the game. The two-point conversion was good, tying the score at 20.

Crook County drove the ball all the way to the Ridgeview 30-yard line, before Smith was sacked leaving the Cowboys with a fourth and 12. An incomplete pass on fourth down gave the Ravens the ball back with just 36 seconds remaining in regulation. A draw to Pendergrass and a pass to Braden Overbay moved the ball all the way to the Crook County 18-yard line. Then, on the final play of regulation, Freauff stepped in front of a Ridgeview receiver and intercepted the ball on the five-yard line. Freauff raced down the sideline, getting all the way to the Crook County 35-yard line before he was finally forced out of bounds, sending the game into overtime.

Once in overtime, Ridgeview was able to punch the ball into the end zone to take a 26-20 lead.

The Cowboys responded, by driving the ball to the three-yard line. However, on third and goal, a false start moved the ball back to the eight yard line. On the ensuing play, Ridgeview intercepted a Smith pass, ending the game.

"Our boys battled tonight," coach Smith said. "I am extremely pleased with the effort and I thought for the most part we played pretty disciplined football as well for it being our first game. I would like to thank the fans for coming out and we put on a show tonight. Hopefully, moving forward, we can clean some things up and get some wins. It's just back to the fundamentals of football. We've got to be able to block and we've got to be able to tackle."

The Cowboys finished with 211 yards of total offense. Smith was 12-22 passing for 123 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Cowboy running backs rushed for 88 yards, with Brayden Duke leading the way with 79 yards on 23 carries. Fischer had six carries for six yards and Smith had seven carries for seven yards.

Knight caught five passes for 71 yards, while Willis caught two passes for 12 yards and a touchdown. Eddie Freauff caught one pass for 25 yards and a touchdown, while Eli Freauff caught three passes for 16 yards.

Duke led the Cowboy defensive effort with 13 solo tackles and three assists. Kaleb Goozee added five solo tackles and four assists, while Eddie Freauff had three solo tackles and an interception. Dakota Humphreys had two solo tackles and two quarterback sacks in the game, while Calhoun recovered a pair of fumbles for the Cowboys.

"It was a fairly clean game," coach Smith said. "There were a couple of penalties that we would like to have back and a couple missed tackles and it changed the whole complexion of the game there. But I'm proud of my team and I'm proud to be a Cowboy tonight."

The Cowboys are on the road on Friday, against Cottage Grove, a 45-7 loser to Astoria in their opening game. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Ridgeview 26, Crook County 20

at Crook County

Ridgeview 6 6 0 8 6 – 26

Crook County 6 0 6 8 0 – 20

Ridgeview - 30-yard pass from Aidan Brenneman to Jeremiah Schwartz. Kick blocked.

Crook County - Palmer Smith 25-yard pass to Eddie Freauff. Kick blocked.

Ridgeview - Eric Pendergrass 61-yard run. Two point conversion failed

Crook County - Smith 7-yard pass to Kyrie Willis. Two point conversion failed.

Crook County – Smith four-yard run. Smith pass to Joshua Knight good.

Ridgeview – Brenneman 14-yard pass to Schwartz. Brenneman pass to Nathan Benz good.

Ridgeview – Pendergrass two-yard run. Two point conversion attempt failed.

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