The Crook County Cowboys bounced back from an overtime loss on the opening week of the football season to whip Cottage Grove on the road on Friday, 32-7.
"We found our identity the second half of the Ridgeview game and this week we challenged them to get better technically in practice and to have a better mentality," head coach Pard Smith said. "I think that after viewing the film we cleaned things up a lot. We blocked a lot cleaner. We were getting a better surge — a better push and we ran the heck out of the football."
The Cowboys got off to a little bit of a slow start, committing several early penalties, and giving up the ball on a fumble.
Still, the Crook County defense prevented Cottage Grove from moving the ball, and kept the Cowboys in good field position.
After backing up the Lions near their own end zone with a booming punt from Trent West, the Cowboy defense rose up, making the first score of the game on an interception return for a touchdown by linebacker Dakota Humphreys. The kick was no good, but the Cowboys led 6-0 midway through the first quarter.
The Cowboy defense quickly forced a Cottage Grove punt. After a short drive, quarterback Palmer Smith ran the ball into the end zone from two yards out. The kick by Cameron Carr was good and the Cowboys led 13-0 late in the first quarter.
Crook County struck again in the second quarter on a seven-yard run by Brayden Duke. The extra point was missed, but but Crook County went into the locker room at the half leading 19-0.
The Cowboys dominated the third quarter, with Smith running the ball in from seven yards out. Carr's kick was good and the Cowboys led 26-0.
The Cowboys again backed Cottage Grove up near their own goal line late in the quarter. Then, less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Duke broke through the Cottage Grove line, forcing a fumble in the end zone. Defensive lineman Easton Perrin fell on the ball for a second defensive touchdown. That put the score at 32-0.
"We played really well on defense," coach Smith said. "We played a super disciplined game. Guys were doing their job and executing and I felt the boys played with great effort. We created three defensive turnovers and had a fourth turnover on special teams and we scored two touchdowns off of those turnovers."
Cottage Grove finally scored with less than a minute remaining in the game as they were able to take advantage of a big play and a pass interference penalty on Crook County's second team, making the final score 32-7.
As a team, the Cowboys rushed for 159 yards and three touchdowns while Smith completed eight passes for 49 yards.
Duke led the Cowboy offensive attack with 79 yards in 14 carries. The senior running back also caught two passes for three yards.
West ran the ball 10 times for 47 yards, while Smith had seven carries for 13 yards and two touchdowns. Kaleb Goozee caught two passes for 18 yards, while Eli Freauff had two catches for 19 yards and Kyree Willis had a catch for 11 yards.
On special teams, West had three returns for 75 yards. He also punted the ball three times, with the longest punt going for 57 yards, earning team recognition as special teams player of the week.
Defensively, Duke had nine solo tackles and five assists along with a forced fumble. Goozee had five solot tackles and two assists, while Willis finished with four solo tackles, one assist and two pass breakups. Humphreys also had a dominant defensive game with four solo tackles, three assists, an interception, a sack and a fumble recovery.
"I'm pleased with the work that the boys put in," coach Smith said. "I liked that we came out of there with a win and the boys were excited about the win. But I think that they also realized the importance of growing and continuing to work hard in practice and to continue to get better at the things that we are preaching. To me, the effort and energy was there, but I want to play cleaner football moving forward."
The Cowboys, 1-1, are on the road again on Friday as they take on the Henley Hornets, 2-0, in a 7 p.m. game. Henley comes into the game having beaten Yreka, California 44-0 Friday night.
Crook County 32, Cottage Grove 7.
at Cottage Grove
Crook County 13 6 7 6 â€“ 32
Cottage Grove 0 0 0 7 â€“ 7
Crook County â€“ Dakota Humphreys interception return. Kick by Cameron Carr, no good.
Crook County â€“ Palmer Smith two-yard run. Carr kick good.
Crook County â€“ Brayden Duke seven-yard run. Carr kick no good.
Crook County â€“ Smith seven-yard run. Carr kick good.
Crook County Easton Perrin fumble recovery in end zone. Carr kick no good.
Cottage Grove â€“ no information available.
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