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Football squad has mixed success at Ridgeview jamboree; kicks off season at Philomath Friday

LON AUSTIN  - Elijah Freauff puts a stick on a Mt. View ball carrier during the Ridgeview jamboree Aug. 26.Friday was a successful night for the Crook County High School football team at the Ridgeview jamboree.

"I think we are a lot better," said Crook County head coach. "The details that we were working on in practice showed up, and we picked on things that we feel like we didn't do well in the Blue & Gold scrimmage. There were a lot of good things out there, but there are still things that we need to continue to clean up and get better at."

At the jamboree, the Cowboys played 16 offensive plays and 16 defensive plays against Mountain View and then Ridgeview. Mountain View moved the ball effectively against Crook County, and largely shut down the Cowboys' offense. However, Mountain View moved the ball even better against Mazama earlier in the night.

Crook County then rebounded to take it to Ridgeview in their second scrimmage.

"The speed of the game got us and we kind of wanted to be frustrated and wanted to point fingers because things weren't going our way," Smith said while talking to his team about the Mountain View scrimmage. "But, I think we made a huge stride there in that second game of being able to flush it. We can't do anything about the play that just happened, but what we can do is get ready for the next play and move forward. I'm proud of how we responded there and battled Ridgeview. That's a good football team and you took it to them."

Smith noted that the team scripted what they wanted to accomplish on both the offensive and defensive side of the ball and chose not to deviate from that script. As a result, the Cowboys primarily ran the ball in their scrimmage with Mountain View, then opened the offense up a little more against Ridgeview.

The big play of the night for the Cowboys was a 36-yard touchdown strike from quarterback Gavin Sandoval to wide receiver Eddie Freauff. However, that was far from the only big offensive play for the Cowboys. Sandoval and Palmer Smith, the Cowboys' other quarterback, also threw passes to Tyis Yustat and Cooper Nelson. Nelson did a good job running the ball as well, as did Smith in the handful of plays where he carried the ball.

Offensive linemen Jubal Brumble and Coy Mathiasen both looked solid, while the Cowboy defense gave up some yardage, but did not give up any big plays. Defensive backs Eddie Freauff and Austin Vaughan both looked sold, as did linebacker Elijah Freauff.

"We have definitely grown a lot," Brumble said. "We have better numbers than the four years that I've been here and that helps out a lot. I'm excited for this year. I feel like the Cowboys could do something good this year."

Crook County showed that they have more depth than in recent years and have the ability to move the ball, something they struggled with a year ago.

"One thing I like about our offense is that we are fairly balanced," coach Smith said. "We were scripted and working on our stuff. If we are calling a game and working against someone like Mt. View and they are taking something away, then we are going to call something else, but tonight we just ran what we had planned. I feel good about our ability to score the football. We can attack multiple ways and that's pretty critical on offense being balanced if a team takes something away then having an answer is always important."

Still the Cowboys have a lot of work to do if they want to be competitive in the Greater Oregon League. Baker, La Grande and Madras all reached the Class 4A playoffs a year ago, while Pendleton reached the 5A playoffs. Both Madras and The Dalles also defeated the Cowboys last year. That leaves no weak teams in the league.

Crook County will get a better idea of just how good they can be this Friday when they go on the road and take on Philomath in a 7 p.m. contest.

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