The Crook County Cowboys got off to a slow start, but came back in a big way in the second half to take a 24-7 victory over the Philomath Warriors Friday night on the road in the opening football game of the season.
"We moved the ball pretty well in the first half and got inside the 10 twice, but didn't score," Crook County head coach Pard Smith said. "We were a different team in the second half."
Both times Crook County moved the ball into the red zone in the first half the Cowboys turned the ball over, once on a fumble and once on an interception.
Philomath got on the board first when Kaden Muir threw a 4- yard touchdown pass to 6-foot-6 tight end Ty May. The kick was good and the Warriors led 7-0.
However, that was the last points Philomath would score as the Cowboy controlled both sides of the ball in the second half.
"Their tight end was able to body us," Smith said. "Other than that, we played stingy defense."
Crook County broke the game open in the third quarter as running back Palmer Smith scored a pair of touchdowns and wide receiver Eddie Freauff caught a touchdown pass. Smith's first touchdown was a 53-yard run, while he punched the ball in from the two-yard line on his second score.
Meanwhile, Freauff caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Gavin Sandoval. Gabe Love converted all three extra points and the Cowboys led 24-7 at the end of the third quarter.
"We used Palmer as a runner and Gavin throwing the ball," coach Smith said. "It worked good and we played to both of their strengths. Palmer looked good running the football and blocking and Gavin threw the ball well."
Crook County scored one final time in the fourth quarter on a 32-yard field goal by Love. Smith, who was Crook County's starting quarterback last year, carried the ball 21 times for 149 yards and Kaleb Goozee had six carries for 52 yards. Meanwhile, Sandoval, a sophomore, completed nine of 18 passes for 162 yards. Eddie Freauff caught six passes for 131 yards While Austin Vaughan had one catch for 25 yards and Cooper Nelson returned the ball six times for 74 yards.
Smith added that Coy Mathiasen and Jubal Brumble blocked well and Nelson and Freauff had good games.
As a team, Crook County carried the ball 32 times for 222 yards, while Sandoval threw for 162 yards.
The Cowboys also played solid defense with Smith leading the way with five solo tackles while Ethan Lamphere had four and Freauff and Brycen West each added three.
"We played clean football," coach Smith said. "We had a few penalties, but I was proud of the discipline we showed. We played hard all night, but the second half we really cranked things up."
The Cowboys are at home this Friday when they take on Junction City, a 41-6 winner over Elmira, in a 7 p.m. contest.
Crook County 24, Philomath 7
Crook County 0 0 21 3 â€“ 24
Philomath 0 7 0 0 â€“ 7
Philomath â€“ 40 yard pass from Kaden Muir to Ty May, kick good.
Crook County â€“ Palmer Smith 53 yard run, Gabe Love kick good.
Crook County â€“ Smith two yard run, Love kick good
Crook County â€“ Eddie Freauff 40 yard pass from Gavin Sandoval, Love Kick good.
Crook County â€“ Love 32 yard field goal
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.