La Grande Tigers claw Crook County Football team, but big games still ahead
After a blowout loss to Pendleton a week earlier, the Crook County Cowboys were looking for redemption when they traveled to La Grande last Friday.
The Cowboys played well for much of the game, but in the end fell 42-14 to the Tigers.
"The game was much closer than the score," Crook County head coach Pard Smith said. "We threw a pick and had a fumble in the red zone and then we fumbled another possible scoring oopportunity and we threw another pick late. It had a much better feel than Pendleton. We were battling and playing with good effort, so I was pleased with how they responded."
La Grande scored in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead. Crook County responded with Eddie Freauff racing 80 yards on a fly sweep. Gabe Love's kick was good and the score was tied. La Grande scored another touchdown late in the second quarter to go up 14-7. That was the score when the two teams went into the locker room at the half.
The Cowboys kicked off to start the second half and La Grande drove 80 yards to take a 21-7 lead. However, the Cowboys responded with a touchdown of their own, this time on a 46-yard pass from Gavin Sandoval to Eddie Freauff. Once again Love's kick was good and the Cowboys were within a touchdown late in the third quarter.
La Grande responded with another 80-yard drive to push their lead to 28-14. Once again, Crook County was driving for what looked like a touchdown. However, after breaking into the open, the Crook County ball-carrier dropped the ball. La Grande recovered and promptly scored to increase their lead to 35-14.
Crook County continued to move the ball the remainder of the game, but could not score again.
La Grande scored a late touchdown on a screen pass to push the final score to 42-14.
Offensively, the Cowboys finished with 370 yards of total offense, including 165 yards rushing on 28 carries and 205 passing yards on 15 pass completions.
Eddie Freauff carried the ball twice for 82 yards, while Kaleb Goozee had five carries for 62 yards and Palmer Smith had 13 carries for 28 yards. Eddie Freauff caught three passes for 66 yards, while Eli Freauff had five receptions for 80 yards and Goozee caught four passes for 56 yards.
Sandoval completed 14 of 20 passes, while Smith was 1 for 1 passing.
G.W. Neathery had two kick returns for 34 yards, while Eddie Freauff also had two returns for 32 yards.
Love had another good game kicking the ball, going two for two on extra point attempts and kicking three touchbacks on kickoffs, while Smith punted three times for a 36 yard average.
Defensively, Goozee finished with 12 tackles, while Levi Gruber and Smith each had five tackles. Ethan Lamphere and Eddie Freauff each finished with four tackles, while Sandoval and Luke Freauff each had three tackles and an interception.
With the loss, the Cowboys fell to 3-4 on the year and 1-2 in conference play while La Grande improved to 5-2 overall and 3-0 in league play.
The Cowboys will host Baker, 5-2, 2-1, on Saturday in a 2 p.m. game.
"We have two pretty big games coming up," coach Smith said. "If we take care of business and beat Baker and Madras, we can still make the playoffs."
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