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Crook County explodes late in the game to top Madras 28-0, will face Henley Friday in 4A state playoffs

LON AUSTIN  - Crook County's Palmer Smith, 11, Gavin Sandoval, 1, and Ethan Lamphere, 22, converge to tackle a hurdling Cael White of Madras during the Cowboys' 28-0 victory Friday, Oct. 28. A second half scoring flurry carried Crook County over Madras is the final regular season football game for both teams Friday in Prineville.

The Cowboys won 28-0 after scoring 21 points in the last 15 minutes of the game. With the win and Baker's home loss to Pendleton, the Cowboys locked up third place in the 4A Special District 5, earning a state playoff spot. They'll travel to Klamath Falls to take on 8-1 Henley next Friday night, Nov. 4.

At Ward Rhoden Stadium Friday night, the Cowboys defense played bend-but-don't-break and pitched a shutout over the Buffs, whose offense was on the field much more than the Cowboys' was — until the final 15 minutes of the game, which the Cowboys dominated.

The Buffs' run game kept their offense on the field for much of the first half. However, while producing first downs, Madras was ineffective against the Cowboys' defense in the red zone. All night the Crook County defensive front kept the pressure on Madras quarterback Dru Boyle.

Crook County grabbed a 7-0 after receiver Eddie Freauff took a fly sweep from midfield to the house midway through the second quarter.

The Cowboys brought their 7-0 lead to the locker room at halftime. The Buffs took the second half kickoff and employed a stout running attack. They ate up more than eight minutes of the clock, but turned the ball over on downs.

The Buff defense forced a three-and-out. Madras took over in good field position, near their own 40. But on first down, Crook County forced a Madras fumbled on a running play. The Cowboys recovered and never looked back.

Palmer Smith then scored on a long running play up the middle and CC soon led 14-0.

Crook County generally stayed on the ground the rest of the way. While the Madras defense had controlled the Cowboy offense — outside of Freauff's one fly sweep play — in the first half, Crook County wore them out late in the second. At the 7:36 mark in the fourth quarter, Smith packed in another touchdown with a short run up the middle.

Down 21-0, Cael White gave Madras its biggest play of the night on the ensuing kickoff, returning it to the Cowboys' 29. However, Madras could only net five yards in four plays and Crook County got the ball back.

Following a long drive that ate up most of the remaining clock, the Cowboys punched in another TD.

Meanwhile, Pendleton was hammering Baker on the road 49-7. The Bucks' win coupled with the Cowboys victory meant third place in the league for Crook County, and a state playoff spot.

Henley is ranked fourth, their only loss to top-ranked Mazama, and Crook County is 14th.

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