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Short-handed Molalla High football team struggles against their Central Oregon opponent to fall to 1-1

By Lon Austin

The Molalla Indians proved to be no match for the Crook County Cowboys on Friday, falling 28-0 to Crook County in Tri-Valley League action.

"We just we have 24 guys," Molalla head coach Sean McElhaney said. "We have four seniors, six freshmen and they are all playing varsity. When you are playing a team that has more established players, we take some damage."

It was the second consecutive week that the Indians have traveled across the mountains to Central Oregon. However, this time things did not go as well as the previous week when the Indians blanked the Madras White Buffalos.

PMG PHOTO: LON AUSTIN - Molalla defenders Chase Maricich (21) and Jacob Watson (10) tackle Crook Country running back Brayden Duke in Friday night's game.

The two teams played to a scoreless tie in the first quarter. However, Crook County took the lead for good just 11 seconds into the second quarter on a one-yard run by quarterback Hogan Smith. Tristan Fischer ran the two point conversion in and the Cowboys let 8-0.

Molalla was unable to move the ball on the ensuing possession and Crook County took over on the Molalla 46 after a short punt. Nine plays later Fischer ran the ball in from four yards out. The kick failed, but the Cowboys led 14-0.

That's the way the score stayed until the third quarter when the Cowboys struck twice more. The Cowboys finally subbed midway through the final period, but Molalla was still unable to move the ball effectively as the Cowboys wore down the Indians with their superior depth.

Not only are the Indians shorthanded, but they had several more players dinged up Friday night. After losing one lineman in the game at Madras the previous week several more players were injured slightly against the Cowboys as the Indians finished the contest with just 17 players still playing.

Still, McElhaney was pleased with the effort he saw.

PMG PHOTO: LON AUSTIN - Molalla receiver Jacob Watson makes a move on two Crook County defenders after hauling in a pass from quarterback Isaac Thomas Klementis in Friday night's loss to Crook County.

"We showed up here with six linemen and one of the guys that got hurt was a lineman so now we have five offensive linemen," he said. "For subs we are subbing in guys that are running backs and things like that, so it hurts us. I think the effort is there. We are lacking a little bit of personnel, but I can't fault them for the effort, they are fighting really hard."

Molalla managed just 33 yards of offense in the game, while the Cowboys finished with 200 yards, mostly on the ground. Crook County would probably have gained more yardage, but a series of penalties killed several drives.

Molalla quarterback Isaac Thomas Klementis, who completed eight of 11 passes a week earlier was constantly under pressure against the Cowboys completing just four passes while being intercepted three times.

With the loss the Indians fell to 1-1 on the year while Crook County improved to 2-0. Molalla will host their first home game on Friday when they take on the Estacada Rangers, 48-6 winners over Madras on Friday in a 7 p.m. game.


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