Madras opens TVC play against North Marion

by: BILLY GATES/THE PIONEER - Madras quarterback Chad Lindgren, seen here throwing a pass against Crook County on Friday, injured his shoulder during the game and will not be available to the White Buffalos in their Tri-Valley Conference opener against North Marion.With both teams coming off big losses, something will have to give in the matchup between Madras and North Marion.

The two squads will face off at 7 p.m. Friday in the Tri-Valley Conference opener for both teams at Culver High School.

With construction underway on the new MHS football and track facility, Madras will play all its home games in Culver, and will only get to play once on a Friday night. The other two home games will be played on Saturday afternoons.

"We could complain about that, but we're not going to. We just want to play football," Madras head coach Rick Wells said. "It presents us with a different experience, sure, but I wouldn't want to share it with any other people than the players I love."

For the Buffs to pick up that first league victory, they'll have to contain North Marion's wing-T offense, which features wide receiver Kyle Williamson, oddly enough.

Typically a wing-T offense is a run-heavy, clock control kind of offense that relies on three running backs and the quarterback to create confusion for defenses with misdirection plays, but Williamson thrives in the offense and Wells took note of that watching film.

"North Marion has a great wide receiver, and I feel they are better than they were last year on both sides of the ball," Wells said.

With the Tri-Valley Conference race beginning Friday for all six teams, Wells see this league as wide open as it has ever been while he's been at Madras.

"This year is going to be a fun one," Wells said. "It's completely wide open, and what's going to be interesting is that I feel anyone can beat anyone else on a given night."

Madras, North Marion, Gladstone and Molalla all have 2-2 records after the nonconference portion of their schedules, while La Salle Prep is 1-3 and Estacada hasn't won in four tries.

But before the Buffs can start thinking about potentially earning a postseason spot, they have to deal with an improved Huskies team, and they'll have to do it without starting quarterback Chad Lindgren. Lindgren injured his shoulder against Crook County and won't be able to play, so that will give the signal calling duties to sophomore Miklo Hernandez.

The Buffs will still be able to pound the ball on the ground with tailbacks Jered Pichette, Clayton Smith and Chris North, but moving the ball through the air might be a little bit of a challenge without Lindgren throwing it. Wells said the Buffs are going to try to throw it, but with shorter patterns conducive to a higher completion percentage.

"We're not going to change who we are, but we need to make some adjustments on offense," Wells said. "Miklo gives us a physical presence at the position we're going to take advantage of."

The game, which is homecoming for the Buffs, kicks off at 7 p.m. Friday at Culver High School.

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