Win, draw keeps Buffs in first in the TVC

The Madras High School boys soccer team has gone one round through the Tri-Valley Conference, and they sit at the top of the league table.

With a 1-0 home win against 2012 4A runner-up La Salle Prep on Oct. 1, and a 1-1 tie against 2011 4A state champ Molalla, Madras coach Clark Jones said his team is right where they want to be.

“We feel pretty good about what we’re doing right now,” Jones said. “Our midfield is playing extremely well right now, and so is our defense.”

The defense has been Madras’ calling card this season, as they have allowed just three goals in TVC play with a 3-0-2 record.

“This is the best defense I’ve had since I started coaching here,” Jones said in his five years at the helm. “I’m not exactly sure what it is about them quite yet, but they can just shut people down.”

On Oct. 1 against La Salle Prep, it took a penalty kick with two minutes left in the match to decide it.

Bryan Renteria was in the midst of creating a scoring chance, and then was pulled down inside the 18-yard penalty yard. The official whistled for a penalty kick, which captain Oved Felix blasted in the net to give the White Buffalos the victory.

“It was an intense match, that’s for sure,” Jones said. “In this league, you always have to protect your home field advantage, and we were able to do that. The game was a big boost of confidence for us.”

In Molalla on Thursday, Renteria put the Buffs on the board with a goal in the 45th minute, but the Indians answered with a free kick 15 minutes later to salvage the match.

“Bryan is one of those guys you can’t keep away from the ball,” Jones said. “He just finds the right spots, and his teammates find him.”

Jones said the field conditions were awful, saying it was so wet and soggy, there was standing water all over the field, which slowed his team down considerably.

“When you can’t get footing because it’s so wet, it makes it tough to do much,” Jones said. “I don’t feel bad about the game at all.”

Jones said the hot start to the TVC schedule the Buffs are on can be attributed to the play of his defense and the team’s leadership.

“Andres Escalante is kind of the captain of the defense, and he’s an intimidating and physical center back for us, so he’s a big part of it,” Jones said. “Our other captains, Maylo (Urieta) and Oved help keep the team together and on track.”

Last season, the injury bug hit the Buffs hard, and Jones was forced to jumble up his starting 11 nearly every match. Now, with everyone relatively healthy, Jones can be consistent with his lineup and just make small adjustments.

“Doing well this year kind of validates what your system is when you don’t change a lot,” Jones said. “Our guys are a resilient bunch.”

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