White Buffalos get back on top
The Madras White Buffalos reclaimed the top spot in the Tri-Valley conference on Oct. 17. The Buffs jumped from third place in the conference to first after beating Molalla 1-0.
The previous league leader, North Marion moved from first to second in the league after losing to Gladstone 1-0.
"We had a quiet bus ride there (Molalla), which is usually a good indication of how focused we were," head coach Clark Jones said. "We were motivated a bit by the comments made by their seniors on senior night. They said their greatest moment of the year was beating Madras. So it motivated us for sure."
"The team went out there and probably played our best game since Summit," he said. "We went in and contested everything on the field, like a swarm. We were able to disrupt their midfield enough and they could not get anything going."
The Buffalos were able to score 20 minutes into the first half. Yahir Aguirre chipped in a shot from Andres Acuna. Aguirre lofted the shot over the keeper and Madras took a 1-0 lead.
"The team had a couple of decent shots off," Jones said. "Yahir's shot looked liked it was going over the post, but had some top spin on it."
"We just kept attacking," he said. "The attitude was not that we were up by a goal, but that we were down by a goal. Go get them."
The Madras White Buffalos and the Molalla Indians were both held scoreless in the second half of the game.
"In the second half, we got 30 minutes into it and made some adjustments to make sure our defense was set," said Jones. "It was and they didn't have any more decent chances to score."
"I think what happened is, it takes a long time to develop a style for a team and we are so used to being a team that scores all the time. This one and the last three or four games, if you can control the field, it doesn't matter if you win by five goals or one."
"We figured that out last game," he said. "We know we can control the field in the middle and still keep our attacks going, not expose ourselves and come out on top."
"You can't honestly hope to be league champs when your are in third place," Jones said. "Your hope is that you win out and hope that good things happen. That is what I told the team and said this isn't over yet. North Marion had to play against Gladstone and Gladstone gave us a gift."
The Madras White Buffalos boys soccer team earned a much needed 3-1 win over Gladstone at home Oct. 15.
The White Buffalos could not afford any more losses if they want to be league champs.
The Gladiators had a defensive approach, clogging the middle and trying to counter Madras when they regained control.
The Buffs controlled most of the possessions in the first half, but had trouble trying to score on Gladstone's defense. The Gladiators focused more on not letting Madras get any good looks to score than scoring themselves.
With little time left in the first half, Madras was able to score. Tyriek Rodriguez kicked a corner kick and Gladstone was able to defend, but the ball ended up coming back to Rodriguez.
Rodriguez used his composure to loft a pass right in front of the Gladiators' goal. Melchor Olivera was in the perfect place and leaped into the air for a picture perfect header. The ball flew past the Gladiator goalie and Madras took a 1-0 lead at halftime.
In the second half, Gladstone took Madras by surprise by trying a more aggressive offense. The Gladiators scored a few minutes into the second half. Osvaldo Rodriguez was able to put the ball in the back of the net for Gladstone and tie the game at 1-1.
Once the Gladiators scored, they went back to their defensive approach of trying to keep the Buffalos from getting off any clean shots. Most of the second half was tied, until Madras sophomore Omar Diaz was able to score with little time left.
Diaz received a pass from senior Alex Diaz and was determined to reach the goal. He dribbled through a pair of defenders and very close to the goal, fired a hard shot. The high shot flew by the Gladstone goalie to the top left of the net, giving the Buffs a 2-1 lead.
"I knew we needed to keep trying," Omar Diaz said. "For the league title, we might not get it if we lose or tie. There was a bunch of things going through my head like, 'We have to score, we have to score.'"
"I thought it (the ball) was going out and I saw the goalkeeper right in front of me," Diaz said. "He didn't move, so I ran right to the ball and blasted it with my right foot. The goal felt great and it was my first one of the season."
"It was one of those at the right place at the right time type of goals," head coach Clark Jones said. "Omar was in there because he was a fresh set of legs and is one of the fastest kids on the team. He has good feet and it was only a matter of time."
The White Buffalos were ready for the Gladiators' desperate offense attack the next time around. With the middle of the field less occupied, Madras took the Gladstone attack to their advantage. Sophomore Leo Gutierrez stole the ball from the Gladiators and used his speed to fly by the Gladstone defenders.
He ran right to the goal and kicked a low shot in the goal, giving the Buffs a 3-1 lead and sealing the win for Madras. The goal by Gutierrez was scored with less than one minute left in the game.
"This win was very important," Gutierrez said. "Since we won, it allows us to get a step closer on getting the league title back. My goal kind of sealed the game. They could have scored a last-minute goal, but we were able to score a last-minute goal."
"Gladstone has a tendency to bunker when we play them," Jones said. "They play off of counters and they are pretty good at it. We did a decent job of containing them until the second half. We scored the goal the way I thought we would."
"I don't care who scores," he said. "I am glad that we spread the ball around today. Three people scored that aren't our big scorers."