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Madras High School White Buffalos football loses to Yamhill-Carlton Tigers 27-7 to start league play.

STEELE HAUGEN - Madras lost to Yamhill-Carlton 27-7 in their first league game of the season Oct. 4.On Friday night, the Madras High School football team traveled to Yamhill-Carlton High School, where they lost to the Tigers 27-7. Yamhill-Carlton improved to 5-0 on the season and is now the No. 6 ranked 3A team, while the Buffalos moved to 2-3 overall.

The Tigers were able to strike first in the game, scoring on a 3-yard run, set up by a muffed punt by the Buffs. They also scored in the second quarter on a 3-yard pass. The PAT was missed and Yamhill-Carlton went into halftime with a 13-0 lead.

In the third quarter, the Tigers were able to break off a big 46-yard run and convert on the 2-point conversion, giving Yamhill-Carlton a 21-0 lead heading into the final quarter of play.

Sophomore quarterback Ethan Graeme was able to score the White Buffalos' first points of the game on a 5-yard run.

Yamhill-Carlton responded with another 3-yard touchdown run to seal its 27-7 victory over the Madras White Buffalos.

Madras had 141 total yards of offense and Graeme was 10-for-21 passing, with 84 yards in the air, a rushing touchdown and a fumble. His main target was 6-foot, 5-inch sophomore receiver Reece White. White ended the game with seven catches for 67 yards and a fumble.

"Offensively, we did have some really good things, even if the score doesn't show it," head coach Kurt Taylor said. "We were able to move the ball in our base offense with Ethan (Graeme) throwing the ball better than he has all year. I would say it was probably the best we were able to throw the ball since I have been here. It was pretty special to watch and his completion percentage is really skewed because seven of the incompletions hit receivers right in the hands and they dropped them. He looked really good and poised."

Madras had 57 rushing yards in the game and Treyvon Easterling led the team with 30 yards rushing on nine attempts. On offense, the Buffs went 2-for-11 on third-down conversions and 1-for-4 on fourth-down attempts. They also lost four fumbles on the day.

Yamhill-Carlton ended the game with 326 total yards of offense, 214 on the ground and 112 in the air. The Tigers scored three rushing touchdowns, with one passing touchdown and one interception.

Erik Boynton led the Buffs in tackles with 10, one for a loss. Robert Pacheco ended with eight tackles, one sack and one tackle for a loss.

"We seem to continually struggle with these away games, so it has been tough," Taylor said. "We kind of played that ball game, where we just could not get it done. We made a lot of mistakes. They are a good ball club. They are fast and 5-0 for the season, but we should have played a lot better. We had a lot of missed tackles."

"The reason we are struggling on these away games, in my eyes, is because there are pieces of mental toughness that we can't seem to teach. We are (exploring) every way that we can to find a way to have these kids understand, bad things happen in football games and your response means everything. The game are longer than our boys appear. The boys struggle with, if something bad happens, it is the end of the world, how are we going to get back from it. That has been the biggest struggle."

Madras has a home game against Blanchet Catholic at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11.

"Blanchet hasn't sent film yet, but I assume it is the same stuff as last year because they have the same coach," Taylor said. "They have had a tough go and we are struggling too, but when we struggle, anyone in the state can beat us, so it's tough. The biggest thing moving forward for us is finding a way to sustain this self-discipline, mental fortitude that we had against Dayton."

"It is really interesting for us coaches because we practiced the same way going into Yamhill," he said. "The boys practiced really good and really tough. They were really focused through the whole week, but for some reason, when we travel somewhere, the routine is different, different locker rooms, one stall to use the bathroom. It is all these different things that make the boys get out of their routine and it seems to really hurt us.

"As a coaching staff, we are trying to get these boys to understand when bad things happen, you need to persevere through it," Taylor said. "When they do that, we are a really good football team. We do it against teams we should beat, but when we play teams that are tough and have a good record, we struggle. It is daunting as a head coach and a coaching staff. We have literally (exhausted) every way that we can think of to get through that."

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