Buffalos fly by Corbett Cardinals
The Madras White Buffalos took care of business Oct. 25, defeating the Corbett Cardinals 22-0.
Corbett and Madras were both fighting for a postseason spot. After Madras' victory, both teams moved to 5-3 on the year.
"I think it was actually one of the best games I have played in," senior defensive linebacker Liam White said. " knowing it was our last game here, we put everything on the line; it was really meaningful. The game was a make or break playoff game and it couldn't have happened in a better situation, on senior night. It was really fun."
White started at quarterback as a sophomore for the Buffalos and has thrived at different positions throughout his high school career. Currently, he is a hard-hitting linebacker for the Buffs, but has also been the lead blocking quarterback in their offense, with the potential to surprise teams by throwing the ball.
White said it felt good spending four years with the same coach, building a winning program. "... And it has been a heck of a ride."
"I really do appreciate everything coach T (Curt Taylor) has done and he has brought a lot to our program and into our lives," he said. "This journey has been crazy because these seniors have always played together and have always been successful. As soon as we were sophomores, things were going to change. Our coaches were amazing; we had so much talent that was hidden behind our losing streak. As we got more wins and confidence, it only made things better."
"For you younger guys, buy in," he advised. "Everything coach T is saying is right, it is correct and he is one of the best coaches Madras has seen. Just buy in to this program."
The first score of the game came from a punt block by Tony Salazar into the back of the end zone for the Buffs. Madras took a 2-0 lead and held onto it all the way to the second quarter.
"It completely changed the momentum of the game," senior defensive captain Kody Zemke said about the punt block. "It makes everyone on the team fly around a little faster, hit a little harder, do things a little better."
A fumble on a punt by the Cardinals put the Buffalos in great scoring position and Madras power back runner Treyvon Easterling punched the ball in for a score on an 8-yard sweep.
The point after touchdown was missed and Madras took an 8-0 lead with 10:33 left in the half.
Madras' defense wouldn't budge and their offense took the field with 1:08 left in the half. A series of quarterback runs up the middle by Ethan Graeme put the Buffs in scoring position. Graeme scored on a run up the middle and Madras took a 15-0 lead heading into the third quarter.
Neither team was finding success on offense in the second half, but power back Easterling decided to seal the game himself for Madras.
Easterling ran five dive runs in a row up the middle, and on the sixth power run, Easterling broke free for a 43-yard score.
The White Buffalos' defense was not giving Corbett any room and Madras came away with a 22-0 victory on senior night.
"We came out on defense and executed; our offense started out slow, but at the end of the day, we finished where we needed to be," said senior captain Robert Pacheco. "Our defense coach, coach Shaw put us in where we needed to execute and we did what we needed to do. It was great coaching, great calls, great everything."
"This was amazing," he said about senior night. "You can never really get this feeling anywhere on this earth and I am so glad we came out on top. We went from losing every game, winning some and now we are here. It is a great feeling."
Pacheco started as a sophomore at wide receiver for the Buffalos, leading the team in catches, yards and receiving touchdowns. He switched to quarterback his junior year, earning first-team league honors. The senior is now an outside linebacker for Madras and is having a breakout defensive season.
He has scored receiving, rushing, throwing and defensive touchdowns as a Madras White Buffalo. Pacheco also plays quarterback on offense, lead blocking for Madras, while also posing a threat as a runner and passer.
"My journey was all up to the coaches," Pacheco said. "I believed in the coaches, trusted the coaches and they put me where I could be successful and the team could be successful. I just did what they asked. For players just starting, keep striving for excellence, keep working out, do everything right; do the little things right because little things add up to big things. At the end of the day, it is worth it, I swear to you, it is worth it."
Easterling was the leader for Madras' offense with 103 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. Graeme ran the ball eight times for 25 yards and a score, while Robert Pacheco ended the game with 25 yards on five carries.
The only things that hurt the White Buffalos was penalties. Madras ended the game with 15 penalties and Corbett with five.
Senior middle linebacker Kody Zemke led the team in tackles with seven and Erik Boynton had five tackles and a fumble recovery.
"The game was not the way we should have played, in terms of having way too many penalties, but we got the win, it just wasn't the way I wanted," Zemke said. "The only thing that matters is we came away with a win."
"Corbett tried to overload the left side, but it was a simple fix for us; we just shifted over, made it a balanced set and it worked good," he said. "We needed to play our game, fly around like our heads were on fire, like we should always. We haven't always done it in the past, but today, we were better at it and we got the shutout.
"Senior night was a little emotional," Zemke said. "Talking to the guys in the locker room before the game, knowing it was our last one we had at home. It was emotional. I love every one of these guys; there isn't anything I wouldn't do for them."
Zemke has started as a linebacker for the Buffs since his sophomore year. He had a breakout year during the 2018 season, earning first-team honors, while leading the team in tackles. He is currently having another great year and should finish with high league honors again this season.
Madras' defense held Corbett to 26 yards of total offense, 39 yards in the air and Madras held Corbett to a loss of 13 yards rushing. The Cardinals were 0-for-10 on third-down conversions and 1-for-5 on fourth-down. They also forced three turnovers.
"Our defense rolled," White said. "We played to our strengths. Our pass coverage was great; we stuffed the runs up the middle because our linebacker play was fantastic. This is a good defense."
"Our focus was just knowing this could be our last chance to show out," he said. "It is our one and only chance. Having that little bit of an edge towards an opponent, who is coming from three hours away, while we were at home, hyped up, it really did bring us up."
"It was a great game, great team effort, but man was that a flag fest," power running back Eastlering said. "It was an ugly win, but still a win. I am excited for next week and we are going to keep working hard. The offense started really slow, but in the end, we got the win. That is all I will say on that; we still have a lot of things to work on in the future for the playoffs, but we will get things right."
"I am just so happy and proud of everyone; we worked so hard and these four years have been a ride," he said. "I am just glad we were able to do it together."
Easterling has been the starting running back since his sophomore year, leading the team in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns, earning Tri-Valley 4A first-team league honors. He earned second-team 3A-SD-1 league honors last season.
"Honestly, it is a mental thing," Easterling said about increasing his yards toward the end of games. "Sometimes you get tired and have to push through it. It is just what you have to do sometimes. Just work hard and that is what I try and do. I am going to work hard in practice, every day, every rep."
This season, the White Buffalo defense is holding teams to only 16.25 points per game and have held five team to under 18 points.
"The defense played lights out," head coach Kurt Taylor. "It is pretty fun when you watch film and dedicate a lot of time breaking things down and then go into a game and literally know dang near every single play they are going to run. It gives our boys so much confidence when the coaches say, they are going to do this and it happens. That just breeds confidence and our defensive coaches are just amazing, across the board. We pitched a shutout — the second one of the year."
"I am so proud of these seniors, so proud of those boys," he said. "They are the first group we have had since they were freshmen and they reminded us of that tonight. They have matured so much, physically, mentally, emotionally. They want this and it is cool to see a team finally say, we are going to commit to the things coach says. We are going to do what we need to do to be successful and win the game."
The White Buffalos have one regular season game left against 0-8 Salem Academy. If the White Buffalos beat Salem Academy, they will make the state playoffs for the second year in a row. The last time the Madras football program made back-to-back state playoff appearances was in 1984-1985.
The away game at Salem Academy starts at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1.
"A team like Salem Academy scares me a little bit because there are two ways this coin can flip," Taylor said. "We go out there and do what we do and beat them pretty easily because they are done and they haven't won a game all year; they are tired and done. The other side is that they have nothing to lose and they come out, play lights and knock you around a bit."
"I have all the confidence in these boys to do what they need to do in this game to secure a playoff spot and win, but I never want to take a team lightly when they are in that type of seat," he said. "It is either I am done or let's go out and beat Madras, who is a playoff type team and shock the world. It is a little scary, but I don't think our boys will let that happen. We are in the driver's seat moving forward, have a ton of confidence and we learned from this game. We will see where the card falls."
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