White Buffalos charge through Crusaders, make playoffs
The Madras White Buffalos have made back-to-back state playoff appearances for the first time since 1985-1986 after crushing Salem Academy 49-7 Nov. 1.
Madras moved to 6-3 overall, 4-1 in league play and is now the No. 12 ranked 3A team. They are matched up against a very familiar team, Rainier, which is ranked No. 5 and are 7-2 overall. The Mountaineers beat Madras 44-0 Sept. 20, and now host the White Buffalos again. This will be the fourth time Madras and Rainier have played in a two-year span.
"The difference between this game and the game earlier this season is now our boys have a ton of confidence and they have been playing with a ton of confidence and have had success," coach Kurt Taylor said. "Now we have to take that to a team that has had our number for the last three times. This week, more than anything, is about how do we instill confidence and positivity into our boys in order to go out and get these guys."
"We have taught confidence and instill confidence in three parts," he said. "First, you have to learn from failure because you are going to fail no matter what. We have failed three times against these guys, so we are going to learn from that. We are going to refrain from failure with them."
Second, he said, is positive self talk, "making sure they are staying positive in every moment of Friday's game."
"Third (is) taking small victories." Taylor said. "If you watch the film from the first game, every time everyone did their job we beat them. Every time somebody wanted to do their own thing, they beat us on that play. We are going to show the boys those avenues on film and show them we can beat them if you are willing to do your job. That is the big ticket this week, it is all about confidence."
Against Salem Academy, the Buffalos did all their damage on the ground. Every single offensive yard was running the ball and Madras ended the game with 268 total yards of offense.
On Madras' first offensive possession, the White Buffalos handed the ball to Treyvon Easterling on fourth-and-9. Eastlering and the Buffs gained 12 yards and Madras was then in scoring position. Easterling was able to punch the ball in on an 8-yard run up the middle for the first score of the game. The point after touchdown was missed and Madras took a 6-0 lead.
The White Buffalos' defense had another great game and Derek Main tackled Salem Academy in its own end zone for a safety and 2 points for Madras.
Easterling scored again for the Buffs, that time on a 2-yard run, giving Madras a 14-0 lead.
In the second quarter, Eastlering ran up the middle for another 8-yard touchdown. He also scored on a 2-point conversion, giving Madras a 22-0 lead.
An interception by senior middle linebacker Kody Zemke on a Salem Academy halfback screen play was returned 30 yards, putting the Madras offense near the end zone.
Zemke's interception set up another Easterling touchdown, that time from 2 yards out. Easterling scored four touchdowns in the first half and the White Buffalos took a 28-0 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter, Zemke intercepted a Salem Academy pass again. He returned the interception 15 yards and was tackled at the 2-yard line.
Easterling used his power once again to score his fifth touchdown of the night on a 1-yard touchdown run.
Madras put its second unit on the field for the rest of the game and was still able to score on the ground. Junior Nathan Stout ran for a big 22-yard run, setting up an 8-yard touchdown run by Stout, extending Madras' lead to 43-0.
Senior safety Dalton Kiefer intercepted a Salem Academy pass and returned it to the 7-yard line, where Tom Kallenbach scored on a sweep to the outside.
Salem Academy was able to score on a 24-yard pass near the end of the game, but the Buffs remained victorious, earning their largest victory of the season.
"The boys played really, really well," Taylor said. "We were able to do some things we have been working on these last couple weeks and polish things up. The boys just decided they wanted to go out there and finish the regular season in a really good way. It was a fun game."
Easterling led the Buffs with 149 yards on 24 rushing attempts, scoring five touchdowns and a 2-point conversion. Stout ran the ball 12 times for 55 yards and a touchdown, while Ethan Graeme ran the ball five times for 35 yards. Kallenbach ran the ball twice for 2 yards and a score.
On defense, Erik Boynton led the team with six tackles, while Liam White and Tyrell Rodriguez both ended the night with five tackles. Zemke ended the game with three tackles and two interceptions. The team held Salem Academy to 95 total yards of offense.
"We were able to move the ball at will," Taylor said. "We went for it on fourth down four times and got the first down on all of them. The line blocked really great up front. The line looked as good as it has all year, not just blocking down field and being more aggressive than the other team, but schematically too. Making the right blocks in the right situations and our receivers did a lot better job blocking down field better than we have. It was just a good all-around effort and a great victory for us."
"The Salem Academy game was great because every single person was able to play," he said. "Some of our younger kids that have a really awesome role on our team, that don't have a lot of playing time during the other games, were able to play for a quarter and a half. It was pretty cool because going into the playoff game, we can only bring 33 players and so a lot of those guys will still have a role on the team, but won't be able to play in the postseason. It was good for them to get that opportunity."
Madras started the year with a 2-3 record, but won four games in a row to finish the season 6-3 and earn a state playoff appearance.
"I think the biggest change, more than scheme or anything, was giving them an opportunity to gain confidence in themselves and we have really worked on that, starting probably after the Yamhill-Carlton game," said Taylor. "We really just decided that we were going to spend time every practice, before the game, doing things that help our boys gain confidence. We changed the way we condition, doing things like that to help create avenues for our boys to become more mentally tough, gaining confidence in their abilities."
"We are teaching them to be more positive with others and themselves," he said. "With themselves more importantly than others because a lot of the time when we struggle, the boys just don't look the same. The boys just aren't there and they are talking negatively to themselves the whole time. Instead, we really try to focus on them thinking, I can beat this guy, I am going to beat this guy, I am going to stay positive. It is really helping us."
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