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After going up 6-0, Madras sees Crook County score next 28 points; face powerful Gladstone Friday

LON AUSTIN  - Ethan Graeme hauls in a pass from quarterback Dru Boyle during the Buffs' 28-0 loss to Crook County March 26. The play went for 61 yards. The Madras White Buffalo football team got off to a great start, but was unable to keep the momentum as they fell 28-6 to the Crook County Cowboys Friday night in Prineville

After neither team scored in their opening possession, the White Buffalos started their second drive on their own 8-yard line. After a short loss on first down, Madras went to the air. First, quarterback Dru Boyle hit Ethan Graeme for a 61-yard gain, all the way down to the Crook County 32-yard line. Then, six plays later, Boyle hit Graeme again, this time on an 8-yard pass in the corner of the end zone for the score. The extra point attempt was not good, but with 3:52 remaining in the first quarter, the White Buffalos had a 6-0 lead.

"I was really pleased with how we came out," said Madras head coach Kurt Taylor. "We were executing and doing everything that we wanted to do."

Crook County responded quickly, but it wasn't on a called play. Quarterback Hogan Smith dropped back to pass, then scrambled around the right side of the line for a 48-yard touchdown run. Smith kept the ball on the two-point conversion and ran the ball in, giving the Cowboys an 8-6 lead with 2:41 still remaining in the quarter.

The rest of the game was all Crook County as Madras struggled to move the ball. Still, it wasn't easy for the Cowboys, who struggled with penalties and turnovers the remainder of the first half.

Clinging to a two-point lead, the Cowboys finally got the ball back midway through the second quarter and went on a clock-eating drive with running back Austin Rochelle doing most of the damage. The Cowboys moved quickly from their own 42-yard line all the way down to the Madras 35. Then, for the second time in the game, Smith scrambled, escaped defensive pressure, then scampered 35-yards for another TD. The kick failed, but with 1:54 left in the first half, the Cowboys led 14-6.

"We were stopping them on defense," Taylor said. "We basically knew everything that they were running at us and were able to execute that for the first quarter; then we just stopped executing, it's just that simple. We started missing tackles like crazy when (Hogan) ran all the way for that second score, we missed nine tackles. We had him dead to rights in the backfield with an outside backer blitz call — then he proceeded to go. He's a good ball player, I'll give him that, but we missed nine tackles — we counted them on film."

Madras failed to cleanly field the ensuing kickoff and the Cowboys recovered. However, penalties killed what started as a promising drive, and the Cowboys were forced to punt. Two plays later, Trevyn Smith intercepted a Boyle pass, but time expired in the first half as the White Buffalos sacked Hogan Smith for a 10-yard loss.

The second half was all Crook County. The Cowboys took possession after the second half kickoff on their own 37-yard line and quickly moved down the field, scoring on a 24-yard pass from Hogan Smith to Trevyn Smith. The kick was blocked, but Crook County led 20-6.

Madras ran just three offensive plays the entire third quarter as the Cowboys controlled time of possession. When the quarter ended, Crook County had the ball and was driving again.

"The third quarter ... We were on defense the entire rest of the time, and our poor boys were dying," said Taylor.

Hogan Smith scored his third touchdown of the game on a 5-yard keeper with 9:51 remaining in the final period and the Cowboys led 26-0.

The final two points of the game came on a safety after Boyle was sacked and fumbled the ball into the end zone late in the period. From there, the Cowboys ran out the clock.

With the win, the Cowboys moved to 3-1 on the year while Madras fell to 1-3.

"There will never be a time when we are satisfied with where we are at, but, with this young group, we are getting better every week, and that's all we can ask for," Taylor said. "I'm just proud of these boys for fighting. Hope we continue to learn and will take it into the next week for our fifth and final week."

Boyle completed eight of 17 passes for 88 yards, most in the first quarter, but he threw two interceptions in the game. Graeme finished with 67 receiving yards while Jeremiah Smith carried the ball 10 times for 28 yards for the White Buffalos.

Reece White finished with 12 tackles for the White Buffalos, while Smith added nine and Demarcus Scott finished with five.

Things don't get any easier for the White Buffalos this week as they close out the season Friday with a home game against the league-leading Gladstone Gladiators, 4-0, in a 7 p.m. contest.

Madras 6 0 0 0 – 6

Crook County 8 6 6 8 – 28

M – Ethan Graeme 8-yard pass from Dru Boyle, kick failed.

CC – Hogan Smith 48-yard run, Smith run good.

CC – Hogan Smith 35-yard run, 2-point attempt failed.

CC – Trevyn Smith 24-yard pass from Hogan Smith, kick failed.

CC – Safety.

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