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Madras controls the second half, drops Outlaws 29-14; moves to 2-0 on young season and faces Caldera Friday

TONY AHERN  - Johan Poland, 41, prepares to throw the ball on a halfpack pass after talking an overhand lateral from quarterback Dru Boyle. Poland threw deep to receiver Cael White, who scored his first of three TD catches on the night. the hook-up was the first score of the game. Madras went on to beat Sisters 29-14. Madras rode an explosive second half to beat Sisters Sept. 9 in the Buffalos' stadium 29-14. 

Tough defense and sloppy offense marked the first half that ended with a 7-7 tie. In the third quarter, though, the Buffs took over. They'd dominate the rest of the way, build a 29-7 lead before the Outlaws scored a late TD after the game was decided.

Madras got three touchdown passes from senior quarterback Dru Boyle and three touchdown catches from senior receiver Cael White. 

One of White's TD catches came from running back Johan Poland.

Poland had a huge night for the Buffs on both sides of the ball. Midway through the second quarter, from near the Madras 35-yard line, the senior took a lateral swing pass from Boyle and turned it upfield for about 25 yards. He then went up the middle for six yards. Then Boyle pitched another overhand lateral to Poland, this time moving to his right — and this time the running back pulled up and lofted a pass to White, who'd gotten behind the defense, which had rolled up thinking Poland was running. White took it into the end zone for the first of his three TDs. Poland then booted the extra point and Madras led 7-0 at the 5:33 mark in the second period.

Sisters responded with its only scoring drive against the Madras first-string defense. Quarterback Eason Moore struck for three catch-and-run plays that got the Outlaws quickly down to the Madras two, and from there they punched it in and tied the game with the extra point. 

The Buffs went into halftime disappointed. Defensively, Madras was making more impact plays than Sisters, with defensive back Poland, middle linebacker Skytus Smith and linemen Levi Frank and Hayden Heath making several key plays. But Sisters could have had the lead at the break. Before Poland's TD pass to White, Sisters nearly scored the first touchdown of the game, but dropped a sure touchdown pass. They eventually went for a 43-yard field goal that was far short.

On offense, Madras had a few good plays, but in general was very flat in the first half.

"Halftime was definitely a wake-up call," said Buff coach Judd Stutzman. "Our players weren't playing with energy and weren't having fun. We told them at halftime that we needed their effort and energy level to change and to have fun when plays were made. They did just that in the second half which led to a much more successful ending."

Poland and the defense set the tone immediately in the second half. After a pass play put the Outlaws into the Madras side of the field, Poland produced two sacks on three plays to force a fourth and long. Madras took over on the Sisters side of the field. Poland got 16 yards on first down. But on third and three, Sisters blitzed and sacked Boyle, bringing up a fourth and 13. Too far from a comfortable Poland field goal attempt, the Buffs went for it. Boyle then hit White in the right corner of the end zone, White rising up and ripping the ball down for a TD. A missed extra point had the score 13-7.

Later in the third, White returned a Sisters punt all the way to the 14-yard line. The drive stalled and brought up another fourth down. No problem. Boyle again hit White, who again grabbed the ball away from frustrated defenders. Boyle packed it in himself on the two-point conversion and Madras led 21-7.

A minute into the fourth quarter, Sisters knew they had to find a way to score. From the 35, Moore went to the air, but Buff cornerback Wade Simmelink intercepted the high pass on the left side of the Buff defense. The speedster took it across the field to the right, in front of the Buffalo bench, and cut up field along the sidelines past two Outlaw tacklers. He eventually was pushed out inside in the 20. However, the sideline official ruled his foot nicked the chalk back near the 40.  

The Buff offense couldn't keep the ball and Poland had to punt. Adding a special teams highlight to his offensive and defensive big night, Poland's punt was downed inside the 1-yard line.

"Johan had a great night and kick-started our offense with his TD pass and did the same in the second half on defense with multiple sacks," said Stutzman. "However, Johan's success didn't start Friday against Sisters High School; his success is a by-product of his work ethic in the off season.  He attended every summer practice and almost every summer weights/conditioning session."  

From inside the 1, and under Madras blitzing pressure, Sisters gamely worked to move the ball and managed a first down. Madras, though, forced a punt at the 8:52 mark of the fourth quarter.

The White Buffs employed the ground game to move the clock, the biggest play being a Boyle-to-Poland option pitch that went for 20 yards. With about five minutes remaining, the Buffs put the game to bed when Boyle hit Simmelink in the left side of the end zone for his third TD pass of the night. Boyle again ran it in for two and the Buffs had the commanding 29-7 lead.

The Outlaws would score a TD late in the final minutes.

Stutzman came away impressed with the Buffs' defense.

"Our defensive line and linebacker Skytus Smith continue to slant and move really well against the opposing offensive line.  This allows other players to scrap free to make plays as well," said the coach.

Offensively, the passing game took a step forward from the season opener, the 26-20 overtime win at Sweet Home Sept. 2. 

"Our receivers attacked the ball at the highest point and ran routes as if the ball was coming to them on each pass play," noted the coach.

Now 2-0, the Buffs face Caldera High School in Bend Friday night at 7 p.m.


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