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Cubs score two goals on penalty kicks and plays stifling defense; leaves Madras with a 3-1 upset victory

TONY AHERN  - White Buffalo Gustavo Santellano, 12, works the ball through Newport defenders Carlos Ramirez, 32, Ivan Hernandez, 14, and Tony Gonzelez, 7, during the quarterfinal matchup in the 4A State Soccer Playoffs. Newport scored three first-half goals and won 3-1. The game was played in Madras Nov. 1. Newport scored three goals in the first half to beat Madras 3-1 Nov. 1 to advance in the 4A state soccer playoffs, and to end the White Buffalos' outstanding season.

After Gio Diaz scored an early goal for the Buffs, on a cross pass from Eben Tapia, Newport got a long goal from the right wing to tie the game.

But it was the Cubs' next two goals — one goal on a penalty kick and one on a free kick, both within minutes of each other — that proved the difference in the game.

But overall, the 13th-seeded Cubs, which placed fifth in the Oregon West Conference, beat the homestanding fourth-seeded White Buffalos soundly, getting several shots on goal compared to very few for Madras.

The Cubs' tight defense and quickness to the ball on the slick grass proved the difference from then on. Neither team scored in the second half, and Madras was not afforded many opportunities.

"We didn't win the midfield and were unable to control the game. We also had many turnovers in the midfield, and had some mental lapses on defense," said Madras coach Clark Jones. "We weren't able to get the ball to our setup men. What that happens, you don't score."

With the loss, the Buffs finished the year 10-3. Newport moved to 7-4-5.

"I think we overlooked Newport. It's easy to get caught in the trap of 'they're a fifth-place team, we should have no problem beating them.,'" said Jones.

Jones also pointed out that none of the players on the team had any playoff experience and the situation was a bit foreign. While they had three senior captains that provided a lot of leadership —Gustavo Santellano, Gilbert Palacios and Yael Carlon — the squad largely depended on underclassmen, with its top two offensive attackers, Steve Gonzalez and Tapia, being sophomores. David Diaz, a junior, was a fourth captain.

"We wanted to be league champs. We were. the rest was unknown to all of the players on the team."

The Oregon West Conference is a very stout soccer league. Stayton and Philomath were both unbeaten, with three and four ties, respectively, and were ranked one and three. North Marion, which finished fourth in the league, has won two games in the post-season and is in the final eight.

Philomath, like Madras, suffered an upset Nov. 1 when 14th seeded Hidden Valley upset them in overtime 2-1.

The Cubs have proven road warriors. They started the playoffs with a 1-0 win at La Grande Saturday, Oct. 29, then won in Madras Nov. 1— both long drives from the Oregon Coast. Next up for them was an even longer drive, to fifth-seeded Ontario.

Madras, which was led by a contingent of sophomores offensively, will return the majority of its key players next fall. After not making the post-season last year, the Buffs won the Tri-Valley Conference title with a 8-2 league mark.

"The players this year are a pretty tight group. They are already talking about next year, and who is going to play where," said Jones. "We lose three senior starters, all three captains, so another set of leaders will need to emerge. I expect we will be competitive again next year, and should be able to make another run."

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