Huskies unable to stop consistent offense of White Buffaloes en route to sixth straight loss

AURORA, Ore.—North Marion was able to fend off the visiting Madras White Buffaloes for a good portion of the first half, but once the visiting team got rolling, they were hard to stop.

After 48 minutes of play on Friday, Oct. 15 Madras (3-3) emerged with the victory 36-0. North Marion (0-6) falls to 0-3 in Special District 2 play and is held scoreless for the fourth time this season.

Madras got on the board late in the first quarter to give the visiting squad a 6-0 lead. Then Huskies went on a seven-play drive that led from their own 39-yard line to the Madras 25-yard line.

The home team looked poised to get itself on the board, but the next four plays resulted in two penalties on the offense and a pair of incomplete passes. Madras took over on downs.

It's those inconsistencies that have plagued the North Marion offense all season. Once the team gains momentum it's difficult to hang onto it, according to head coach Michael Bicknell.

"We're driving, we just don't execute at the end," Bicknell said. "We have to finish everything we do. That's what we talked about. We have to finish drives, finish blocks, finish tackles, and that was really our main thing at halftime. We have to finish those little things."

After forcing a North Marion punt, Madras relied heavily on the efforts of Johan Poland to drive the ball up the middle and deep into Huskies territory. On the seventh play of the drive, Madras quarterback Dru Boyle scrambled left out of the pocket from 26 yards out and found his way into the endzone at 1:44 of the second quarter. Madras converted the 2-point play, a pass from Boyle over the middle to Reece White, and the White Buffaloes led 14-0.

The ensuing kickoff was really the beginning of the end for the Huskies.

On the deep kickoff the North Marion returner fumbled ball on his own 25-yard line. Madras came up with it, and the very next play Boyle passed the ball into the left-hand corner of the endzone over the North Marion defender for the touchdown. Madras led 22-0 at the half.

While it was tough sledding for the North Marion offense, the team found positive yardage on the ground in the form of junior Marcus Ledesma. A relentless runner off the block, Ledesma was the go-to back when North Marion needed a shot in the arm.

Another bright spot for the Huskies was sophomore quarterback Landon Fowler who, while inconsistent, showed poise as the game went on. The first-year player connected with several backs through the air, including freshman Evan Hopper, senior Kaden Henderson, and Ledesma.

"Landon is a first-year player, he was the backup to start (the season)," Bicknell said. "We worked him in slowly and then decided we wanted more athletes on the field. So, we transitioned our quarterback at the time to one of our skills players, and that's worked out for us. Landon came in, and he's been doing a great job. He's been directing the offense, been dialed in, and he loves it. It looks just a little bit smoother because we have more athletes out there and he's got good control of the game for being so young."

By the time Madras scored its final touchdown of the game early in the fourth quarter, North Marion was already banged up.

Several players were playing through cramps, being subbed off the field for a breather, or gritting through discomfort. It comes with the territory of when the roster size is just 24. By comparison, Madras had 39 players rostered and was able to give more of its players a break more often. It's been something Bicknell and the North Marion staff have been aware of the whole season.

"We have a bunch of young or first year players," Bicknell said. "We lean on the players with the experience and so they're playing a little more extra minutes at the beginning. As we get a little more comfortable with the freshman and first year players, we're letting them get out there and play. We're trying to get a better rotation in that aspect. But we're a small team. Even though we're getting a decent rotation, they're still playing heavy minutes. That's just going to lead to cramping and a little more punishment on the body because they're playing so many plays and not a lot of time to rest them."

PMG PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Marcus Ledesma was a constant source of offense for a beleaguered Huskies squad. North Marion fell to Madras 36-0 on Friday, Oct. 15.

North Marion will travel to face the No. 1 team at 4A Estacada (7-0) on Friday, Oct. 22.

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