The Crook County Cowboys found out late Friday morning that their home football game against the Sweet Home Huskies was being moved to Sweet Home due to smoke.
With short notice, the Cowboys got on a bus early Friday afternoon for the trek west.
"You know, it's not the best situation, the last second having to get on a bus and go when you planned on being at home," Crook County head coach Ryan Cochran said of the sudden change. "But at the end of the day, you know, we were thankful that we got a game in. We would rather get on a bus than not have a game."
With heavy smoke in the area, the Crook County football game was far from the only athletic event to be moved from Central Oregon last week.
There were no football games played Friday night in Central Oregon for the first time since 1995. In addition, several soccer matches were canceled last week, including Thursday games for both the Cowboys and Cowgirls.
Once in Sweet Home, things started smoothly for the Cowboys, who stuffed the Huskies at the line of scrimmage on their first three plays.
Facing a fourth and 18 on their own 28, the Huskies punted to the Cowboys, who took over on their own 40.
Crook County quarterback Colton Burkhardt carried the ball off tackle on the Cowboys' first play from scrimmage for an 11-yard gain and a first down into Sweet Home territory.
After no gain on the next play, followed by a one-yard loss, Burkhardt dropped back to pass and hit running back Kyle Brady for a 9-yard gain.
The Cowboys gambled on fourth and two, and the Husky defense stiffened, stopping Crook County a yard short.
The Huskies picked up a first down on their next possession, before the Cowboy defense stopped them and forced a punt.
Sweet Home downed the ball on the Crook County 10-yard line, and the Cowboy offense quickly went to work.
Burkhardt ran off left tackle for a gain of five before Brady took the ball to the 25-yard line for the second Cowboy first down of the game.
Jacob Kleffner slashed off the left side for another first down before Brady carried the ball to the 50-yard line.
Kleffner carried the ball to the Sweet Home 41, for the Cowboys' third first down of the drive.
On the next play, Brady swept around the left side for 14 yards. However, the play was called back because of a holding call. Another holding call made it second and 24. However, a 23-yard pass to Kleffner set up a fourth and less than one for the Cowboys.
A Burkhardt quarterback sneak got the first down, and the Cowboys were in business, with a first down on the Sweet Home 31-yard line.
A 16-yard screen pass to Jason Slawter gave the Cowboys another first down as the first quarter came to an end.
The Cowboys moved the ball down to the Sweet Home 14-yard line to start the second quarter. Then came the most controversial play of the game.
Burkhardt dropped back to pass and hit Dominic Langley coming across the middle at about the 3-yard line.
Langley didn't appear to control the ball as he was hit, and the ball popped free. However, the officials ruled that it was a completion and a fumble and the Huskies recovered the ball on their own 5-yard line.
The Cowboys had driven the ball more than 90 yards in 20 plays, but failed to score a point.
With Austin James and Hayden McDonald doing most of the damage, the Huskies quickly moved the ball to the Crook County 49-yard line. However, a holding call set the Huskies back to the 38-yard line where they were eventually forced to punt.
The ball was downed on the Crook County 29-yard line. The Cowboys moved the ball to the Husky 45 before fumbling the ball. Sweet Home recovered the fumble on the Cowboy 47-yard line and quickly took advantage.
A 17-yard gain by McDonald, followed by two runs from James, moved the ball to the Crook County 6-yard line before McDonald carried the ball across the goal line for a six-yard touchdown run. The kick by Austin Stevens gave the Huskies a 7-0 lead with 4:19 remaining in the first half.
Langley returned the ensuing kick 38 yards, all the way to the Sweet Home 48-yard line.
Once again, the Cowboys quickly moved the ball down the field, and once again, Crook County turned the ball over as Sweet Home recovered a fumble on the Crook County 19-yard line.
A 5-yard carry by McDonald followed by six yards from James gave the Huskies a first down on the Cowboy 30-yard line before Husky quarterback Colton Smith hit Keegan Holly on a 70-yard touchdown strike. The kick failed, but the Huskies led 13-0 with just 1:47 remaining in the half.
Kyle Brady returned the kick to the 22-yard line. However, two plays later, Burkhardt threw an interception as Holly stepped in front of the intended receiver at the 40-yard line. Holly returned the interception to the Cowboy 33-yard line, and the Huskies were back in business with just over a minute remaining in the half.
The Huskies marched all the way down to the Crook County 4-yard line, but on second and goal, Smith fumbled the ball. The Huskies managed to recover the fumble on the 21-yard line. However, the Huskies were unable to gain any more yardage as the half ended.
Sweet Home attempted an onside kick to open the second half, but Victor Ramirez recovered the ball for the Cowboys on the Sweet Home 48-yard line.
However, Crook County was unable to move the ball and on third and 10, Burkhart bobbled the snap from center. Burkhardt was able to fall on the ball, however, that left the Cowboys with a fourth and 18 on their own 44-yard line.
Sweet Home muffed the ensuing punt, but the Huskies were able to fall on the ball on their own 22-yard line.
The Cowboys quickly forced a punt and took over on the Sweet Home 44-yard line. However, two plays later, Austin Stevens recovered a Crook County fumble and returned the ball all the way from the 20 to the 43-yard line.
Seven plays later, James carried the ball across the goal line for a 3-yard touchdown run.
The 2-point conversion attempt failed, but the Cowboys were called for roughing the passer. On their second attempt, Smith hit Holly in the corner of the end zone, giving the Huskies a 21-0 lead.
The ensuing kick went out of bounds, and the Cowboys were set to take over on their own 35-yard line. However, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Sweet Home moved the ball to midfield.
Once again, the Cowboys quickly moved the ball down the field, getting as far as the 9-yard line.
However, a pair of penalties and a Burkhardt sack on the 15-yard line, and Sweet Home took over on downs.
The third quarter ended with the Huskies in a third and two on the Cowboy 23-yard line.
A false start followed by a sack of Smith forced the Huskies to punt, and once again the Cowboys moved the ball inside the 20-yard line.
This time, a pair of holding penalties followed by a Burkhardt sack moved the ball back out to the Crook County 45-yard line before the Cowboys were once again forced to punt.
After trading punts, the Cowboys once again took possession and moved the ball all the way to the Sweet Home 9 before turning the ball over again as Holly intercepted Brodie Connell in the end zone.
After stopping the Huskies, the Cowboys had one more possession but were once again unable to score before the Huskies were able to run out the clock on their final possession as they took the 21-0 win.
The Cowboys had 298 yards of offense in the game, compared to 266 for the Huskies.
Crook County ran 76 plays in the contest, including rushing the ball 44 times for 159 yards. Meanwhile, the Huskies ran just 42 plays.
Burkhardt was 9-23 passing the ball for 89 yards, while Connell was 3-6 for 61 yards. Both quarterbacks threw an interception as the Cowboys turned the ball over six times in the game.
"We moved the ball down the field pretty well," Cochran said. "We put some drives together, but when we got inside the 20, it was either turnovers or big penalties that pulled us down and caused problems."
Langley had four catches for 60 yards in the game, while Kleffner finished with three catches for 44 yards.
Kyle Brady led the Cowboys in rushing with 78 yards on 12 carries, while Kleffner had seven carries for 44 yards, and Burkhardt had eight carries for 27 yards.
Matthew Highsmith led the Cowboy defense with five tackles, while Eric Gonzalez finished with three.
For the Huskies, James carried the ball 12 times for 94 yards, while McDonald had 10 carries for 102 yards.
With the win, the Huskies improved to 2-0 while the Cowboys fell to 0-2.
"We improved a ton," Cochran said. The kids played hard and didn't give up. They played to the very end. It's just that execution part again."
The Cowboys are on the road again on Friday when they take on the 1-1 Sisters Outlaws.
"We saw them in the jamboree," Cochran said. "They are big and physical up front, and they have some guys that can run fast to the ball on defense. They are a good football team, and we definitely are going to have to execute at all levels to beat Sisters. Right now, we are just focusing on us getting better."
Crook County 0 0 0 0 — 0
Sweet Home 0 13 8 0 — 21
Sweet Home — 6-yard run by Hayden McDonald, kick good, Austin Stevens
Sweet Home — 70-yard pass from Colton Smith to Keegan Holly. Kick failed.
Sweet Home — 3-yard run by Austin James, 2 point conversion, pass from Smith to Holly