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Alive and kicking

MHS boys soccer team still in playoff hunt
Revenge is a sweet thing - just ask the Madras boys soccer team.
   After a tough 3-0 loss to Gladstone earlier in the season, the White Buffalos laid a thrashing on the Gladiators, 4-0, Tuesday in Madras to keep their postseason hopes alive.
   "We're finally playing how I expected we would play at the beginning on the year," Madras head coach Clark Jones said. "I think the guys were a little embarrassed about losing to them. We were able to finish shots and get all of our injured guys back."
   Injuries have been the biggest bugaboo to Clark's club this season, forcing him to mix and match personnel the best he can, but he's been getting quite a bit of cooperation from his guys.
   "We have some guys that volunteered to play defense, some of our best players," he said. "So we've been playing defense-heavy most of the time, which has allowed other people to attack."
   After Maylo Urieta broke the ice late in the first half with an unassisted goal, the Buffs blew the match open in the second half with three goals for an emphatic victory.
   David Madrigal collected a rebound and stuffed it in the net, then Oved Felix cashed in a Jhaylen Yeahquo pass to make the score 3-0.
   Gustavo Alonso capped the day with a goal, assisted by Urieta.
   "Things just clicked in the second half," Clark said. "They moved the ball around and it made a huge difference."
   Clark also said his team was patient enough in the first half, and calm enough, to not deviate from the game plan after being up just one goal. The team stuck with it, and the attack opened up in the second half.
   "We've got kids that are paying attention to what's going on and making adjustments on their own," he said. "We've got a lot of momentum going into North Marion, and I think we can win there."
   The Buffs took on the Huskies on Tuesday in Aurora, but the results weren't available by the Pioneer's press deadline.
   Jones said the past couple wins have built confidence within the team and making the playoffs is still the team's goal, but the team has to take care of its business in Aurora, then win Thursday's match at home under the lights against La Salle Prep.
   "The kids think they can play with anybody, and they can," Clark said. It's just been bad luck this year with injuries and stuff we can't control."
   Clark said while Aurora is a tough place to play and "they can't count on winning there," he thinks if they are able to go in and play their game, they can avenge a 5-4 loss to the Huskies suffered earlier in the season.
   The team continues to suit up a bare-bones lineup, which seems to be working for them at this point of the season. The Buffs have had 13 players in uniform for the better part of the league season, which makes just two substitutes.
   Thursday's match against La Salle starts at 6 p.m. and will be on the MHS football field, rather than the soccer complex across Buff Street.