Buffs shut down potent Ranger runners

by: Billy Gates/The Pioneer - A herd of Madras White Buffalos tackle Estacada running back Brandon Beck during a Tri-Valley Conference football game Friday night in Madras. The Buffs kept the Rangers’ running game from breaking big plays to win, 28-7, and claim a home playoff game this Friday against rival Crook County.

For the second straight season, the Madras football team has made the postseason.
   The White Buffalos shut down a potent Estacada rushing attack and won, 28-7, in their homecoming game Friday night in Madras.
   Madras wide receiver Devin Ceciliani scored three of the four touchdowns, two receiving and one rushing, while senior tailback Joe Hisatake provided the backbreaker with a fourth-quarter rushing touchdown.
   The story, however, was the Buffs' ability to not allow the Rangers to break big running plays and make them one-dimensional.
   "We beat a good team soundly," Madras coach Rick Wells said. "We were able to contain them and not let them break anything big."
   In the second quarter, after the Rangers forced the Buffs to punt, Estacada went on a drive that lasted 9 minutes, 36 seconds - more than 75 percent of the quarter - but couldn't put the ball in the end zone.
   When it seemed like the Rangers could move the ball on the ground behind 6-foot-5, 311-pound left tackle Alex Keeth, penalties and crucial plays by the Madras defense made the drive stall and forced a punt.
   Estacada converted two fourth downs during the drive and looked like only the end zone would stop them, but the Buffs' defense rose to the occasion and made plays when they had to.
   It was a key moment in the game because it was Estacada's only real chance of scoring in the second quarter, and the Buffs took a 14-7 lead into the locker room.
   "Estacada has some great linemen and strong running backs that run hard," Wells said. "We had to re-identify ourselves during the week, and we were able to do that."
   Madras ran just 39 offensive plays (37 taking away the two kneels to run the clock out) since Estacada's ground-and-pound running attack held the ball so much, but the Buffs were as efficient as they could have been when they had the ball.
   Madras gained 239 yards on essentially 37 plays, something Wells was very impressed with.
   The Buffs harassed Estacada quarterback Bryan Rhone enough that the Rangers' passing game was not efficient, and essentially non-existent, allowing Madras to load up the box and slow down rough-running Brandon Beck and allow just the one touchdown in the first frame.
   Before Beck rumbled into the end zone, however, the Buffs already put points on the board.
   Senior quarterback Steele Haugen found Ceciliani down the right seam and threw a perfect pass for an in-stride catch-and-run that went for 63 yards not even two minutes into the game.
   The Buffs hit pay dirt in the quarter again, and of course, it was Ceciliani with the pigskin in the end zone. Ceciliani took a sweep handoff and blew past Estacada defenders for a 53-yard scoring run for his second touchdown of the ballgame.
   With the defense playing perhaps the best it has played all year, at least in the past three weeks, Hisatake drilled the nail in the coffin with a 6-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
   After missing much of the nonconference schedule with a knee injury, Hisatake said that made the win a little more special and he was grateful he was able to come back and play.
   "We're finally playing like we're supposed to," he said. "We executed our blocks well and played hard."
   With the win, the Buffs finished third in the Tri-Valley Conference with a 3-2 record and 4-5 overall, guaranteeing them a spot in the Class 4A play-in round, the first postseason games in the classification.
   They will take on rival Crook County, at home, since Gladstone finished high enough in the power ratings to earn a play-in round bye and Madras took their spot. Estacada also slipped into the playoffs, however, since their power rating was high enough and were chosen to fill out the playoff field. Game time is 7 p.m. Friday
   If Madras had lost the game, it was likely they would have fallen further in the state power ratings and would have been left out of the playoff picture.
   Madras finished 20th in the power ratings, while Estacada finished 22nd.
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