Crook County runs record to 4-1 with 54-21 victory over Madison

by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Joe Saenz reaches the ball out in an attempt to score. Saenz was pushed out of bounds inside the one yard line by Madison’s Austin Powers. However, Saenz scored on a quarterback sneak the following play as Crook County whipped Madison 54-21.

The Cowboy machine rolled into high gear on Friday night in Portland.
   The Crook County football team rolled out to a 34-0 lead before cruising to an easy 54-21 victory over the Madison Senators.
   “We pushed the tempo pretty well,” said Cowboy head football coach Ryan Cochran. “We had a couple of series where we shot ourselves in the foot with penalties and mistakes, but other than that, we played well. The energy level was real good and that’s been our goal.”
   The Cowboys rushed for 414 yards in the contest and added another 44 passing yards. Meanwhile the Cowboy defense held the Senators to 336 total yards, with most in the fourth quarter when the game was already decided.
   Brandon Zemp rushed for 155 yards and four touchdowns for the Cowboys, while Marcus Greaves added 144 yards and a touchdown.
   Joe Saenz did a solid job of directing the Cowboy offense. Saenz finished with 79 rushing yards and two touchdowns. In addition, he was 4-9 passing, including a 33-yard touchdown strike to Preston Washechek.
   “We have really been working a lot lately on moving the ball quickly and keeping the defense on their heels,” Saenz said following the game. “We came out and played like we wanted to play.”
   The Cowboys ran 69 offensive plays and gained 26 first downs despite giving eight penalties and a pair of turnovers.
   Defensively, Crook County was nearly as strong. Although Madison gained 336 yards, 202 of those yards came after Crook County already had a 34-0 lead.
   “When we stuck to our game plan and played disciplined football, it worked really well,” Cochran said about his defense. “For the most part, they did that.”
   Gunnar Crawford led the Cowboy defensive efforts getting involved in 19 tackles in the contest. Michael Egbert and Stephen Morgenstern also had solid defensive games. Morgenstern was in on 11 tackles while Egbert was involved in nine tackles and had a key interception late in the third quarter.
   The 6-05 255 pounder nearly returned the ball all the way to the end zone. However, he was caught from behind at the 20-yard line.
   “It felt amazing,” Egbert said. “I give all the credit to Greaves for going through the line and tipping it though.”
   “Big Mike was stumbling and rumbling,” Cochran added. “That was pretty awesome.”
   Neither team was able to score for much of the first quarter and it looked like the game was going to turn into a defensive battle. Then, late in the quarter, Madison gambled on fourth and nine from the Cowboy 41 yard line. The pass from Schuller Rettig to Charles Riga was incomplete and the Cowboys took over on downs. Four plays later Saenz hit Washacheck and the Cowboy led 7-0.
   The second quarter was all Crook County as Saenz scored on a one-yard quarterback sneak and Zemp scampered 13 yards for a touchdown.
   Madison had a scoring opportunity late in the period. However, Greaves intercepted a Rettig pass in the end zone ending the drive.
   Leading 21-0 starting the third quarter, it didn’t take the Cowboys long to strike again. After stopping Madison on their opening possession of the period, the Cowboys marched 54 yards in three plays with Zemp going 50 yards for the touchdown.
   On the ensuing possession, Madison’s Jr. Sengphet appeared to break free for a long run. However, the officials ruled that Sengphet’s knee touched the ground nullifying the play. After a lengthy discussion the Madison coaching staff elected to go for broke on fourth and eight on their own 10 yard line.
   The gamble failed and Crook County took over on downs on the 14 yard line. Two plays later, Greaves carried the ball over the goal line and the Cowboys led 34-0.
   Madison’s Austin Powers returned the ensuing kick off to the Crook County 47 yard line. Then, on the first play from scrimmage, the Senators finally got on the board as Sengphet blasted up the middle for a 47-yard touchdown.
   The Cowboys responded with a clock-eating drive that ended with a Zemp touchdown run, making the score 41-7 at the end of the third quarter.
   The two teams each scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter as the Cowboys coasted to the easy win.
   “I’m very proud of you,”?Cochran told his team following the game. “But the reality is that’s not the best you can play. You’re a great football team, you just have to believe it.”
   With the victory, the Cowboys are 4-1 to start the season while the Senators fall to 3-2. The 4-1 start is the best start by Crook County since 1992.
   The Cowboys are at home on Friday when the host the 5-0 Redmond Panthers in a 7 p.m. contest.
   Redmond was impressive in their last game when they blew past Summit 50-0.
   “They will pass, but they are a run oriented team,” Cochran said. “We are excited to be at home in that big old rivalry with two pretty good football teams.”
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