Cougars spoil Crook County homecoming with 25-22 win
- David Richards
- Central Oregonian - Sports
>Game comes down to final play FridayAt Ward Rhoden Stadium Friday, the Cowboys took a 15-12 lead into the locker room at halftime, but with 4.4 seconds left in the game and CCHS down by three, Mtn. View sophomore Sean Wilcox brought down an interception to halt a late Cowboy comeback drive.
The Cougars came away from Prineville with the 25-22 Intermountain Conference victory.
Senior 6-foot, 200-pound running back Cam Davenport registered 137 yards rushing and two touchdowns for Mtn. View (1-2 IMC, 2-4 overall).
Crook County (0-2 IMC, 3-2 overall) was led by 25 carries and 89 yards and two scores from senior tailback Jamie Swindle, who returned to the field Friday after a week off because of illness. CCHS sophomore fullback Matt Bliss added 12 carries for 74 yards.
"I thought it was two evenly matched teams. I thought it was a great football game," said CCHS head coach Steve Turner. "What it came down to were specialty teams and big plays."
On Crook County's first possession, the Cowboys running game began just as hot as the homecoming bonfire blazing at the north end of the stadium.
Swindle and Bliss took turns racking up yards on the field. The Crook County running spectacle ended with Swindle finding the end zone from six yards out with 9:05 left in the first quarter. Senior Jason Wilkinson booted the extra point to put his team up 7-0. Wilkinson remains perfect this year in extra point attempts.
On the following kickoff, the Cowboys caught the Cougars off guard by executing a successful onside kick. Crook County regained possession and had the opportunity to go up by a pair of touchdowns.
"We had planned to do that," Turner said. "That was huge for us, but we didn't take advantage of it. If we could have taken advantage of our special team play, we could have really put them in a real deep whole, but we didn't do it."
After the Cowboys were unable to score on their second possession, Mtn. View responded with 4:07 left in the first on a 4-yard run by Davenport into the end zone. The kick failed and the Cowboys still led by one.
The Cougars took the lead 12-7 and threatened to score again late in the second. Mtn. View found the end zone, but the score was called back on a holding play.
Moments later, the momentum turned to the Cowboys' favor when senior Aron Brundidge picked off a pass at midfield from senior Cougar quarterback Curt Plants, setting up a Mike Tracy 25-yard touchdown pass from CCHS sophomore quarterback Chad Swindle.
On the next play, senior tight end Evan Hendrix turned outside and stormed into the end zone for the two-point conversion. The Cowboys were up 15-12 at the end of the second quarter.
"That gave us the lead back," Turner said. "We thought that we were in a good position to be up three at the half. We didn't play all that well defensively and to be up, I thought was pretty good for us."
At the start of the third quarter, Mtn.View regained the lead off of a 94-yard kickoff return by junior Kyle Rhenstrom. The extra point made it 19-15.
"I thought we played pretty well in the first half, but we only had 12 points," said Cougar head coach John Nehl. "We missed extra points that we hadn't missed all year then we turn around and give them the ball. I thought the momentum was on their side, it's homecoming, but we come out in the second half and run back the kickoff and now the pressure's back on them."
Mtn.View tacked on six points in the fourth, but the Cowboys brought themselves within three on a 4-yard run by Jamie Swindle with 3:38 left in the contest.
With 2:25 left in the final quarter Crook County's Jim McPhetridge intercepted Plants' pass at midfield, giving CCHS first and 10 at the Cougar 47.
Despite several offensive efforts in the last few minutes by CCHS, the Cowboys were unable to get past the three point deficit.
"We were there at the end," Turner said. "With three minutes to go, we had the ball 47 yards away and we had a lot of momentum. I thought that we were in a really good position to win. I really believe though, that the real turning point in the game was the first play of the second half. I thought that was a tremendous swing in the game right there and as it turns out -- it was the difference."
Chad Swindle ended the night completing eight of 25 passes for 91 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Plants turned in an 11 for 26 effort for 248 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
"They have a pretty good football team," Nehl said of the Crook County. "I'm sure they'll bounce back and hopefully get Bend and Redmond and finish on a strong note."
The Cowboys stay at home Friday for a 7 p.m. IMC matchup against Hermiston.