Buffs win season opener
Missed extra point the difference in 21-20 win at Stayton
Run, White Buffalos, run.
The Madras High School football team rumbled for 284 yards on the ground in a season-opening 21-20 road win on Friday against Stayton.
Junior tailback Jered Pichette took the lion's share of the carries, packing the ball 34 times for 237 yards, while scoring all three of Madras' touchdowns.
Madras head coach Rick Wells said he was pleased with not just how well Madras ran the ball, but also by how well they played defense. The defense allowed just one touchdown, a 70-yard bomb from Kyle Schwarm to Ben Diehl, in the third period.
Stayton missed the extra point on that score, which ended up being the difference on the scoreboard.
"A lot of times, you aren't sure about what you are going to be able to do in the first game," Wells said. "It was pretty cool to see us run the ball effectively, and when you can run and play good defense, you have a chance in almost any game."
With Stayton driving in the fourth period in an attempt to take the lead, Madras defensive back Devon Wolfe stepped in front of a pass and picked it off. Wolfe returned it all the way back for what appeared to be a touchdown, but a penalty on Madras during the return wiped out the score.
While Madras had its own adventures in kick coverage – Stayton's Ryan Blythe returned a punt and a kick for touchdowns – it was still able to march down the field with its rushing attack with outstanding play from the offensive line.
"The line really stepped up for us," Wells said. "Stayton was big and physical, but our line made their adjustments, which was great for a unit that hasn't worked together very long."
Junior quarterback Chad Lindgren didn't have to throw the ball a lot, but was effective nonetheless. He completed half his pass attempts, 7 for 14, for 114 yards with an interception.
When Pichette needed a break, Wells said Clayton Smith did a nice job filling in at tailback. Smith had nice carries for 45 yards. For the game, Madras averaged 5.5 yards per carry.
Cody Shepherd led all receivers for Madras with five catches for 81 yards, and also had five tackles on defense.
Taylor Welsh led all tacklers with six, followed by Ethan Short and Shepherd with five. Short was the only White Buffalo to register a quarterback sack.
Next on the docket for the Buffs are the Class 5A Redmond Panthers, and Wells said while the Panthers are young like his team, they are not to be taken lightly.
"Coach (Nathan) Stanley runs a class program there, and they lost in week one, and they aren't used to that," Wells said. "They don't want to go 0-2, so they are going to be ready to play. We have to be, too."
Redmond dropped a 34-24 ballgame to Class 4A Sweet Home, in which Redmond's Derek Brown scored on a 40-yard punt return and a 66-yard run. Bunker Parrish also scored twice for the Panthers, cashing in runs of 3 and 40 yards.
Kickoff against Redmond is set for 7 p.m. Friday at Redmond High School.