Madras drops 48-25 road decision to Estacada in final game

The Madras High School football team ended a long and hard 2013 campaign with a 48-25 loss to Estacada on Friday in Estacada.

The loss dropped the White Buffalos to 0-5 in Tri-Valley Conference play, and 2-7 overall.

Madras coach Rick Wells said his team fell behind early, much like the team did in its previous game against Gladstone, and just couldn’t recover.

“We had some execution problems, and Estacada ran the ball well and got up on us early,” Wells said. “But our kids did a fantastic job in the second half and we played pretty much even with them.”

Madras trailed 21-7 going into halftime, and 28-7 at the end of the third period.

Wells said on top of Estacada’s potent rushing attack, the Buffs were shorthanded with the absence of Cody Shepherd, who was out with an injury.

Voshaun Bryant stepped in on offense for Shepherd, and Wells said Bryant did a nice job to help fill in.

“Voshaun came in and played hard,” Wells said. “He did great.”

The Buffs were hampered by injuries all season, especially in the middle of the year, and while Wells doens’t like using that as an excuse for not winning, he said it’s a reality and it hurt the depth of the team quite a bit.

“We just weren’t able to build any momentum throughout the year like a good team should,” Wells said. “I’m not saying our record would have been vastly different, but a lot of those games would have been tighter.”

It’s tough to win football games when a team can’t put its best 11 guys on the field at any given time, and while the Buffs were constantly facing the adversity caused by injuries, Wells cheered his team for taking it all in stride and having an upbeat attitude.

“Our entire team stuck with it and didn’t quit,” Wells said. “We had a tremendous amount of growth this year, and I think the guys see this year as a lesson. They were really positive all year and played hard.”

Early in the season, Madras was able to pick up wins against Stayton and Sisters because the Buffs were able to put their best guys on both sides of the ball.

“We beat teams that struggled, much like us, because we were healthy,” Wells said. “I thought Estacada was a team we could beat, but we just aren’t there yet. We’re close, though.”

While the Buffs went winless in TVC play this season, Wells is excited about what he has coming back for next year’s team.

He did express his disappointment for this year, however.

“I don’t like losing, and it’s disappointing, but we’ve got a great sophomore and junior class that got good game experience, and not mop up time,” Wells said. “Our future is going to hinge on how much work in the offseason the guys are willing to do, and I think we can be pretty good.”

For football players not participating in winter sports, there won’t be much of a break from physical conditioning. Wells said he’s going to get people to hit the weight room and staying active as early as next week.

“We need people doing body movement exercises, staying flexible and getting stronger,” Wells said. “I support all the guys doing wrestling and basketball, so the guys who aren’t doing those sports need to be in putting in the effort.”

With a new stadium in the works – set to be completed by next fall for football season – and new uniforms on the way, Wells said next season can be a bit of a fresh start for the program.

“We’ve got to work on the little things that make a team great,” Wells said. “We have to realize that those things matter, and I’m hoping that happens during the offseason. We need to get the kids some significant fitness training, and I want to attack that now.”

The Tri-Valley Conference all-star team voting will take place on Sunday, Wells said, and he expects around six of seven of his players to earn some type of league honor.

In the future, Wells hopes there will be more players than that on the all-star list, but that will mostly hinge on how much work the players put in between now and the end of 2014.

“Our guys are optimistic about next year, and I think we can be a pretty darn good football team,” Wells said, “but it’s going to depend on the offseason. If the kids want to build upon the successes they had this year, then I think we’ll be fine.”

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