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Madras, Crook County to meet

November 2, 2012
Crook County High School

When Madras and Crook County took the field against one another in Madras back on Sept. 21, the two teams combined for eight touchdowns, 912 yards of total offense, and three kickoff returns for scores as the Cowboys held on for a wild 60-52 nonleague victory.

Madras (4-5 overall) hosts Crook County (5-3 overall) again this Friday night in a Class 4A play-in football contest, and White Buffalo coach Rick Wells expects another close game with his local rivals.

But this one, he predicts, will be different.

“I don't think it'll be a shootout," says Wells, who is trying to get Madras into the state playoffs for the first time since 2005. “When you have two teams in the playoffs, they're there because they're pretty decent. They're getting better at playing football throughout the season. So no, I don't think it'll be a shootout again."

Having clinched a spot in the play-in round with a 28-7 victory over Estacada last week, the White Buffaloes appear to be playing their best defense of the season. Madras will need another high-level defensive effort in its rematch with the Cowboys, a team that is averaging 263.9 yards rushing per game.

“They have a lot of weapons, they run the ball very, very well, and they play good defense," Wells says about Crook County. “It's a good formula for winning football games."

Led by senior running back Marcus Greaves and his average of 8.71 yards per carry — he has 697 yards rushing on 80 attempts this season — the Cowboys have won games on the ground this year. In addition to Greaves, who scored six touchdowns against the Buffs in the regular-season matchup, Brandon Zemp (555 yards rushing), Joe Saenz (360 yards) and Dean Smith (320 yards) have all rushed for more than 300 yards for Crook County so far this season.

Madras, on the other hand, has found most of its success in 2012 through the air. Senior quarterback Steele Haugen is averaging 224 yards passing per game, completing 137 of his 231 attempts this year for 2,016 yards and 19 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. The White Buffaloes' most dangerous weapon has been senior receiver Devin Ceciliani, whom Wells lines up anywhere and everywhere. Ceciliani has scored 22 of Madras' 35 touchdowns this season — 14 receiving, six rushing, and two on kick returns.

“I think he's the best 4A football player in the state," Wells says about the 6-foot-2-inch, 185-pound Ceciliani, who torched Crook County for five touchdowns in the September meeting.

For both programs, a win this Friday would be historic. While the Buffs are trying to advance to the state postseason for the first time in seven years, the Cowboys have not been to the state playoffs since 1997, which is currently the longest such drought among high school football teams in Central Oregon.

“We talked to the team (on Tuesday) that this is going to be one of the more memorable games of their entire lives," Wells said about battling a local rival for a spot in the postseason. “The atmosphere at this game is going to be what people dream about their entire lives. It's a special deal for both teams."

— Reporter: 541-383-0305, beastes@bendbulletin.com.

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