Lions wrangled by Cowboys

The Lions dropped the game 32-7 in their first game in front of a home crowd in two years.

The game started out with challenges for both teams.

On the Cowboy’s second play from scrimmage, the center hiked it too early and in return, the ball ricocheted off the quarterback’s helmet and into the hands of a Lion defender.

The Lions couldn’t do anything with the short field, in fact going backward 18 yards, and were forced to punt. However, the snap went about five feet above the punter’s head and into Crook County’s favor.

The Cowboys drove the ball impressively inside CG’s 10-yard line, but a fumble on 4th down would give the ball right back to the Lions.

Just six minutes into the game, there were already three turnovers.

With a few minutes left in the first, Trent West, the Cowboy’s punter, booted the ball 59-yards to pin CG at their own one-yard line.

The Lions would get some breathing room and get a first down – their first of the game with 1:52 left in the quarter.

On the next play, however, Cowboy linebacker Jason Slawter intercepted a screen pass to the left and returned it back 11 yards to give Crook County a 6-0 lead. They’d miss the extra point.

On the ensuing kickoff, CG fumbled the return to give the Cowboys another short field, this time at the 11-yard line. They’d capitalize on the next play with a rushing touchdown right up the middle with multiple Lion defenders missing tackles. The Cowboys now led 12-0 with another missed PAT.

The Lions had no offensive rhythm in the second quarter. Their two drives in the 12-minute span went for -6 and 6 yards respectively.

While CG couldn’t build anything on offense, the Cowboys established their identity with the run game. They grabbed a 19-0 advantage midway through the second on a 1-yard quarterback sneak. Crook County drove up the field entirely on runs as it was apparent that their offensive line was mightier.

With just four minutes left in the half, an impressive punt return by West gifted the Cowboys the ball at the Lion 25-yard line. West was all over the place on Friday as a punter, kick-returner, and running back.

An impressive 4th and 6 stop by the Lions kept the score to just 19-0 going into halftime. At that point, however, short fields were becoming constant for the Cowboys.

CG got the ball to start the third, but their first three plays yielded just seven yards. Sensing that this could be one of their last opportunities to remain in the game, head coach Joe Polamalu opted to go for it on fourth down. The Lions would convert on an inside hand-off, but the drive would end just minutes later.

The Cowboys meanwhile padded their lead with another quarterback sneak up the middle by Jacob McKinnon to grow the lead to 25-0. They’d converted on multiple big downs on the drive including a 3rd and 14.

At that point, the Lions’ offense had just two completions and two first downs. Crooked numbers like 3rd and 29 and 4th and 28 were becoming constant. With no consistent passing game, the Cowboy defense was able to sniff out the CG game plan soundly.

With the impending blowout, the Cowboys began to milk the clock. Their drive to begin the fourth resulted in no points, but lasted nearly half the quarter.

CG took over on their own four-yard line. The first play was an inside handoff that was dropped by the Lion tailback and returned by a Cowboy defender briskly to the end zone, 32-0.

Lions quarterback Brayden Crump began the next drive with a nice 40-yard quarterback sneak, breaking multiple tackles and juking out multiple defenders in the process. He’d then fumble on the next play. It was just that kind of day for the Lions.

The Lions would muster a late touchdown with just a few minutes remaining on the clock, but still lost 32-7.

The Lions (0-2) will be back in action on Friday, Sept. 17, as they host North Valley high school kick-off is set for 7 p.m.