This story was updated at 1:57 p.m. Sept. 2 with more details on Crook County touchdowns, a corrected distance on a Kaden Muir touchdown and a more complete scoring summary.
Philomath High’s first play from scrimmage in Prineville Friday night thrilled Warrior fans who made the trip and stunned the home team.
Junior quarterback Caleb Russell connected with classmate Warwick Bushnell for a 96-yard touchdown to give the Warriors the quick lead over Crook County. But in the end, the Cowboys had the upper hand in a 22-13 season-opening win.
“Honestly, I think we just had no consistency,” Firth said. “That’s something I need to work on. We just could really never establish a run game.”
Crook County used a heavy blitz, Firth said, that kept the Warriors from getting much production out of the backfield.
“Offensive consistency is something we’ll have to work on going into next week — that’s on me,” he said.
After those offensive struggles in the second and third quarters, Philomath was able to punch through to the end zone for a second time early in the fourth. Senior Kaden Muir lined up at QB and ran it in from 1 yard out with about 9:30 remaining.
“Caleb and Warwick did really well and Kaden is just a warrior, he did well,” Firth said. “Kaden does whatever you ask.”
Senior Eddie Freauff scored all three touchdowns for the Cowboys on receptions of 13, 19 and 10 yards from sophomore Hayden Allen. Crook County missed on two of three extra points but did boot a 31-yard field goal to account for its 22 points.
“The defensive line did good … I mean, it was a little shaky at the beginning and then they kind of figured it out and shut it down,” Firth said. “It got a lot better in the second half.”
Philomath did turn the ball over three times in the contest on two fumbles and an interception.
Philomath and Crook County don’t have much of a history against each other with last year’s game representing their first-ever meeting.
The Warriors (0-1) will try to right the ship next week in their home opener against Newport. The Cubs opened the season Friday with a 36-0 loss at home against Siuslaw.
“We’ve got to have a consistent run game,” Firth said when asked to identify the greatest need for improvement to compete with the Cubs. “That’s what we’ve got to work on.”