MILTON-FREEWATER — Madras provides the perfect comparison for the development of the McLoughlin football program.
Last season, the Pioneers made the trek to Madras to face the White Buffalos in the season-opener, and came home with a 53-7 loss.
On Friday night at Shockman Field, Madras showed up and was able to take home only a 16-0 victory.
“Compared to what we did last year, stellar improvement,” Mac-Hi coach Gary Robertson said. “I just got done telling the guys, that’s an extraordinary football team over there (the White Buffalos). They’ve got a lot of bodies on the sideline, and every one of those kids played. So they were able to reload and get guys breathers, and that’s something we can’t do.”
That didn’t stop the Pioneers from showing some defensive strength as late as the fourth quarter, which opened with Madras with second and goal at the 1.
White Buffalos quarterback Robert Pacheco had thrown an incompletion on first down at the 1, following a 32-yard completion to receiver Donnie Bagley to set Madras up at the 1.
The Mac-Hi defense then proceeded to hold the White Buffalos out of the end zone on two straight runs, and on fourth down Pacheco’s throw into the end zone was incomplete to give the Pioneers the ball.
“My biggest concern coming into this game was conditioning, and we hung with them beautifully,” Robertson said.
And the Mac-Hi offense had some flashes of where it may be headed.
The Pioneers defense pounced on a Madras fumble three plays into the third quarter, and the offense took over at its own 37. It proceeded to put together an 11-play drive to the White Buffalo 32 before coughing it up themselves.
“That drive we put together in the third quarter gobbled up almost the entire quarter,” Robertson said.
Madras’ scores all came in the first half, as it managed a 36-yard field goal on its first possession, scored a touchdown with 8:24 left in the second on a 20-yard Pacheco-to-Dapri Miller strike, and a Pacheco 44-yard scamper with 3:21 left before halftime.
Quarterback Wyatt Gilmore finished 6-for-16 for 47 yards and no interceptions for Mac-Hi.
“Wyatt Gilmore played an extraordinary game at quarterback,” Robertson said.
Kiez White and Marcel Brinkley each ended up with 66 yards rushing for the Pioneers, Brinkley on 21 carries and White on 10.
“Kiez White ran out of his brain tonight,” Robertson said. “Marcel played a very, very good game.”
Receiver/linebacker Dylan Quist led the Pioneers with 29 yards receiving, as well as his defensive contributions.
“Dylan Quist demonstrated he’s going to be everything that we expected he’s going to be this year,” Robertson said. “Dylan’s looking phenomenal. Dylan’s a guy that should be on someone’s roster on Saturdays.”
And center/defensive tackle Shaq Badilla also earned accolades.
“Shaq is absolutely, flat-out going to blossom into a guy that’s going to be heard about a lot,” Robertson said. “He did some amazing things in the middle for us. He’s just got to work on his long snapping!”
A sore spot for the Pioneers was their kicking game, with four punts that had a long of 11 yards.
But the defense was Mac-Hi’s highlight, Robertson said.
“It was absolutely stellar,” he said. “When you consider the fatigue level that those guys had — I mean, we had guys that never came off the field. They’re not even coming off the field for special teams. I was thrilled with what they did at the goal line. That was awesome!”
The Pioneers are venturing into an independend schedule this season, and their coach, for one, is happy with the start.
“To a large degree, it exceeded expectations,” Robertson said. “All you can do is hope everyone goes out and performs with the effort they give. If you get that kind of effort, and you hold a team like that (Madras) to 16 points, you’re doing something right.”
Mac-Hi next heads to Tillamook on Friday.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the way they played,” Robertson said. “We’ve got some things we’ve got to fix, but when we executed we moved the ball really, really well.
“We’re nine guys, we’re 10 guys (playing),” he said. “We’ve got to get all 11 guys doing what we need to do.”
Madras 16, Mac-Hi 0
Mad — McDonald 36-yard field goal.
Mad — Miller 20 pass from Pacheco (kick missed).
Mad — Pacheco 44 run (McDonald kick).
RUSHING — Mad: Salazar 9-11, Pacheco 6-40, Stout 1-0, Binning 4-22, Zemke 2-0; Mac-Hi: Brinkley 21-66, White 10-66, Gilmore 8-(-6), Gonzales 1-0.
PASSING — Mad: Pacheco 6-13-1, 99 yards, 1 touchdown; Mac-Hi: Gilmore 6-16-0, 47 yards.
RECEIVING — Mad: Bagley 1-32, Stout 1-24, D. Miller 2-27, R. White 1-8, K. Miller 1-8; Mac-Hi: Quist 2-29, White 3-17, Brinley 1-2, Gonzales 1-1.