Mark Morical
The Bulletin

PRINEVILLE — Five trips to the red zone yielded no points for Ridgeview, and that spelled doom for the Ravens on Friday night.

Behind a stiff defense and a balanced offense, Class 4A Crook County rolled over area rival 5A Ridgeview for a 39-15 nonleague home football victory in front of a rowdy crowd on opening night.

Kyle Knudtson rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown and quarterback Brody Connell passed for 181 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Cowboys.

“We had 400 yards of offense, we just couldn’t score,” said Ridgeview coach Patrick Pileggi. “We had five trips to the red zone and came away with zero points. That’s absolutely ridiculous. We stopped ourselves. It was inexperience and a little bit of nerves. You just can’t win football games that way.”

Josh Biever rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown to lead Ridgeview, and quarterback Bryce Demars was 14-of-30 passing for 150 yards.

Crook County led 18-7 at halftime and broke the game open in the third quarter.

Knudtson ran for a 50-yard touchdown, making a nice cutback to the middle of the field to scamper into the end zone.

Connell found Kaden Horton on a pass for the two-point conversion and the Cowboys had a comfortable 26-7 lead with 3:34 left in the third quarter.

On the ensuing possession, Crook County sacked Demars to force a turnover on downs.

“The defense stiffened up when they got inside that 20,” said Crook County coach Ryan Cochran. “They got in there quite a few times and came away with not many points. It’s just execution and that everyday grind of hard work. We still have a lot of work to do and we’re excited to put that hard hat on and get to work.”

Just a few plays after the sack, Connell found a wide-open Knudtson for a 21-yard touchdown pass and a 32-7 lead early in the fourth quarter.

“We really stayed into it as a team,” Knudtson said. “We had some ups and downs and we kept each other up and that was the real key to the game. We trusted our bubbas (linemen) up front. We showed them some love after good plays. When their energy goes up, we can run the ball efficiently.”

Cochran agreed that the offensive line had a big game for Crook County.

“Our linemen really created holes,” he said. “Kyle had a great night. He’s an awesome football player and he works hard.”

Crook County struck first on an 8-yard touchdown run up the middle by Clayton Berman to cap a 10-play, 82-yard drive with 6:01 left in the first quarter.

Crook County took a 12-0 lead with 6:17 left in the second quarter when Connell deftly avoided a sack, then found Garett Bernard in the corner of the end zone for a 15-yard touchdown.

The packed home crowd went wild, but the celebration was short-lived.

Ridgeview’s Josh Biever took the ensuing kickoff 95 yards down the right sideline, making one final cutback before finding paydirt and making the score 12-7.

Connell marched the Cowboys right back down the field, completing four passes for 67 yards on a 10-play, 79-yard scoring drive, capped by a 23-yard touchdown pass to Marshal Raymond. Connell rolled right, then back to his left, and launched the ball to a wide-open Raymond in the end zone with 2:27 left in the first half.

Connell threw for 147 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, completing 9 of 15 passes.

Knudtson rushed for 80 yards on six carries in the first half.

“We’re young in a lot of areas,” Pileggi said of his ­Ridgeview team. “We just have to do a better job of finishing.

You can’t win a lot of football games if you can’t run the ball.”

Next Friday, Crook County plays at Cottage Grove and Ridgeview is at South Eugene.

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