The Crane Mustangs’ football season came to an end on Saturday, Nov. 26, at Hermiston High School. In the OSAA 1A State Championship game, the Dufur Rangers handed Crane their first loss of the season, 42-38.
The first score of the game went to Dufur when Bailey Keever connected with Travis Lucas for a 48-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, putting the score at 6-0.
Crane answered back when Cashe Davis caught a 22-yard pass from Miles Maupin, putting the Mustangs in scoring position. Maupin then ran in both the touchdown and extra point, giving Crane an 8-6 lead.
Dufur’s next possession ended when Jay Jay Balowski intercepted a pass from Keever.
Balowski’s interception returned the ball to Mustang hands, but after three first downs, a sack by the Rangers’ Russell Peters and TJ Kennedy ended Crane’s possession on fourth-and-22.
Keever upped the Rangers’ score with a minute and a half left in the first quarter by running in a 1-yard touchdown. Keever also scored the two-point conversion, putting the Rangers up 14-8.
The Mustangs and the Rangers traded possessions at the beginning of the second quarter. With two and a half minutes before halftime, Balowski ran in a 15-yard touchdown, and David Steeves scored the two-point conversion, putting Crane back on top, 16-14.
Dufur matched Crane’s touchdown as Keever connected with Asa Farrell for a 45-yard touchdown pass. The extra point rush failed, but Dufur went into halftime with a 20-16 advantage.
The Mustangs received the kickoff to begin the third quarter, and after a 55-yard run from Steeves, and a 15-yard run from Balowski, Maupin punched in the touchdown, and Crane had a 22-20 lead.
Crane ended Dufur’s next possession when Elijah Epling sacked Keever on third-and-22. The next down, Maupin and Steeves combined to bring down Hagen Pence on fourth-and-23, which returned the ball to Mustang hands.
The Mustangs made the turnover on downs count when Maupin passed to Steeves for a 43-yard touchdown. Maupin’s two-point conversion run was good, bringing the score to 30-20.
With four and a half minutes left in the third quarter, Dufur got back to within two points when Farrell rushed for a 63-yard touchdown. Keever passed to Curtis Crawford for the two-point conversion, making it 30-28.
Dufur began the fourth quarter with the ball, but lost it when Balowski intercepted a pass from Keever and returned it 31 yards. Runs from Maupin, Balowski, and Dunn put the Mustangs in scoring position, and Steeves ran for the touchdown and the two point conversion, pushing the score to 38-28.
On Dufur’s next possession, Farrell ran in a 45-yard touchdown. The extra point failed, and Crane led 38-34.
Dufur recovered an onside kick with just over four minutes left in the fourth quarter. Dufur used the running game to march down the field, and Keever punched in the touchdown and extra point, putting Dufur up 42-38.
Crane’s ensuing possession ended on fourth-and-19, and Dufur took a knee to run out the time.
It was the second year in a row that Dufur defeated Crane in the 1A state championship game.
The Mustangs’ Cashe Davis and Dufur’s Bailey Keever were named the Moda Health Players of the Game.
The Mustangs rushed for 199 yards. Steeves was the leading rusher with 97 yards on 12 attempts, Balowski had 76 on 15 carries, Maupin added 36 yards on the ground, and Dunn finished with 24.
Maupin passed for 247 yards on seven completions. Davis was the Mustangs’ leading receiver with 204 yards on six receptions, and Steeves caught one pass for 43 yards.