Preston will host Star Valley in football on Friday, in hopes for a repeat victory.
“Regardless of what team Star Valley is, I think they have had us on their calendar for a long time,” said PHS Head Coach Eric Thorson. “We were the team that kind of set the stage for them last year, to put them into a little bit of a rut. This year they are going to be wanting to get that one back. I think they are looking forward to this coming game as much as we are. (It is a team) that has planned and prepared really well and they are going to come out and try to hit us hard. So, we are going to do our part to put our things together. We are a great team. We just have to get some things together, because when we go against Star Valley we have to score at every chance.”
Last Friday, Preston hosted the non-conference Shelley Russets for their first home game this season. Preston had hopes to right the ship against Shelley from last year's 33-19 loss, but fell short, adding another defeat of 6 to 15. Shelly has overtaken Preston the past 11 times they have played each other. The last victory Preston football had over Shelly was in 2008.
“Our defense came ready to play,” said Thorson. “We are where we need to be defensively. We are not where we need to be offensively. We made some great plays but we need to get some sustained drives and control the ball better. That will be our focus.”
Preston’s defensive front held Shelley’s offense from running up the score as they have in the past with the help of seniors, Corbin Winward, Rhett Larsen, and Trevor Gregory. The front three linemen can shut down their opponent, allowing the linebackers to do their jobs. Add in the speed from Emery Thorson, Preston is a team has the potential of success.
During the first quarter, Preston’s offense held together and moved the ball down the field. On one of the drives Chevy Nelson completed a 1st down pass on Brecker Knapp’s first attempt. Emery Thorson rushed 7 yards, followed by Charles Iverson. Thorson rushed another 18 yards. Nelson completed again but was 3 yards short of making the needed yards and the ball was turned over on downs.
In the second quarter Shelly completed to Ryker Clinger, who took the ball midfield and was brought down by Ashton Madsen, a Preston senior. Shelley ended their drive at the 4-yard line, where they dropped their snap twice. On the third attempt, the Russets dropped another snap but Preston was able to recover at the 1-yard line, preventing Shelley from scoring.
Back on offense, Preston took the ball back down the field, but turned it over on downs before being able to score. Shelley completed a 40-yard pass and scored on the next play.
Preston answered back with a touchdown pass to Tyler Lindhardt, to end the first half.
Back on the field, Preston moved the ball fairly well, but Shelly intercepted the ball when the receiver from Preston stopped running to make the catch. The game stayed at a one-point lead for Shelly throughout the rest of the third quarter.
The final quarter, Preston’s offense took over the ball on Shelly’s 10-yard line. Preston’s snap went over Brecker Knapp’s head and rolled back into the end zone. Knapp sacrificed himself and fell on the ball and gave up the safety for Shelley and made the score 6-9.
Trailing by three points with eight minutes left in the game, Preston had the opportunity to get back some points but Shelley pushed back hard, scoring with another touchdown, ending the game.
“Defensively we were sound, we were perfect but we always can get better with more work,” said Corbin Winward. “We have to work hard this week and play harder. We love the game and we need to play as hard as we love it.”
”We are a very talented team,” said Cord Eavenson. “With these players we have, there is no reason we shouldn’t be putting up more numbers on the score board. We, on offense, need to pick it up. We have got to start playing like we want it more and learn from our mistakes tonight. Our defense had some good plays. We are going to work harder this week at practice and the weight room and set our goal for this next game. We have got to look forward to a win and be ready for our game against Star Valley.”