The Pirates graduated a lot of very good skill position players from last year’s 10-1 team, but returned several starters on the offensive and defensive lines.
That experience in the trenches paid off for West Side’s football team in a big way on Friday night in Arimo, Idaho. The Pirates completely dominated the line of scrimmage en route to a gratifying 40-8 drubbing of 3A Marsh Valley — West Side’s fifth victory in as many years against the Eagles.
West Side (2-1) racked up 255 yards on 46 rushing attempts and limited the Eagles (2-1) to a paltry 74 yards on 37 carries. It was an impressive effort against a Marsh Valley squad that blew out Malad (55-6) and Filer (34-6) in its first two games of the season.
“It was a great win,” WS head coach Tyson Moser said. “I’m really proud of the kids. I mean, it didn’t look good there in the second quarter. We were down 8-6 and we were not moving the ball and playing very well, but the kids really responded by coming back and scoring 20 points in that second quarter, and then coming back and taking the opening kickoff, marching down the field and scoring to start the second half.”
Cage Brokens had a big night on the ground for the Pirates as he racked up 96 yards and found paydirt on runs of 3, 3 and 27 yards. Jaxon Moser chipped in with 75 yards on 12 carries. West Side finished with five touchdowns runs as quarterback Ryan Beckstead (2 yards) and Parker Henderson (7 yards) also dented the scoreboard.
Beckstead only attempted seven passes, but he completed five of them for 98 yards to keep Marsh Valley’s defense honest. The senior hooked up with Blaize Brown on a 13-yard scoring strike in the second quarter and also found Bryler Shurtliff on a 2-point conversion pass.
It was a night to remember for West Side offensive linemen Isaac Frankman, Hunter Abbott, Zach Groll, Armando Montano and Ethan Mott.
“There were times where we didn’t move the ball very well, but for the most part we were able to keep the chains moving all game long, and again it’s that senior (laden) offensive line that’s paving the way for us,” coach Moser said. “You know, our running backs did a great job, but that offensive line did a really good job for us.”
The Pirates limited the Eagles to 92 total yards and forced four turnovers. Beckstead and Taze Stegelmeier each had an interception for West Side, while Wes Millburn had a monster game as he recorded 10 tackles, including 2.0 sacks, forced a fumble and recovered another one.
INDIANS 26, RIVERHAWKS 7
It was a rough night offensively for Preston, which turned the ball over a whopping seven times. Fortunately for the Indians, they played lights out defensively. Preston shut out Canyon Ridge in the second half en route to securing a district win on the road.
“It’s good to see the resiliency and the attitude of the players was good,” Preston head coach Eric Thorson said. “The players don’t get on each other. They just keep doing their jobs and they keep trying their best. They’re just resilient kids, so it was just a great sideline to be on tonight.”
Preston (2-1, 2-0) scored all of its points in the second half — the first 13 courtesy of Scott Dunn, who also kicks extra points for his team. The speedy senior returned a punt 95 yards to the house, and later in the third quarter turned a shot pass from signal caller Ty Hyde into an 83-yard TD.
“We were trying to get the ball to him all night, but our execution just wasn’t (good enough),” said Thorson of Dunn, who also picked off a Canyon Ridge pass in the end zone. “If it wasn’t a bad snap, it was a bad throw, something going wrong, and we just struggled to get him the ball. But we love to get the ball in his hands.”
The Indians also found paydirt twice in the fourth quarter. Isaiah Smith snared an 8-yard TD pass from Hyde, and Conner Shaffer provided the exclamation point with a 75-yard pick-six.
Thorson was very pleased with the defensive performances of Shaffer, Hudson Nelson, Parker Gilbert, Brock Schenk, Tait Rawlings, Cole Harris and Hyde.
“Canyon Ridge is a power run team, and we just shut their offense down,” Thorson said.
Thorson also singled out running back Andrew Iverson, who nearly amassed 100 yards on the ground.
Canyon Ridge has only scored 19 points in three games this season.
BEARS 20, RIVERHAWKS 13
A rough final 71 seconds of the first half proved costly for Ridgeline in its Region 11 opener. Bear River scored 14 points in that timespan en route to overcoming a 14-0 deficit and, ultimately, putting a damper on Ridgeline’s Homecoming.
Bear River (2-3, 1-0) finished with a pair of defensive touchdowns, including a 79-yard pick-six by Ren Fonnesbeck early in the fourth quarter that gave the visitors a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Darien Johnson recovered a fumble in the end zone for the Bears with 42 seconds remaining in the first half. Bear River had pared its deficit to 14-7 less than 30 seconds before Johnson’s TD on a 3-yard run by Chance Udy.
The Riverhawks (2-3, 0-1) had a defensive touchdown of their own as Brandon Cook scooped up a Bear fumble and sprinted 45 yards to paydirt midway through the second quarter. Ridgeline struck again less than four minutes later on a 3-yard TD run by quarterback Kaden.
Ridgeline marched into Bear River territory three times in the fourth quarter, but was unable to score any points. In addition to Fonnesbeck, Garrison Marble also had a big INT in the final quarter for the Bears.
Standout tailback Jovesa Damuni was a workhorse for the Riverhawks as he rushed for 152 yards on 27 carries. Damuni also finished with 58 yards receiving. The junior burned Bear River in a long scoring scamper on Ridgeline’s first play from scrimmage, but it was negated by a penalty.
Gavyn Leishman had a big interception at the end of the first half for the Riverhawks, who got another strong defensive performance from Rhett Gebert.