Defense makes it a Bulldog night
Kimberly throttles Wood River 34-6
Things started badly and didnt get much better for
the Wood River High School varsity football team Friday during the Sawtooth Central Idaho
Conference championship game with the Kimberly Bulldogs.
Shortly after the introduction of 23 Bulldog seniors for "Senior
Night," pumped-up Kimberly pounced on a Wolverine fumble and turned the good break
into a touchdown three minutes into the game.
It was the first of four Wolverine turnovers.
Wood River senior Jake Nilsen suffered a season-ending ACL knee injury
on the ensuing kickoff and the Wolverine offense went four-and-out.
Given good field position, the Bulldogs opened up a huge hole on a
51-yard inside handoff and led 14-0 with the game not five minutes old.
Not one, but two clipping penalties wiped out Max Paisleys
93-yard TD kickoff return on the next play and Kimberlys defense stopped Wood River
in its tracks.
A shanked punt put the Wolverines in another hole. Fortunately a
24-yard Bulldog field goal attempt went wide.
All that, in the first six minutes. "You cant start a game
any worse," said Wood River coach John Blackman.
The final score was a Kimberly rout, 34-6, chiefly because the
hard-nosed Bulldog defense didnt allow a Wolverine first down until deep in the
Kimberlys offense kept the ball for 31 of 48 minutes and had a
15-4 edge in first downs.
Not being able to make it a close game was a big disappointment for
Wood River (5-3, 4-1 league), which saw its five-game winning streak come to an end and
settled for second place in the SCIC standings.
Blackman said, "We turned the ball over, something we havent
done all season. Playing a good, fired-up Kimberly defense, our turnovers got them that
much more fired up. We just got off on a bad foot.
"When Jake went down, that was huge. He was our starting guard,
and he really had some good hits on the first series on defense when we stopped Kimberly.
It left a big hole in not only our defense, but our offense as well."
Give plenty of credit to Kimberly, though. Coach Kirby Brights
Bulldogs (5-3, 5-0 league) allowed only four touchdowns in five SCIC games this fall while
averaging 33.6 points per game. They never surrendered more than six points each league
Wood River got its six points on a 75-yard quarterback draw by junior
Cory Goicoechea with two minutes left in the first. But that was the only time the
Wolverine offense crossed midfield in the first half.
"Kimberly had scouted us well. They knew our game plan," said
Its lead cut to 14-6, Kimberly answered Wood Rivers score with a
14-play, 65-yard TD drive that chewed up six minutes. Rushing seven times for 31 tough
yards on the drive was Bulldog junior Kaid Gambrel (26 rushes for 117 yards), who scored
Throughout the game, Wood Rivers defense put a lot of pressure on
Bulldog senior QB Billy Humphries (11-for-26 for 149 yards and 2 TDs).
But Humphries, hit often while passing, came up big by converting
numerous third-down and fourth-down chancesand completing 11 passes to eight
After top Wood River tackler Todd Christiansen (10 tackles) stopped
Kaid Gambrel for a short gain on a third-down draw play, Humphries went for it on
fourth-and-three and found end Matt Kopydlowski wide open down the middle for a 42-yard TD
That touchdown made it 28-6, Kimberly, at half-time.
Counting on its amazing third-quarter success (a 95-0 advantage over
foes in the previous five games), Wood River was encouraged when Max Paisley returned the
second half kickoff 52 yards to the Bulldog 38-yard-line.
Although Wood River finally enjoyed good field position at the Bulldog
33 and 36, the Wolverines couldnt convert a pair of fourth-down attempts.
To add insult to injury, Kimberly then stopped an ill-conceived Wood
River fourth-down run at the Wolverine 30 and Gambrel scored once again for the 34-6
"It was tougha hard game," said Blackman, adding that
Wood River was hampered by several injuries to key linemen. "We had a lot of young
kids who had to step up and playkids like Evan Peebles and Joey Martinez, who both
played very well.
"Weve come a long way and I told that to the kids afterward.
We did all the things I was hoping to do and accomplished a lot.
"I was hoping to win five games and have a winning season and get
into the playoffs. I was hoping wed improve our league standing by at least a spot.
"We tried to get our scoring average up, and we did that. We won
all our home games. And we had great fan supportI think we had more people at
Kimberly than Kimberly did."