The pass is back, but Buhl grinds it
Tribe rallies past Wood River 23-14
After a brief, mid-season flirtation with
its running game, Wood River High School’s varsity football team returned to a
full-bore passing attack Friday at Buhl.
Wood River coach Dale Martin said, "I
think it screwed Buhl up for the first half, but then they went to a Cover 2 in
the second half and did a better job covering us."
The change in tactics worked for a while,
but Buhl’s 284-yard running offense wore down Wood River in the second half and
the Tribe stayed unbeaten in Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference play 23-14.
Buhl (5-1, 3-0 SCIC) won its third
straight game and Wood River (1-5, 0-3) lost its third consecutive game. But
victory was there for the taking. "The kids played hard. We should have won,"
Trailing 3-0, Wood River reinstalled
senior Brandon Silvia as the quarterback from the no-huddle shotgun formation
and started flinging the ball at a surprised Buhl defense.
It worked in the first half. Silvia
completed 10 of 18 passes for 178 yards and two TDs, both coming on
quickly-thrown, beat-the-blitz Silvia lead passes down the middle of the field
that Matt Pruett ran under.
Speedy Pruett (11 catches for 146 yards)
caught a 20-yard Silvia aerial on fourth down for a 6-3 Wolverine lead with
three minutes left in the first, then Pruett bailed Wood River out of a deep jam
with a 95-yard TD reception on 3rd-and-20 at the 5.
Although Wood River had the ball for only
seven minutes of the 24-minute first half and boasted of negative yardage
rushing, the Wolverines carried a 14-10 lead into halftime—their first halftime
lead of 2003.
Buhl’s 11 penalties for 116 yards in the
first half helped Hailey’s cause. But the Wolverine lead didn’t last long.
With the full moon rising, Buhl dedicated
itself to the run on its first drive of the second half. Three runs by senior
back Josh Ussery (32 carries for 199 yards, 149 coming in the second half) led
to the go-ahead touchdown, Ussery cutting back for a 45-yard TD.
The Wolverines had their chances.
Trailing 17-14, Wood River had new life
when Matt Ward returned the kickoff 41 yards into Buhl territory. Silvia
(21-for-39, 288 yards) rolled right and decided to run, but a hard stick by
Buhl’s top tackler Chase Cantrell dislodged the ball. Mike Welch recovered for
the Tribe at midfield.
Wood River’s defense stopped Buhl
four-and-out for the third time in the game, and a partially deflected punt put
Hailey in business at the Tribe 42. But three penalties, two blocking in the
back, wiped out several good passing plays. The drive stalled.
Buhl’s second of three interceptions
halted another Wood River threat, and the only Tribe sack of the game stopped
another Wolverine threat after a fine 34-yard pass completion from Silvia to
With five minutes left Wood River had a
bad break when the officials blew an inadvertent whistle just as Dustin Selner
was prepared to return a Buhl punt deep into Tribe territory.
"That hurt us," Martin said.
Meanwhile, the determined Ussery kept
plugging away. He carried five times for 46 yards on Buhl’s game-clinching
55-yard TD drive with 1:41 left. Buhl made one more interception, and the game
WOLVERINE NOTES—Punter Tyler
Jackson, one of the best in the SCIC, had another good night averaging 38.5
yards on six punts….Matt Ward returned four kickoffs for 77 yards…Luis Ruiz
wasn’t seriously injured after being hit in the back late in the first
half….Silvia recorded his first two TD passes of the season….Wood River has been
outscored 201-49 this season including 134-22 in the first half, but the Hailey
squad got its first second-quarter TD of the season….Matt Pruett is the team’s
leading scorer (5 TDs, 32 points)….Opponents have 15 interceptions, Hailey
four….Matt Ward (7 catches for 93 yards) made several of excellent pass
receptions at Buhl.
On the season stat sheet: Offensive
plays—Opponents 468, WR 361. Time of possession—Opp. 168:22, WR
119:38. Rushing—Opp. 254 carries for 1,729 yards (288 per game). WR 125
carries for 304 yards (50.7 per game). Passing—Opp. 38-for-90 for 610
yards. WR 60-127 for 642 yards. Rushing 1st downs—Opp. 70, WR 21.
Buhl 23, WR 14
WRiver 6 8 0 0 14
Buhl 3 7 7 6 23
Wilson, 23-yard field goal; 6:56 1st (3-0 B).
Pruett, 20-yard pass from Brandon Silvia (kick failed); 3:00 1st (6-3 WR).
Ussery, 1-yard run (Keaton Wilson kick); 11:28 2nd (10-6 B).
95-yard pass from Silvia (Matt Ward, pass from Craig Werley); 4:10 2nd (14-10 WR).
45-yard run (Wilson kick); 10:47 3rd (17-14 B).
9-yard run (kick blocked); 1:41 4th (23-14 B).
Rushing—Matt Pruett 6, -16; Huston
Brashears 1, -1.
Passing—Brandon Silvia 21-39, 288
yards, 6 1sts, 2 TD, 3 interceptions; Craig Werley 1-1, 3 yards, 1 conv.; Huston
Receiving—Matt Pruett 11-146, 2 TD;
Matt Ward 7-93, 5 1sts, 1 conv.; Tyler Jackson 1-34, 1 1st; Ben Molyneux 2-15;
Huston Brashears 1-3.
Sacks (2)—Scott Sanders 1-8; Dustin
Kickoff returns—Matt Ward 4-77.
Tackles (82)—Tyson Reynoso 18, Matt
Jost 10, Scott Sanders 8, Brandon Silvia 8, Ben Parker 5, Craig Werley 5, Dustin
Selner 5, Luis Ruiz 5, Billy Kramer 4, Kellen Kinghorn 3, Matt Pruett 3, Matt
Ward 3, Huston Brashears 2, Tyler Jackson 1, Russell Adams 1, Ben Molyneux 1.
Rushing—Josh Ussery 32-199 (6.2), 4
1sts, 3 TD; James Osterkamp 9-36, 2 1sts; Will Baggs 3-20, 1 1st; Willie Elam
3-22, 2 1sts.
Passing—James Osterkamp 9-22, 129
yards, 3 1sts.
Receiving—Will Baggs 6-91, 2 1sts;
Willie Elam 3-38, 1 1st.
Fumble recoveries (1)—Mike Welch.
Interceptions (3)—Will Baggs 1 with
a 22-yard return; Mitch Bourner 1 with a 16-yard return; Jon Puente 1.
Sacks (2)—Willie Elam 1-8; Ryan
Hilliard and Cody Bridwell 1-13.
Kickoff returns—Willie Elam 1-34;
R.C. Sisson 1-12. Punt returns—Mitch Bourner 1-10.
Tackle leaders—Chase Cantrell 9, R.C.
Sisson 4, Willie Elam 3, Jon Puente 3.
Filer (4-2, 1-2 SCIC)
at WR (1-5, 0-3 SCIC)
Time—7:00 p.m. Friday, Oct. 17. Place—Phil Homer Field, Hailey.
Significance—Fourth week of Sawtooth Central Idaho Conference (SCIC)
league action—and "Senior Night," celebrating the hard work of senior football
players Brandon Silvia, Matt Ward, Max Kuross, Scott Bohrer, Jeff Emerick, Luis
Ruiz, Duey Miller, Russell Adams, Mark Neville, Scott Sanders, Tyler Brown, Brad
Dussell, Matt Pruett, Kellen Kinghorn, Jeremy Selcho and Justin Yates. WR coach
Dale Martin said, "It’s our Senior Night and the kids will be fired up."
Last week—Filer, using much the same shotgun passing offense as Wood
River employed at Buhl, snapped a two-game losing skid with a 13-6 home win over
Gooding. The Wildcats started their season with three wins over Glenns Ferry,
Valley and Payette for first-year coach Jaxon Schweikert, the former coach at
Firth and Pocatello. Schweikert took the place of former Filer head coach Brett
Wright, currently Wood River’s offensive coordinator. So Wright will have
special motivation against his former team Friday night.
Coach Dale Martin’s comments—"Both Filer and Wood River are equal. I
think Filer will try to throw the ball and exploit our secondary, but we’ll be
making adjustments. On offense we’ll put in a little more running, by moving
(Matt) Pruett back up next to Brandon (Silvia). Really we’re getting better
every game and I feel we can win our final two games."
Last year—Wood River’s ball-control offense (67 rushes for 381 yards) had
possession for 32 minutes of the 48-minute SCIC game and the visiting Wolverines
downed Filer 28-20. It snapped a three-game Wood River losing skid and provided
the Wolverines with their first league victory in nine games covering two fall
campaigns. The Hailey squad boasted three 100-yard rushers in Matt Pruett (120
yards, 3 TD), Joe Paisley (111 yards) and Dylan Welcome (108). Filer finished
3-5 for the 2002 season.
Two years ago—In the only Wood River game ever played at Chuck Turner
Field by Wood River Middle School, the Filer Wildcats beat the depleted Wood
River Wolverines 20-6. The home team was playing without 12 players including
eight starters who were suspended by Code of Conduct violations. Jeff Bolton
rushed 20 times for 107 yards and Christian Ayala added 76 yards overland plus a
touchdown for the Wolverines.
History—Wood River leads the 31-game series by as 20-9-2 margin and has
won 15 of the last 20 games against Filer. It hasn’t been an easy haul for Filer
since the Wildcats joined the SCIC in 1998. Prior to this season Filer was 10-30
overall and 5-20 in SCIC games over five seasons. The ‘Cats are seeking their
first winning season since joining the league—and only Wood River stands in the
Other SCIC games this week—Top-ranked Idaho 3A school Declo (6-0, 3-0
league), a lopsided 43-6 home winner over Kimberly last Friday, hosts Gooding
(2-4, 0-3 league). And Kimberly (4-2, 2-1) looks to nail down the SCIC runner-up
spot with a home victory over the Buhl Tribe (5-1, 3-0) on Friday.