Wednesday, September 7, 2005

Knights wake up in second half, whip Wood River 34-13

Defense has a tough time against Hillcrest's run


By JEFF CORDES
Express Staff Writer

Carl Browning brings down another Hillcrest ball carrier during Friday night's game at Homer Field. Browning finished with 19 tackles. Photo by Willy Cook

The Hillcrest Knights got better as the night dragged on Friday in Hailey, and that wasn't good news for the revitalized Wood River High School football program.

Hillcrest's dormant running attack came to life in the second half and the Knights (1-0) turned a 13-0 half-time deficit into a 34-13 non-conference win over Wood River (1-1). Hillcrest rushed for 177 of its 221 yards after intermission and intercepted two passes for touchdowns.

The Wood River defense, which held Hillcrest to 44 yards on the ground in the first half and extended its scoreless string to six straight quarters of shutout football, pretty much collapsed in the second half.

A pair of personal fouls whistled on Wood River gave Hillcrest the opening it was looking for early in the third quarter. The Knights plowed downfield on a nine-play, 76-yard TD drive and the rout was on.

Hillcrest pieced together two long scoring drives during a third quarter in which the Knights were dominant—keeping the ball for over nine minutes, out-rushing Wood River 103 to --3 and amassing eight first downs to none for the home team.

Its once-comfortable 13-0 lead turned into a 13-13 tie, Wood River lost its composure on offense as well. Four seconds after Hillcrest' game-tying TD, Wood River quarterback Tyler Jackson went to the air and didn't see Hillcrest's Taylor Ricks. Ricks dashed 24 yards with the interception and the score became 20-13.

Still in the game as the fourth quarter opened, Wood River mustered one final threat that re-energized a large crowd that had been quieted by Hillcrest's comeback.

A 15-yard pass from Jackson to Carl Browning moved the ball out to the 26-yard-line, then Scott Bartlett (19 carries for 97 yards) followed Browning's lead block around right end for another first down. But two Jackson passes fell incomplete, then punter Jackson (6 punts, 185 yards) made a miracle catch of a high punt snap and ended up shanking a punt.

Hillcrest took over at the Wolverine 45-yard-line but the Knights hurt themselves with a pair of five-yard penalties. It appeared that the Wood River defense had stopped Hillcrest, on third-and-20. But Hillcrest senior scatback Andrew Smith (84 of his game-high 99 yards after half) picked his way around right end for a 55-yard TD run making it 27-13.

The only bright spot of the Wood River defensive effort in the second half was the continued strong play of senior linebacker Carl Browning (19 tackles). He was usually the player making the stop. Jeff Conover added 9 tackles, Alex Burwell 8 and Danny Ward 8 for the Hailey defense.

On offense, Jeff Conover's fly pattern resulted in a 57-yard touchdown pass from Jackson with less than five minutes gone in the first quarter. It was a great throw, and a great catch, and the Hailey cheerleaders started doing pushups like crazy. Conover caught four aerials for 99 yards in Friday night's game.

When defensive back Ward stepped in front of an under-thrown pass by Knights' QB Bryce Olsen and returned it 22 yards for a Wolverine touchdown late in the second quarter, Wood River surged ahead 13-0 and seemed like an improbable winner for a second straight week.

But, as Wood River coach Mike Glenn has said, a football game has "got to be the sum of 48 minutes," and the Wolverines came up a little short of that on Friday night.

The job doesn't get any easier Friday, Sept. 9 when Wood River tackles perhaps its toughest assignment of the season—a Great Basin Conference West road game against the Minico Spartans at Rupert.

Last year's Great Basin West runner-up Minico beat Wood River 34-12 in Hailey in 2004 en route to a 3-6 campaign that ended with four straight losses—two to eventual State 4A runner-up Pocatello.

This year is different and the Spartans seem to be on a mission after last year's injury-plagued campaign. Minico (2-0) has started with a 36-15 road win at Mountain Home and last Friday's 35-12 home win over always-tough Preston.

Coach Tim Perrigot's Spartans boast a talented sophomore quarterback in Dane Broadhead (close to 400 yards passing in two games) and a strong-running senior tailback in Dale Sayles (7 TDs in two games). All-Conference lineman Brad Clark leads the offensive line that gives Broadhead plenty of protection.

It adds up to a real challenge for Wood River's still-improving defense, which has yet to apply enough pressure on the quarterback to record a sack in two games.

WRHS Line Score

Hillcrest 34, Wood River 13

HILLCREST. 0 0 20 14 34
wood river 7 6 0 0 13

SCORING

1st half

WR—Jeff Conover, 57-yard pass from Tyler Jackson (Dima Springs kick); 7:20 1st (7-0 WR)

WR—Danny Ward, 22-yard interception return (kick blocked); 3:35 2nd (13-0 WR)

2nd half

Hillcrest—Jordan McArthur, 4-yard run (run failed); 5:14 3rd (13-6 WR)

Hillcrest—Bryce Olsen, 1-yard run (Casey Allgood kick); 0:16 3rd (13-13)

Hillcrest—Taylor Ricks, 24-yard interception return (Allgood kick); 0:12 3rd (20-13 Hill)

Hillcrest—Andrew Smith, 55-yard run (Allgood kick); 7:54 4th (27-13 Hill)

Hillcrest—Olsen, 6-yard interception return (Allgood kick); 1:09 4th (34-13 Hill)

KEY STATS HILLCREST WRIVER

Offensive plays 69 58

Time of possession 25:26 22:34

1st downs, rush 9 5

1st downs, pass 2 3

1st downs, penalty 2 1

1st downs, total 13 9

Rushes, yards 46-221 28-107

Yards per carry 4.8 3.8

Fumbles lost 0 0

Completions, passes 7-12 6-18

Completion percentage 59% 34%

Passing yards 80 119

Yards per completion 11.4 19.8

Intercepted by 3 1

Sacks by, yards 3-24 0-0

Returns, yards 6-80 5-56

Total yards gained 381 258

Penalties 9-75 5-47

Punts, yardage 6-199 6-185

Yards per punt 33.2 30.8

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS—Wood River

Rushing—Scott Bartlett 19-97 (5.1 per carry), 6 1st downs; Grayson Thompson 1-7; Tyler Jackson 6-0; Carl Browning 2-3.

Passing—Tyler Jackson 6-17, 119 yards, 3 1sts, 1 TD, 2 interceptions; Danny Kramer 0-1, 1 interception.

Receiving—Jeff Conover 4-99, 2 1sts, 1 TD; Carl Browning 1-15, 1 1st; Huston Brashears 1-5.

Interceptions—Danny Ward 1 with 22-yard TD return.

Kickoff returns—Jeff Conover 1-19; Kenny Cardona 1-7.

Punt returns—Kenny Cardona 2-8.

Tackles (75)—Carl Browning 19, Jeff Conover 9, Alex Burwell 8, Danny Ward 8, Huston Brashears 6, Anthony Quarles 5, Dusty Selner 4, Adrian Grimaldo 3, Carter Stewart 3, Andrew Grimaldo 2, Corbin Miniard 2, Erik Jacobson 2, Scott Bartlett 1, Kenny Cardona 1, Grayson Thompson 1, Collin Hand 1.

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS—Hillcrest

Rushing—Andrew Smith 11-99, 3 1sts, 1 TD; Jordan McArthur 17-72, 5 1sts, 1 TD; Bryce Olsen 12-38, 1 1st, 1 TD; Garrett Rose 1-8; Brad Lords 4-4.

Passing—Bryce Olsen 6-11, 73 yards, 2 1sts, 1 interception; Brad Lords 1-1, 7 yards.

Receiving—Garrett Rose 3-33, 1 1st; Luke Wescoat 1-21, 1 1st; Brad Lords 1-10; Jordan McArthur 1-9; Blake Lewis 1-7.

Interceptions—Taylor Ricks 1 with 24-yard TD return; Bryce Olsen 1 with 6-yard TD return; Brad Lords 1.

Sacks (3)—Devin Payne 2-15; #69 1-9.

Kick returns—Garrett Rose 4-50.

Tackle leaders (48)—Devin Payne 9, Taylor Ricks 7, Blake Lewis 5, Jordan McArthur 4, Brad Lords 3, Bryce Olsen 3.




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