Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Minico claims conference clash over Wood River

Great Basin West action

Express Staff Writer

In a matchup against the heavyweight of the league, Wood River stood toe to toe with the likely champ, but was unable to deal a knockout blow.

Facing undefeated Minico (3-0) on the Spartans' home pitch Friday night, Wood River (1-2) bent but did not break in a 27-8 Great Basin Conference West loss.

Coach Mike Glenn remarked, "They had two plays that broke the game open. They took it to the house on a screen (pass) in the second quarter and marched on a pick."

The Wood River defense was stalwart early on, limiting the Spartans to 20 rushing yards and nine passing in the first quarter and completely quashed the run in the second, allowing no gain on three tries. Minico attempted seven passes in the second, connecting on two, including a nine-yard screen pass from quarterback Dane Broadhead to Kevin Killoy to break open the deadlock at the 7:41 mark.

It was only one of four completions Broadhead would make on the night, a testament to the defense, as the sophomore sensation was well off his season average of nearly 200 passing yards per game, going 4-for-18 for 101 yards.

"Jeff Conover played well on defense," Glenn remarked.

The Wolverines controlled the ball for much of the second quarter, running 16 plays to Minico's 10, but thanks to a pick by Spartans cornerback McCoy Worthington, which he returned 80 yards to score, Minico held a 13-0 lead heading into the locker room.

"We moved the ball really well. We just didn't get it into the endzone," Glenn noted.

The Spartans ground down the clock in the third, calling 19 rushing plays and finding daylight on two, a 30-yard TD romp by Matt Tracy to go up 19-0 and an 8-yard run by Dale Sayles for an 27-0 score with 31 seconds remaining in the third.

Once again, the Hailey D shut down its opponent in the fourth, limiting the Spartans to 34 yards on the ground.

Splitting time as the primary ball carriers, quarterback Tyler Jackson (20 carries for 78 yards) and running back Scott Bartlett (19-for-56) gained 60 yards in the final frame, almost half of the team's 121 total rushing yards.

Jackson cracked open the goose egg on a 10-yard burst at the 2:19 mark and connected with Carl Browning on the conversion to make it 27-8.

Quarterback Jackson was 4-for-7 for 20 yards and two interceptions. Conover had two catches. Both teams fumbled once and Minico picked up 16 first downs to Wood River's 10.

Glenn said, "The kids are playing better football. They are in position and making plays for the most part. The big plays continue to haunt us a little bit, but people have to understand that we are a work in progress and it's not going to happen overnight."

Glenn added that several keys to success are in place and he has seen improvement in all phases of the game.

"We have the staff in place and the facility. The weight program is in its infancy, but the kids are showing up. We are getting more physical. Our fundamentals are getting better and we are starting to execute," he said.

Wood River (1-2, 0-1 conference) will travel to Buhl (1-1) this Friday, September 16. Kickoff is 7 p.m. The Indians notched their first victory of the season last Friday, beating American Falls 43-12. Will Chivers ran for three touchdowns.

"I anticipate us to be competitive. I think we can execute better (against Buhl)," Glenn said. "This group of kids is working hard and I am really proud of them. We have been coaching intensely since day one and the kids have hung in there."

In a 35-game series, Buhl holds a 26-9 advantage over the Wolverines. The last time the teams met, on October 10, 2003, hometown Buhl shutout Wood River in the second half to win 23-14. Wood River's most recent victory over the Indians was in 2000 when they beat them 35-20. Of their nine victories against the Tribe, only three have come on the road.

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