Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Too much rain, too much Jerome

48-7 loss sends Wolverines to Blackfoot Friday

Express Staff Writer

Rarely has a Wood River High School football team played in such miserably wet conditions as Friday, when the Jerome Tigers invaded soggy Homer Field for a Great Basin Conference West 4A grid game played in steady downpour on "Senior Night" in Hailey.

Favored Jerome (5-3, 2-1 league) capitalized on terrific field position and Wood River miscues to build a 41-0 halftime lead en route to a 48-7 victory that relegated Wood River (1-6, 1-2 league) to third place in the Great Basin West standings. Jerome finished second in the Basin to Minico (8-0, 3-0).

With its win, Jerome will host the Preston Indians (5-3) Friday, Oct. 26 in the "Great Eight" playoffs that will determine four qualifiers from south-central and southeastern Idaho for the eight-school State 4A football playoffs opening Friday, Nov. 2.

Meanwhile, Wood River will travel to 4A top-ranked Sixth District champion Blackfoot (8-0) Friday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. in another "Great Eight" clash. Elsewhere, District 5 king Pocatello (5-3) will entertain Bonneville of Idaho Falls (5-3) and Minico hosts Rigby (2-6).

The winners of Minico-Rigby and Blackfoot-Wood River will clash in the Nov. 2 quarterfinals, while the winners of Pocatello-Bonneville and Jerome-Preston will square off with the high seed hosting the quarters.

Friday's Wood River-Jerome game was pretty even statistically—Jerome's 390-308 edge in total yards helped by a 198-58 passing advantage—but the Tigers always seemed to be in Wolverine territory knocking at the door. The loss of senior quarterback Danny Kramer (busted blood vessel in his trachea) made a thin Hailey offense even thinner.

Jerome turned three Wolverine turnovers and two punting game mistakes into five of its eight scores.

But Wood River's youthful defense did good work, limiting Jerome's rushing offense to two yards or less on 20 of 34 Tiger carries. Defensive coordinator John Rade said Wood River blitzed quite a bit and did some good things with young players. With the blitz, however, the defense also got burned and paid the consequences.

Senior Jared Rade (10 tackles), sophomore Tyler Peters, junior Sean Bunce and sophomore Tanner Orchard were top tacklers. A workhorse on both sides of the ball was junior quarterback Michale Brunker, who rushed for 90 yards and threw for 58 yards including a 21-yard touchdown aerial to senior Matt Staskiewicz.

Tiger senior running back Jason Stokes (14 carries, 107 yards plus 68 yards in pass receptions) and junior quarterback Jake Lammers (16-for-30, 195 yards, 4 TD) were big guns for coach Gary Krumm's Tigers—boasting 88 players on the roster compared to 49 for Wood River.

Looking ahead to Blackfoot, Wood River's defense will have to contend with versatile offensive threat Chase Monson, who rushed for 167 yards and threw for 46 yards in Blackfoot's 39-0 road romp over winless Hillcrest (0-8) last Friday. Hillcrest has now lost 22 straight.

Monson, who likes breaking into the open on option runs, also rushed for 182 yards and threw for 142 yards in Blackfoot's 26-14 home win over Bonneville Oct. 12 that essentially gave the Broncos the High Country Conference championship.

Check the Express Web site for statistics of the Jerome-Wood River game and a season composite score.

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