Still on the mend from its 42-40 Homecoming loss to Gooding Sept. 19, the Wood River High School football team came out flat and a little uninspired for its non-conference game at Kimberly’s Homecoming last Friday.
Yet it says something for the caliber of coach Kevin Stilling’s still-maturing Wolverines that they can be flat and still pile up 523 yards and score five touchdowns in a 33-14 victory—Wood River’s first at Kimberly in 21 years.
In a game that ended in a rain downpour with lightning in the distance, Wood River (4-1, 4-0 away) electrified their traveling faithful with four touchdown passes by junior quarterback Alec Nordsieck (8-for-16, 229 yards). Three went to junior Gunner Gibson covering 39, 59 and 35 yards.
Sophomore back Ashton Owens ground out 95 of his game-high 102 rushing yards after half as the Wood River offensive line picked it up a notch after building a 21-6 lead at intermission. Wood River out-rushed Kimberly 238-72.
For the season, the Wolverines have an 852-599 edge over opponents in rushing yards.
Stilling said, “We were flat and I take responsibility for that. We weren’t ready. In pre-game I put more emphasis on focusing instead of firing up. We should have been firing up from the start, and we were more fired up after half.
“Kimberly’s line is really physical—their defensive line is one of the better ones we’ll see—but we didn’t block well in the first half. We should have put more points on the board, especially being inside their 20 twice in the second quarter and not scoring because of two turnovers.”
Wood River (2 lost fumbles, 2 interceptions) hasn’t been hurt much by turnovers in five games, not as much as the sheer number of penalties (102 yards at Kimberly, now 60 whistles for 595 yards in 5 games, to 38-for-316 for foes).
But the defense has missed plenty of tackles, and that was the case in Friday’s first half, Stilling said. Still, Kimberly managed to put together only two long scoring drives directed by sophomore quarterback Zach Wright (12-for-25, 139 yards, plus 33 rushing).
One of the reasons was that senior Hayden Thayer (13 tackles) had “a monster game” on defense at Kimberly’s Bulldog Stadium, Stilling said.
“We played better in the second half,” the coach added. “We’re still lacking some little details and we’ll need to polish fundamentals this week.” Hailey fans are hopeful that the fundamental connection of Nordsieck and Gibson will continue. Gibson (3 catches for 133 yards, 3 TD at Kimberly) has now snared 12 aerials for 379 yards (31.6 per catch) this season, and eight of those catches have been TDs.
Wood River’s other top receiver, sophomore Owen Gifford (8 catches for 267 yards, 5 TD, 33.4 yards per catch), snagged the first Nordsieck TD pass Friday on a post pattern down the middle of the field for a 26-yard score. It completed a 10-play, 78-yard drive over four minutes.
Kimberly’s defensive penetration held Wood River’s rushing game to just 59 yards before half, so Nordsieck continued to do much of the offensive damage in the air.
He threw for 194 yards before halftime. Even his first interception of the season didn’t hurt, since Gibson pounced on a Bulldog fumble just two plays later.
Gibson was the difference maker with the Wolverine offense in low gear. On 4th-and-4 at the Kimberly 39, Nordsieck rolled left and fired a bullet to Gibson at the 20-yard-line. The 6-3 receiver caught it and accelerated into the end zone for a 13-0 Wolverine advantage.
After a flurry of second-quarter turnovers, two for each team, Nordsieck threw a perfect lead pass to Gibson who made a fingertip catch at the Bulldog 24 and completed a 59-yard scoring play for a 21-0 Hailey cushion.
Wood River received the second half kickoff and swept downfield behind its renewed offensive line charge and a 23-yard right tackle run by Owens. On 2nd-and-5, Nordsieck rolled right and, looking for Gibson, found him at the 19. Gibson finished the 35-yard scoring play for a 27-6 lead.
Owens has rushed for 380 yards in five games buoyed by back-to-back 100-yard efforts.
Burley arrives Friday
Wood River (2-0 league) resumes its 4A Great Basin Conference schedule Friday, Oct. 3 against Burley (0-5, 0-3 league) at Hailey’s Phil Homer Field. Kimberly (2-2) won its season opener at Burley 26-14.
The Bobcats have dropped seven straight games since their forfeit win over Wood River last October. When the teams played from 2010-12, Wood River won three times—40-37 and 27-6 at home in 2012 and 2011, and 27-6 at Burley.
Minico’s Spartans (3-2, 2-0) kept pace with Wood River atop the Great Basin beating Canyon Ridge (3-2, 0-1) by a 41-6 score at home Friday. Jerome (2-3, 1-1) lost 14-0 at home to Snake River, and Twin Falls (1-4, 1-1) won 41-28 on the Burley field last Friday.
WRHS football fans to support Wounded Warriors
Wood River High School’s varsity football team will be seeking its first home victory of the season when the Burley Bobcats visit Hailey’s Phil Homer Field on Friday, Oct. 3.
Opening kickoff is 7 p.m.
Spectators will also be able to support the Wounded Warriors Project, a non-profit organization, during a special initiative at Friday’s game.
Wood River High athletic director John Rade said, “This year, the 4th District Coaches Association adopted the Wounded Warriors Project as a charity to fund-raise over the course of the year.
“The Fourth District Coaches Association asked each of District 4 schools that were interested in supporting the Wounded Warriors Project to advertise and collect donations at a home varsity football game. Wood River decided to support the Wounded Warriors Friday, Oct. 3 against Burley.”
Donations made Friday at the game will help Wounded Warriors in its goal of making a positive, lasting impact in the lives of injured service members on various levels.
They include raising awareness, helping injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and helping provide unique, direct programs to meet their needs.
Those who incurred physical or mental injuries, illnesses or wounds related to military service after Sept. 11, 2001 are eligible to participate in a wide range of supportive programs. You can visit woundedwarriorproject.org for more details.
WRHS Line Score
Wood River 33, Kimberly 14
Wood River—Owen Gifford, 26-yard pass from Alec Nordsieck (Hunter Kern kick); 6:59 1st (7-0 WR).
Wood River—Gunner Gibson, 39-yard pass from Alec Nordsieck (kick failed); 10:52 2nd (13-0 WR).
Wood River—Gunner Gibson, 59-yard pass from Alec Nordsieck (Austin Savaria run); 4:16 2nd (21-0 WR).
Kimberly—Chris Shaw, 4-yard run (run failed); 0:33 2nd (21-6 WR).
Wood River—Gunner Gibson, 35-yard pass from Alec Nordsieck (kick failed); 9:16 3rd (27-6 WR).
Kimberly—Chris Shaw, 25-yard run (Mason Egbert run); 0:20 3rd (27-14 WR).
Wood River—Alec Nordsieck, 3-yard run (kick failed); 7:47 4th (33-14 WR).
|Time of possession
|1st downs, rush
|1st downs, pass
|1st downs, penalty
|1st downs, total
|Yards per carry
|Yards per completion
|Sacks by, yards
|Total yards gained
|Third down efficiency
|Fourth down efficiency
|Yards per punt
INDIVIDUAL LEADERS—Wood River
Rushing—Ashton Owens 23-102, 4 1sts; Austin Savaria 11-70, 3 1sts, 1 conv.; Alec Nordsieck 9-42, 2 1sts, 1 TD; Cam Benson 1-11, 1 1st; Chris Lentz 1-8; Owen Gifford 2-5; Hayden Thayer 1-0.
Passing—Alec Nordsieck 8-16, 229 yards, 3 1sts, 4 TD, 1 interception.
Receiving—Gunner Gibson 3-133, 3 TD; Owen Gifford 2-47, 1 1st, 1 TD; Hayden Thayer 2-43, 2 1sts; Cade Schott 1-6.
Kickoff returns—Austin Savaria 2-34; Owen Gifford 1-10.
Punt returns—Owen Gifford 1-11; Hayden Thayer 1-10.
All-purpose yardage—Alec Nordsieck 271.
Fumble recoveries (2)—Hans Heaphy 1, Gunner Gibson 1.
Tackles (64)—Hayden Thayer 13, Jubal Toothman 8, Hans Heaphy 7, Travis Swanson 5, Taylor Douthit 5, Alec Nordsieck 4, Champe Kotara 4, Parker Bingham 4, Chris Lentz 3, Hagan Barsch 3, Caleb Morgan 2, Cam Benson 2, Owen Gifford 1, Jackson Toothman 1, Kyle Weller 1, Gunner Gibson 1.
Rushing—Chris Shaw 13-46, 2 TD; Zach Wright 8-33, 2 1sts; Mason Egbert 1-10, 1 1st, 1 conv.; Joe Tews 2-4; Anfernee Vega 1-3.
Passing—Zach Wright 12-25, 139 yards, 7 1sts; Chris Shaw 0-1.
Receiving—Joe Tews 3-63, 2 1sts; Derek Wadsworth 2-28, 1 1st; Trevor Johnson 2-17, 1 1st; Mason Egbert 2-12, 1 1st; Anfernee Vega 1-13, 1 1st; Tristan Kulhanek 1-6, 1 1st; Dallin Brady 1-0.
Kickoff returns—Dallin Brady 2-44; Mason Egbert 1-38.
All-purpose yardage—Zach Wright 172.
Fumble recoveries (1)—Dustin Diaz 1.
Interceptions (1)—James Martin 1 with a 24-yard return.
Sacks (1)—Dustin Diaz 1-9.
Tackles (66)—Dustin Diaz 12, Chris Shaw 10, Tristan Benavidez 10, Dallin Brady 9, Mason Egbert 5, Tristan Kulhanek 4, Bowdy Siegers 3, Derek Wadsworth 2, Anfernee Vega 2, Raymond O’Dell 2, Joe Harris 2, Joe Tews 2, Tyler Holland 2, Anthony Unger 1.