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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of September 24 - 30, 2003


Panthers fall 42-34
to North Gem

Homecoming traditions inspire

Express Staff Writer

Despite the impressive debuts of the Carey Homecoming Royalty and freshman phenom Cody Baird, the North Gem Cowboys bested the Carey Panthers Friday night by a score of 42-34 at Derrick Parke Field.

North Gem (1-2) snapped a three-season, 11-game losing streak by taking a 30-12 halftime lead, building it to 42-12 in the third quarter—then holding on for dear life as Carey (1-2) rallied to within eight points.

In the second half Baird carried the ball play after play breaking tackle after tackle as he rushed for a team-leading 175 yards on 13 carries. He scored on a 29-yard TD run. Randy Lundergreen scored twice in the first half for Carey.

As time ticked away, Carey was putting all the pieces together. Coach Lane Kirkland didn’t know why the favored Panthers waited until the end of the game to play their best football, but pointed out that "it’s more fun to play hard."

Sophomore QB Tyler Cook found his groove and ended the Sawtooth Conference eight-man grid game completing 13 of 20 pass attempts for 139 yards. Senior end Ty Simmons led in receiving with seven catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns. Simmons bolstered the defense with an interception.

Senior guard Blake Surerus got himself a sack in the fourth quarter that led to a Gem punt and Carey touchdown.

Carey started slowly on a Homecoming Night that was dedicated to the memory of three Carey students killed in a recent auto accident.

An early Panther fumble led to a 60-yard Cowboy drive and touchdown. The Panthers came right back with a nine-play, 50-yard scoring drive of their own.

Carey was given excellent field position by senior Bryson Ellsworth’s 30-yard kickoff return. What followed was a solid, determined drive to the end zone capped off by a 14-yard touchdown run by senior Randy Lundergreen.

Lundergreen would continue to be a powerful force for the Panthers with 10 carries for 74 yards rushing and two pass receptions for 30 yards. He was also a standout on the other side of the ball as he racked up a team-leading 8 solo tackles from his defensive back spot.

Baird added 7 solo tackles, Ellsworth 6 and Surerus 5.

But the Carey tacklers had no answer for North Gem’s runners early in the game. Behind the powerful one-two punch of senior running backs Tyson Hatch and Matt Hall, the Cowboys soon took a 22-6 lead.

After a Hall TD run, North Gem kicked off to Lundergreen deep in his own zone. After bobbling the ball on the 20-yard line, he eventually snatched it up and faked out the entire Cowboy defense with an 80-yard return for a touchdown. The packed stands and crowded sidelines erupted into cheers.

Halftime proved to be energizing for the Panthers with the Carey traditional midfield presentation of the Homecoming "royalty."

Julee Hill, senior homecoming queen, was joined by underclass princesses Katie Miller, Brenna Silva and Emily Olsen on a horse-drawn chariot that paraded the girls around the lit field before coming to rest on the 50-yard line.

As tradition dictates, the senior Panthers then took turns giving each girl a quick kiss as parents flashed picture upon picture. As it turned out, the kissing—and halftime adjustments--inspired Carey to play much tougher football.

Baird inspired tougher play from all his teammates on both sides of the ball and what was a lopsided, 42-12 Cowboy lead soon shrunk, drive after drive, to 42-34, eight-point game.

Given a few more minutes, the Panthers would have doubtlessly prevailed. But alas, North Gem managed the clock smartly and ran it out.

Kirkland knows he has a young team, but with youth like Baird, "who had a big game and showed leadership and ran the ball well," the head coach is positive for the future.



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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.