SHELLEY — A 26-second stretch swung the momentum in the direction of the Shelley High School football team in Friday’s 3A state quarterfinal game against Homedale.
After pulling within 14-7 with a little less than four minutes remaining in the first half, Homedale had the ball after a Shelley punt.
But instead of running the ball to try to kill the clock, Homedale quarterback Drew Deal threw a ball up for grabs.
The wobbly pass turned into a back breaking stretch as Shelley scored 14 points in 26 seconds en route to a 35-21 victory.
“That was a huge stretch for us,” Shelley coach Jake Monahan said. “We have guys that can make big plays and that sequence showed that.”
Shelley junior defensive back Brandon McBride intercepted the pass and weaved his way 54 yards for a touchdown. On the ensuing onside kick attempt, McBride, who kicked the ball, recovered it as well.
Three plays later, Jake Wray found Wyatt Remington with a seven-yard touchdown to send the Russets into the locker room leading 28-7 at halftime.
“That was wild,” McBride said. “I saw that ball and went up and grabbed it, my teammates made blocks and we were able to take control of the game.”
McBride was all over the field for the Russets during the victory. He started the scoring with a 28 yard touchdown run in the first quarter, kicked all five extra points and accounted for 34 yards rushing and 61 yards receiving.
“We have a lot of playmakers and it makes us tough to stop,” McBride said. “We were confident in what we do and knew if we played our game, things would work in our favor.”
Shelley had to overcome some mishaps as well. The Russets turned the ball over three times in the second quarter, two of which gave the Trojans the ball deep inside Russet territory.
But all three Trojan drives after a turnover ended in zero points.
“Our defense is tough,” Monahan said. “We buckled down when our backs were against the wall and didn’t allow any points. That was huge.”
Neither team scored in the third quarter as penalties took a toll on both teams.
Homedale’s two quarterback offense was turned to a one quarterback offense in the second quarter when starter Drew Deal left with an apparent ankle injury.
Backup Daniel Uranga played well in the final quarter, leading Homedale to a pair of scores. He finished the game 13-of-29 for 110 yards a touchdown and an interception. Maz Mertz added 127 yards on 24 carries for the Trojans (7-3).
Jake Wray led Shelley with 129 yards on 14-of-24 passing with a pair of touchdowns. Garrett Murdoch added 111 yards on 17 carries for the Russets (8-1), who will face today’s Fruitland-Sugar-Salem winner in next week’s semifinals.
SHELLEY 35, HOMEDALE 21
Homedale 0 7 0 14 — 21
Shelley 14 14 0 7 — 35
S— Brandon McBride 28 run (McBride kick)
S— Mason Price 33 pass from Jake Wray (McBride kick)
H— Max Mertz 1 run (Nelson Lomell kick)
S— McBride 54 interception return (McBride kick)
S— Wyatt Remington 7 pass from Wray (McBride kick)
H— Mertz 6 run (kick failed)
S— Garrett Murdoch 34 run (McBride kick)
H— Carson Brown 10 pass from Daniel Uranga (Uranga pass to Jake Collett)
RUSHING— Homedale: Max Mertz 24-127-1, Drew Deal 4-11, Mason Kincheloe 2-0, Daniel Uranga 1-(-3), Jake Collett 1-8, Brayden Miller 1-3. Shelley: Garrett Murdoch 17-111-1, Brandon McBride 4-34-1, Jake Wray 5-(16), Braxton Balmforth 7-21, Peyton Whitaker 1-5, Mason Price 1-3.
PASSING— Homedale: Daniel Uranga 13-29-110-1-1, Drew Deal 0-8-0-0-1. Shelley: Jake Wray 14-24-129-2-1.
RECEIVING— Homedale: Jake Collett 2-12, Nelson Lomell 3-21, Carson Brown 6-66-1, Brayden Miller 1-7, Max Mertz 1-4. Shelley: Wyatt Remington 4-23-1, Mason Price 3-38-1, Braxton Balmforth 1-1, Peyton Whitaker 1-10, Brandon McBride 5-61.