Printed on: September 28, 2013

Paint 'em orange

Idaho Falls beats Skyline 44-24 in Emotion Bowl

By JEFF PINKHAM
jpinkham@postregister.com

The Idaho Falls High School football team couldn't have got off to a better start in Friday's 49th Emotion Bowl at Ravsten Stadium, but it sure didn't feel like it in the halftime locker room.

Heads were hung. Voices were quiet. Emotion was gone.

That's when first-year Tigers coach Pete Molino offered a simple reminder to his team.

"You guys are up," Molino told the Tigers. "You're actually winning and it's a funeral in here."

The Tigers shook off the second-quarter slump, pulling away with big plays and sound defense to earn a 44-24 win that ended a two-year losing streak to their District 91 rivals.

Idaho Falls has been a dominant team early in games this year, rolling to big leads and cruising to victory. That appeared to be the case again Friday as the Tigers scored on their first three possessions. Deric Deede got the first score on a 7-yard TD run, senior receiver Clayton Powell turned a bubble screen from senior quarterback AJ Martin into a 75-yard score on the next drive, and Deede scored again from 5-yards out on the third drive.

That's when the Emotion Bowl arrived for the Tigers.

Skyline answered I.F.'s third score with a 12-play, 69-yard drive that ended with Alex Peterson's 17-yard TD run. The Grizzlies defense then forced punts on the Tigers' next two drives and made those stands pay off with a 9-yard TD pass from Zak Bennett to Tristen Olson. Peteron's two-point run made the score 22-16, and it was the Grizzlies who entered halftime with all of the momentum.

"It seemed like somebody had died in there when we went in," Molino said. "I think they were expecting (Skyline) to lay down when we got ahead, and that did not happen. Skyline's not going to do that."

The Grizzlies forced another three-and-out on the Tigers' next drive, and suddenly an offense that couldn't be stopped couldn't get a first down.

"You've got to expect to get stopped a couple of times," Powell said. "We just need to put our defense out there and they'll do their job."

That's exactly what happened on Skyline's next drive. Senior linebacker Brayden Andrus intercepted a pass over the middle at the Tigers' 25 and returned it to near midfield.

"It was a pretty simple play," said Andrus, who also had 5.5 tackles and a sack. "I just had to make the right read, which I don't do very often."

Eight plays later the Tigers were back in the end zone on a 1-yard plunge by junior Jake Thornberry, who also ran in the two-point conversion to give I.F. some breathing room.

"(Andrus' interception) set the tone for the second half," Powell said.

Working with a little margin of error, the Tigers seemed to relax. Martin threw a perfect ball down the sideline to Dakota Baker, who fought off a defensive back to make the catch before breaking free for a 61-yard touchdown. Skyline got one back midway through the fourth on a 1-yard TD run from Bennett, but Powell added to his huge game (seven catches, 186 yards, 2 TDs) on the next drive when he caught a short pass from Martin and outran the defense for a 49-yard score.

"They can run the ball, and (Martin) can get it out there quick," Skyline coach Scott Berger said. "That quick stuff works really nice."

Martin had a huge game for the Tigers (5-0, 2-0), completing 19 of 31 passes for 382 yards and three scores. Baker hauled in eight passes for 127 yards. Corbin John led the Tigers defense with 11 tackles, including one tackle for loss. Jared grimaud added nine tackles and 1.5 sacks. The Tigers have a bye next week before hosting Rigby on Oct. 10.

For the Grizzlies, Bennett completed 17 of 32 passes for 228 yards, with five of those passes going to Jordan Hadley for 66 yards. Skyline (2-3, 0-1) plays Twin Falls on Friday at Ravsten Stadium.