Printed on: September 28, 2013

Football is for 'tackles'

By PAUL LAMBERT
plambert@postregister.com

It's not "halfback" football, or "safety" football, or "quarterback" football.

It's "tackle" football. And for Idaho Falls tackles Chris Reynolds and Braden Henze, Friday's tackle football game was all about memories.

In particular, it was about erasing memories of a gut-punch loss at the end of the 2012 Emotion Bowl.

It was about squaring up, holding the corner and replacing those 2012 memories with the glare of orange spray paint, and a mad rush to the south goalposts.

Trailing 24-20, Idaho Falls had a first and goal with less than 90 seconds left, and were stoned by the Skyline defense.

Then-juniors Reynolds and Henze took that series of downs personally.

"It was painful," Henze said. "We were so close. We had four chances to beat them, and missed on all of them."

That series left Reynolds and Henze, along with offensive guards McKay Tucker and Trevor Baird, face down on the Ravsten Stadium sod.

Face down, but not beaten.

"We on the line felt like it was our fault, that we let the team down," Henze said. "But we stayed together, have been in the gym, and came back out with more experience and got this one. All of us. Me, Chris, McKay and Trevor. This is so much more fun."

The tackles had their hands full throughout as the Skyline defensive ends took advantage of quickness to cause trouble, especially late in the second quarter.

But the I.F. tackles found their feet, and the Idaho Falls offense found its fire in a 20-point rout of the rival Grizzlies.

"They were quick and we ended up in a lot of 1-on-1 matchups," Reynolds said. "Last year was a really close game with a lot of emotion, and to put it away like this is a great feeling, especially senior year."

Especially for "tackle" football players.

RIGHT HAND MEN: A familiar face walked the sidelines with Skyline coach Scott Berger on Friday night. Standing one step behind and one step behind Berger, Dale Guilford became Berger's right hand man, a perfect reversal of their sideline roles for more than a decade at Skyline. When things got heated, both Berger and Guilford could be found at their traditional spot, 2-yards onto the field waiting to bark at the line judge.

I.F. ROYALTY: Dressed in his leather cowboy hat and his traditional game-day smile, former Idaho Falls coach Ken Sampson (9-4 in Emotion Bowls) was honored at halftime after becoming the most recent inductee to the Idaho High School Activities Association Hall of Fame. Sampson won four state championships during the late 1980s and early 1990s as coach of the Tigers.

LEAPIN' LIZARDS: After his defense stopped Idaho Falls for the second-consecutive series late in the second quarter, Skyline coach Scott Berger charged onto the field like a schoolboy -- jump-bumping members of his defensive unit in celebration on the west hash. Whether coach B. hurt himself is unknown, but when Skyline stopped I.F. a third straight time, the defensive unit got high-fives instead.