Printed on: September 07, 2013

I.F. wins numbers game

Tigers score in final seconds to beat Bees, improve to 2-0

By JEFF PINKHAM
jpinkham@postregister.com

IDAHO FALLS -- For 48 minutes, the Idaho Falls High School football team dominated every statistic but the one that mattered.

On their last offensive play of the game, they got that one, too.

Quarterback AJ Martin found Corbin John open on the right edge of the end zone on fourth and goal from the 12 with 9.5 seconds left, lifting the Tigers to a 44-41 come-from-behind victory over the Bonneville Bees at Thunder Stadium.

It was a fitting finish for Idaho Falls (2-0), which marched up and down the field but still trailed 41-38 after Bees QB Tanner Smith ran in from a yard out and added a two-point run with 1:59 left on the clock.

But as they had done all game, Idaho Falls found a way, getting a 27-yard pass from Martin to Dakota Baker (7 catches, 174 yards) on third and 9 and a 36-yard pass from Martin to Clayton Powell (6 catches, 126 yards).

That gave the Tigers first and goal at the 4, but those final yards didn't come easy. A Jake Thornberry run for 1 yard and a bobbled snap that led to a 9-yard loss for Martin set the Tigers up with third and goal from the 12.

I.F. thought it had the go-ahead score when Powell went low for a pass from Martin, but the refs ruled it incomplete. On the next play, the line gave Martin time to survey the field, and he found John open for his only catch of the game.

"It was great blocking, great blocking," Martin said of the key to the final play.

John agreed.

"You have to have faith in your line, that's where it starts," he said. "They gave us time to get back there, and you can't cover forever. AJ found a way to get the ball to me."

Martin found a way get the ball to all of his receivers, completing 23 of 42 for 443 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for a touchdown, had two two-point runs and one two-point pass.

"He had a heck of a game," Idaho Falls first-year coach Pete Molino said.

Despite the big numbers, the Tigers spent the night playing catchup against one of the top teams in eastern Idaho. The Bees nearly broke the game open on back-to-back drives bridging halftime. Elijah Williams turned what looked like a harmless screen pass into a 56-yard touchdown to make it 19-6 heading into halftime. The Bees (1-2) made it 27-6 three plays into the second half when Lincoln Clayton (19 carries, 129 yards, 2 TDs) burst up the middle and outran the defense for a 37-yard score.

"Our kids are starting to develop a sense of who they are, so it didn't faze them," Molino said. "They just got back out and focused on what they needed to do, and it was neat to watch them do that. They came together on their own and started to drive, started to make the plays, the tempo of our offense sped up and it was getting easier and easier for them -- everything goes to those kids."

Tanner Smith had a solid night for Bonneville, completing 13 of 26 passes for 204 yards and a score while adding 70 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.

Idaho Falls hosts Pocatello on Friday at Ravsten Stadium while Bonneville plays at Madison the same night.