BLACKFOOT – In what has been rumored to be the final “Buck Bowl,” a match-up between Blackfoot and Madison and the two head coaches — brothers Stan and Mitch Buck — turned out to be one whale of a football game.
It was also Homecoming and with all of the festivities surrounding the game, the pressure was on the Blackfoot Broncos to perform. It wasn’t easy, it may not have been the prettiest of games, but it was a great game to watch and a great game to be on the winning side of things and that is what the Broncos will take away from the game.
For the first time all season, the Broncos’ running game wasn’t great. It was solid, but it wasn’t great. Star running back Teegan “Mercury” Thomas was held below 100 yards, he just missed with 96 yards on 26 carries, but he had to work for each and every yard he gained.
Quarterback Craig Young stepped up and showed a dimension that he hadn’t demonstrated in previous games and that was the ability to run a few quarterback draw plays for substantial yardage which gave Thomas a break in the running game. That is not to say that Young will be a breakaway runner, but the few times that he stepped back and waited for the hole to open up produced several first downs and kept drives going, just when the Broncos needed them.
And there were the passes to the flat and down the field, caught by Reece Robinson and Kameron Lawes and Brayden Wright that were instrumental for the Broncos’ success as they rallied from a 19-0 deficit for a non-conference win over the Bobcats by the final score of 21-19.
Madison struck first in the contest, connecting on a 55-yard pass play from quarterback Easton Cordero to wide receiver Dawson Wills and it was off to the races for the Bobcats. With the extra point kick, it was quickly 7-0 and only 1:24 had clicked off the clock.
Later in the first quarter, it was Cordero again, this time as a runner as he leapt over the line for the score and just like that, it was 13-0 Bobcats and the game wasn’t even into the second period.
The Bobcats were not done, not by any stretch of the imagination.
Midway through the second period, they were back at it again. This time, it was another pass from Cordero to a wide open wide receiver and when the two-point conversion failed, the Broncos were on the wrong end of a 19-0 score and things were beginning to look bleak for a Homecoming win.
That was when the Broncos used the speed of Reece Robinson and the passing of Young to their advantage. Young found an open Robinson and some tough running and nifty moves got Robinson free and into the end zone on the end of a 50-yard pass and catch play that got the Broncos on the scoreboard just before half time. With the extra point from Dominic Sanchez, the Broncos trailed 19-7, but they were back in the game.
The second half belonged to the Broncos’ defense as they made stand after stand. Defensive back Stryker Wood had his name called on nearly every play as he was making plays all over the field, including what turned out to be a most instrumental play in the game. A Bobcat wide receiver made what looked like an outstanding catch, but when they came to the ground, Wood somehow ended up with the ball, giving the Bronco offense a shot at things in good position. The drive ended up being a 3-yard touchdown by Teegan Thomas and the Broncos were suddenly within five points at 19-14 with just under five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
With less than 10 minutes remaining in the game, the Broncos were once again on the offensive and driving. They worked the ball down to the three yard line and that is where Young called his own number and took the ball into the end zone to give the Broncos their first and only lead of the game.
With Sanchez supplying the extra point, the Broncos had a 21-19 lead and the only question remaining was whether or not they would hold the lead until the end. The defense came up big on two more occasions, holding the Bobcats at bay and taking over on downs twice more, making the two-point lead stand up for the victory.
With the win, the Broncos moved to 6-1 on the season with games remaining against Idaho Falls and Shelley to close out the regular season. They are a perfect 3-0 in High Country Conference play and can clinch at least a tie for the conference title with a win next week against Idaho Falls. That game will be on Friday at 7 p.m. and will be held at Ravsten Stadium in Idaho Falls.