BLACKFOOT -- The Blackfoot Broncos didn't know what hit them in the first quarter of the 4A state football playoffs Friday night.
What a difference another quarter makes, as the Broncos overcame a 14-0 opening period deficit from then on and rolled to a 42-14 victory over the Minico Spartans.
In the first quarter, Minico kept Blackfoot completely off balance with the backfield combination of quarterback Connor Stocking and running back Rylan Chandler throwing different looks at the Broncos, resulting in confusion in defensive coverage, giving up big plays through the air and big chunks of yardage on the ground.
Stocking put the Spartans up early on a 1-yard quarterback keeper with just over two minutes off the clock with Cash Cofer's kick making it 7-0.
The guessing game in Minico's backfield continued after that, with Chandler getting a lot of direct snaps. It was that kind of attack that put Minico up 14-0 with 4:47 left in the first quarter with Stocking gathering in a six-yard scoring toss from Chandler.
Things changed dramatically after that. A Blackfoot defense that was struggling to get penetration started turning it around, star running back Teegan Thomas -- seeing his first action since breaking his left wrist a few weeks ago and playing with a cast on his arm -- came alive, and the Broncos' passing game did its job at key moments.
Blackfoot capitalized on a Minico turnover early in the second quarter midway through Spartan territory with Thomas putting Blackfoot on the board with a two-yard run, Dominique Sanchez's kick making it 14-7.
With 5:39 left in the first half, Thomas found space along the right side of the line and used his speed to race to a 41-yard TD run, and suddenly the game was tied at 14-14.
Two big pass plays back-to-back from quarterback Craig Young to Brayden Wright totally turned the momentum around and set the stage for a runaway. The second big pass to Wright covered 31 yards with Young looking off his receiver to the right and throwing to Wright along the left side for a score, making it 21-14 with 1:38 left in the half.
But that wasn't the end of the scoring in the first half. Blackfoot turned right around and scored again with 16 seconds on the clock, Young hitting Jayden Wistisen on a 25-yard pass to widen the lead to 28-14.
It seemed a rout was brewing.
While the Broncos defensively were giving up big plays and struggling to make it into the Minico backfield early on, they were finding gaps and making big plays as time went on. On offense, Thomas -- who finished the game with 149 yards on 21 carries -- was churning out at least several yards a pop on the ground, with a 23-yard run setting up a one-yard scoring plunge for himself with 5:36 left in the third quarter, making it 35-14.
The scoring ended with 11:10 left in the game when Reece Robinson made a gorgeous leaping grab and got a foot down in the left corner just inside the goal line from 30 yards out.
Minico did manage to get down to Blackfoot's four yard line after that, but Jaxson Ball shut down that drive with an interception in the end zone to seal the deal for the Broncos. After that, Blackfoot started sending in subs.
"It's good to be back, everybody was super-energized for it," Thomas said after the game. "(Coach Stan) Buck told me to get ready, as soon as you're back it's gonna be back to the normal stuff, no breaks. So I was prepared for that."
Blackfoot will go on to face Nampa on the road in the semi-finals, after Nampa beat Bishop Kelly Friday night 35-28.