IDAHO FALLS – On paper, it seemed like it could be a night that belonged totally to the Blackfoot Broncos. The team was on a roll and the Grizzlies of Skyline, they had had some issues.
Blackfoot had won three straight games, and were sitting at the top of the High Country Conference standings with a 2-0 mark and were beginning to look like one of the best teams in the 4A classification in the state. They had a strong running game, led by junior tailback Teegan Thomas, they had a senior leader in quarterback Craig Young who had just returned from an injury that had sidelined him for a couple of games, they had speed at the wideout position in the form of Reece Robinson, and they had a hustling, scrambling defense that was keeping offenses to only an average of around 10 points per game in the three-game winning streak since a surprising loss to Star Valley. Things just looked pretty good for a Blackfoot victory.
Somebody forgot to tell Skyline, who had earmarked this game as homecoming and ended up giving the Broncos everything they could handle and then some.
Sure, fans will say that the Broncos won the game 27-20, but with just under seven minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the game was tied at 20 and the Broncos appeared to be on the ropes.
The game began great for the Broncos, as on the first series of the contest, Craig Young connected with Reece Robinson on an 84-yard pitch and catch and just like that, the Broncos held a quick 7-0 lead.
Just moments later, it was Young to Brayden Wright from 19 yards out and the Broncos were ahead 14-0 and it seemed like it was going to be a long night for the Grizzles.
Running back Teegan Thomas had already shown that he was on his game Thursday night, as he was ripping off runs of six yards, 10 yards and 15 yards, but the Broncos found a different way to get him into the end zone. Midway through the second quarter, they went to a screen pass with Thomas on the receiving end and he was able to take it to the house for a 39-yard touchdown. That score came as an answer to a Skyline touchdown run from Luke Ruiz. That Grizzlies’ score came immediately after the Broncos had fumbled the ball away after a long run by Thomas. That score had slowed the Broncos’ momentum, but only momentarily.
The second half found the Grizzlies making some defensive adjustments and they began to find some momentum of their own. They stopped the Broncos a couple of times on downs and another on a turnover and suddenly they were able to find the end zone on a long 71-yard pass play from Cruz Taylor to Connor Maloney and just like that, the Grizzlies were back in the game, trailing 20-14.
The next Bronco possession resulted in another turnover and the Grizzlies were back in business and moved the ball down the field crisply. The end result was another Taylor to Maloney pass play, this one from 25 yards out, and when the point after kick was blocked, the score was tied at 20.
The Broncos still had plenty of time, as there were just under seven minutes in the game and they went right to work by giving the ball to their workhorse of the night in Thomas. The handoff and subsequent block by Chavis Young sprung Thomas into the clear and he was off to the races. Thomas was finally corralled at the Grizzly 10 yard line, but not before he had reeled off a 70-yard run.
Thomas, by the way, accounted for 236 rushing yards on the night on 36 carries, a big night by any stretch of the imagination.
The Broncos would finish off the drive with a 10-yard pass play from Young to Robinson and with the Dominic Sanchez kick, the score went to 27-20 in favor of the Broncos.
The Grizzlies weren’t done, but as the two teams battled for the next six plus minutes, neither team threatened the goal line and the game would end at 27-20 for the Broncos. The win secured the top spot in the High Country Conference lead for the Broncos with a perfect 3-0 record.
“We are a family, a brotherhood,” Chavis Young said. “We believe in each other, we fight for each other and as long as we maintain that attitude and get better each week, there isn’t anyone who can stop us.”
The Broncos now look to the next game, the annual ‘Buck Bowl’ against Madison and the coaching Buck brothers, Stan and Mitch facing off against each other in Blackfoot.
The Broncos, 5-1 on the season, will host Madison (2-4) in the game on Friday night with kickoff slated at 7 p.m. The game will be Homecoming for the Broncos.