In the soup and slop that was Thunder Stadium on Friday night, the Idaho Falls Tigers emerged muddied, bloodied and victorious.
With a 14-7 win over the Bonneville Bees, the Tigers overcame three fumbles and a makeshift offense to keep their postseason hopes alive.
With winds in the 20s and rain in the inches at kickoff, ball control and turnover management was the game plan Friday night.
This meant less run-after-the-catch and more three-yards and a cloud of “blorp.”
In the first half it was “sweep right, sweep left” for Bonneville with tailback Colton Reifschneider.
For Idaho Falls, it was mixing and matching out of a modified Wildcat featuring tailback Spencer Moore, who got the start behind center with regular starting QB Tagg Miller (concussion) in street clothes.
With little in the way of field traction and less in the way of field downfield offense, both defenses stacked the box, with predictable first half results.
Neither team threatened over the first 24 minutes. And with the exception of Bonneville’s opening drive, neither team reached the red zone.
“It was a tough adjustment with them sending that many guys, and they were blitzing us all over,” Idaho Falls left guard Andrew Finlinson said. “It got a little chippy in there with a lot of talk, and that kind of atmosphere works for us, I think.”
With just 23 passing yards and 18 rushing yards in the first half, not even atmosphere was working for Idaho Falls.
But after Bonneville converted a fumble and a short field into the first score of the game on a 1-yard run by Jordan Perez, Idaho Falls bounced back hard.
On its very next drive, the Idaho Falls offense marched 61 yards and tied the game on Moore’s first rushing touchdown of the game, a nine-yarder.
The Tigers forced Bonneville into a 3-and-out on the ensuing possession, getting the ball back on the Bees’ 44.
The very next play will live with young Tagg Miller forever.
Miller watched from the sideline as Moore hit Miller’s kid brother Hunter on a seam route for 34 yards.
Moore scored the winning touchdown on a 10-yard run 11 seconds later, and Tagg was the first to meet Moore — jumping-and-bumping in celebration.
“What a great ball! Spencer is a freak athlete, and you couldn’t ask for a better pass,” Tagg said. “It was tough watching (from the sldelines), but these guys never stopped competing.
“Even though I had to watch, and after missing most of my junior year, any time I can go to war with my boys is something to cherish.”
Idaho Falls (2-4, 2-1) will slip out of conference next week to take on visiting Columbia (Nampa) at Ravsten Stadium.
The Bees (1-5, 0-3) remain in conference with a home game against Shelley.
IDAHO FALLS 14, BONNEVILLE 7
Idaho Falls 0 0 0 14 — 14
Bonneville 0 0 7 0 — 7
B — Jordan Perez 1 run (#7 kick) 3:50
IF — Spencer Moore 9 run (Cole Chastain kick) 10:41
IF — Moore 10 run (Chastain kick) 7:55
RUSHING — Idaho Falls, Moore 21-28, Clayton Rohner 5-21, Logan Westwood 4-8, Gus Mecham 1-(-3). Bonneville, Colton Reifschneider 17-85, Jordan Perez 14-35, Tavyn Lords 8-18, Dylan Virgil 2-9, Willie Nelson 1-3.
PASSING — Idaho Falls, Moore 6-8-77-0. Bonneville, Perez 9-22-62-1.
RECEIVING — Idaho Falls, Hunter Miller 2-35, Bradley Thompson 2-19, Westwood 2-13. Bonneville, Reifschneider 2-28, Lords 2-16, Braxton Sorenson 3-8, Bryce Reeser 2-6.