Sometimes season openers are more about evaluation than the end result.
That was the case Friday night as a relatively young Idaho Falls football team struggled on offense against visiting Lewiston, and then had no answers on the defensive end when the Bengals’ running game started to find holes and eventually add to an early lead on the way to a 33-14 victory.
“It’s a tough loss for us, but fortunately it’s non-conference,” first-year head coach Marty Duffin said. “We just have to watch film, improve and move on.”
Lewiston scored on its second possession, but the Tigers’ defense held until the Bengals put together an 11-play drive that took up most of the second quarter. Cruz Hepburn capped it with a 19-yard touchdown scamper with 1:04 left before the half.
The second half was more of the same for Lewiston, which kept the Tigers on their heels with five different runners scoring, including Hepburn, who finished with 112 yards on 19 carries.
Idaho Falls finally broke through in the third quarter when Taggert Miller connected with Spencer Moore for a 22-yard score, cutting the deficit to 19-7. But Idaho Falls would get no closer. Lewiston countered with a 10-play, 85-yard drive on its next series for a touchdown, and then recovered a pooch kick on the kick off and scored again for a 33-7 advantage midway through the fourth quarter.
Kyan Jesperson had the run of the night for the Tigers, powering his way for a 15-yard touchdown with 4:12 left, but the damage had been done by then.
“Offensively we struggled a little bit just moving the ball and then defensively, they had a good scheme and we struggled to stop it,” Duffin said, adding there was plenty of room for improvement after Week 1.
Lewiston finished with 245 rushing yards, but also found success through the air with another 159 yards.
The Tigers play at Century next week.
LEWISTON 33, IDAHO FALLS 14
Lewiston 6 6 7 14 --33
IF 0 0 7 7 — 14
L-Isaiah Walker 3 run (kick fail), 3:59
L- Cruz Hepburn 19 run (pass fail), 1:04
L-Michael Bramlett 10 run (Harrison Smith kick), 4:01
IF- Spencer Moore 22 pass from Taggert Miller (Cole Chastain kick), 1:37
L- Michael Bramlett 1 run (Harrison Smith kick), 8:40
L — Kash Lang 17 run (Harrison Smith kick) 6:40
IF — Kyan Jesperson 15 run (Cole Chastain kick), 4:12
RUSHING: Lewiston, Cruz Hepburn 19-112, Isaiah Walker 6-16, Kash Lang 10-36, Joel Brume 2-5, Michael Bramlett 10-64, Devin Zagelow 1-2, Blake Holscher 2-10. Idaho Falls, Spencer Moore, 8-59, Taggert Miller 3-13, Kyan Jesperson 5-50, Gus Mecham 2-9.
PASSING: Lewiston, Kash Lang 6-12-0-0-97; Cruz Hepburn 3-3-0-0-62. Idaho Falls, Taggert Miller 6-16-1-1-57.
RECEIVING: Lewiston, Jared Granger 2-34, Devin Zagelow 2-24, Wade Ahlers 2-30, Jesse Ady 2-54. Harrison Smith 1-17. Idaho Falls, Hunter Miller 3-25, Bradley Thompson 1-0, Spencer Moore 1-22, Jackson Baker 1-10.