SHELLEY — With 1:39 left on the clock and trailing by five, the Shelley High School football team had to travel 83 yards to score the game-winning touchdown and earn their first district win of the season against Bingham County rival Blackfoot.
That drive would end up 50 yards short of the endzone as Blackfoot held off a fourth quarter Russet rally to earn a 24-19 win and potentially a spot in next week’s 4A state playoffs.
Shelley found themselves in a 24-6 hole at the end of three quarters, when a minute into the final 12 minutes Wyatt Remington intercepted a Craig Young pass. That turnover turned into a Jake Wray-to-Parker Hanson 16-yard touchdown pass on fourth down.
Four minutes later, the two connected again from seven yards, again on fourth down, that was sparked by a halfback pass from Wyatt Remington to Cole Carter, to help the Russets pull within 24-19.
But as happened numerous times this season the Russets comeback attempts just ran out of steam.
“It’s been the story of our season,” Shelley coach Jake Monahan said. “We played sloppy in the first half and had to try and dig ourselves out in the second, it just took us until the fourth to get going.”
The Broncos got a pair of touchdown runs from Kyson Vanorden from four and five yards in the second quarter. Vanorden could have had a third touchdown but on the Broncos first drive of the game the exchange from Young was fumbled and recovered by Shelley.
The Russets had all but one of their first half drives begin deep in their own territory, thanks in part to penalties.
“We battled, but penalties in the first half really hurt us,” Shelley coach Jake Monahan said. “These boys don’t quit and I am really proud of our senior class. It was a tough year and we learned a lot ourselves in the process.”
Blackfoot moved the ball with ease in the first half as the misdirection plays and multiple ball carriers seemed to cause confusion for the Shelley defense.
“We had to make some adjustments in at the half,” Monahan said. “They were gashing us and we needed to stop the bleeding.”
Blackfoot was held to a 22-yard Franklin Garcia field goal the entire second half.
Blackfoot coach Stan Buck told his team after the game that it was a good win, and it was time to focus on next week’s potential playoff game.
To earn a playoff spot the Broncos had to win and get a win by Pocatello over Burley, as the Indians won their game 35-32 midway through the Broncos game — paving the way for Blackfoot to seal their own fate.
Blackfoot finishes its regular season 4-5 and 2-3 District 6.
Young finished the game 11-of-18 for 114 yards a touchdown and an interception for Blackfoot. Vanorden finished with 29 yards in seven carries and two touchdowns.
Wray finished 21-of-37 for 205 yards three touchdowns and an interception. Hanson caught seven passes for 94 yards and the three touchdowns, Brandon McBride caught eight passes for 84 yards.
Shelley finishes its season 2-7 and 0-5 in conference.
“I don’t know what the future holds for me,” Monahan said. “But I am excited to see where this senior class goes from here. They have helped build this program.”