Friday was far from a perfect night for football, unless you were an offensive lineman.
The temperature dipped into the mid-40s, the rain was steady throughout and the field turned into a slippery, sloppy mess. It was just how Blackfoot High School senior offensive lineman Lander Wall liked it.
Wall and his fellow linemen paved the way for Teegan Thomas’ big rushing night, and the Broncos defense did the rest in a 9-3 nonconference win over host Thunder Ridge.
“That was fun,” the 6-foot, 240-pound Wall said. “We knew we had to play physical and we did.”
Thomas was the beneficiary of the Broncos’ physical play, finishing with 209 yards and the game’s lone touchdown on 30 carries. The 5-7, 165-pound junior wore out the right side of the line, time after time taking the handoff and following his blockers for positive yards. Eight of his 30 carries went for at least 10 yards, all of them to the right side.
“He’s a good running back,” Wall said. “As soon as he finds a hole, he’s gone.”
But it took a few series for Thomas and the Broncos to get going.
Thunder Ridge struck first, putting together an 11-play drive on its second possession that ended with Jason Rogel’s 23-yard field goal with 27 seconds left in the first quarter.
Thomas, who ground out 167 yards on 23 first-half carries, was at his best on the Broncos’ lone scoring drive, carrying 11 times for 74 yards including the go-ahead 3-yard run with 6:34 left in the half. The scoring drive itself covered 80 yards in 14 plays.
“I congratulated the kids for doing a good job up front,” Blackfoot coach Stan Buck said. “We moved the ball, but we shot ourselves in the foot a few times.”
Thomas’ last carry was his worst – a 1-yard gain on the first drive of the third quarter that ended with a fumble and an injury that took him out of the game.
The Broncos defense took it from there, keeping the Titans out of the end zone and limiting them to 139 total yards. Reece Robinson, who took over for Thomas in the backfield and finished with 47 yards rushing, put the finishing touches on the win by intercepting passes on back-to-back possessions in the final two minutes.
“I’m really excited about our defense,” Buck said. “Any time you hold a team to three points, you’ve done a good job.”
The Broncos (3-1) return to 4A District 6 play Friday against Hillcrest at Thunder Stadium. The Titans (2-2) travel to Kuna the same night for a nonconference game.
BLACKFOOT 9, THUNDER RIDGE 3
Blackfoot 0 7 0 2 – 9
Thunder Ridge 3 0 0 0 – 3
TR – Jason Rogel 23 field goal, 0:27
B – Teegan Thomas 3 run (Dominique Sanchez kick), 6:34
B – Thunder Ridge fumble in end zone, safety
RUSHING – Blackfoot: Teegan Thomas 30-209, Jace Grimmett 9-6, Reece Robinson 18-47. Thunder Ridge: Tao Johnson 7-(-18), Connor Belnap 5-5, Kaysen Isom 11-34
PASSING – Blackfoot: Grimmett 1-9-1 45, Thunder Ridge: Johnson 118
RECEIVING – Blackfoot: Kameron Lawes 1-45, Thunder Ridge: Lane Gillespie 2-13, Isom 2-30, Kayden Toldson 3-59, Dutch Driggs 1-16