POCATELLO – One, two and then three Pocatello pass rushers were coming after scrambling Shelley quarterback Jake Wray.
The fourth defender hit Wray in the chest, but it was a second after Wray got off a pass to an open Wyatt Remington for an 18-yard touchdown pass on third down and 14 in the middle of the fourth quarter to give the Russets a 26-14 lead, which ended up being the final score Friday at Holt Arena.
“We trust him. The guys trust him,” Shelley coach Jake Monahan said of his QB. “We just have the confidence in them to go do it and they did, so it kudos to them.”
Wray said he missed an open receiver earlier in the play. To start, the senior faked hand offs to two different players, scrambled to his left – where three Pocatello defenders charged after him – before turning right to find Pocatello’s Trei Hough right in front of him and Remington wide open across the field.
Pocatello (1-4, 0-1 4A District 4-5) responded by moving 64 yards down the field to Shelley’s 6 for fourth down and 1. Indians quarterback Sheldon Romriell, subbing in for injured Kobee Gunter, faced six oncoming rusher in a blitz when he tried tossing to outlet Lorenzo Brower. But Russets defensive lineman Alex Staten batted the pass down.
“We’re having a hard time in that physical battle,” Indians coach Dave Spillett said. “Once, it’s down there in the red zone, it’s man for man, and we’re not getting the movement we need there.”
Pocatello, which never led, was facing a 12-7 deficit in the second quarter when they were stopped for no yardage twice at the goal line to end its fifth drive of the game. After getting the ball back at Shelley’s 20 on the next drive, Indians quarterback Kobee Gunter threw an interception to Remington in the end zone.
With the win, Shelley (2-3, 0-1 4A District 6) ends a three-game losing streak in which it lost by an average score of 38-15. It took rising above muck that was a sloppy game on both sides to become victorious. Penalties were plenty, plus Shelley had two turnovers and ended a drive inside Pocatello’s 15 at the end of the first half because the Russets ran out of time with no timeouts.
“We feel like we dominated every aspect of the game physically, on the clock,” Monahan said of a first half that amounted to 12 points and 284 yards. “But I imagine we had a Kardashian-butt ton of yards in that first half that we just didn’t turn into points, so we were positive. We just needed to come out and keep it going.”
But the Russets improve their record to 2-1 against teams in 4A, its new classification after moving up from 3A.
While Shelley makes an upward trajectory, Pocatello has lost its third consecutive game. The Indians were called for four offside penalties in the game, indicative a mistake-prone game. It started when Gunter threw an interception on Pocatello’s first drive of the game to put Shelley in position to score the first TD.
Gunter, who is the Indians’ main offensive weapon, left the game with a leg injury at the end of the third quarter.
Pocatello plays next Friday at Canyon Ridge, while Shelley hosts Bonneville the same night.