TWIN FALLS — For the 2018 Idaho Falls Tigers, it has been a tale of two seasons.
One where they were 2-3 and had to win out, and another one where they won out.
It was more of the same story for the surging Tigers on Friday night as Idaho Falls scored a 33-14 road win over the Twin Falls Bruins in the opening round of the 4A state playoffs.
It was the fifth-straight win for the Tigers, and the fourth-straight trip to the state playoffs for the program.
“We started (the season) a little slow, but we’re peaking at the right time,” senior lineman Max Edmisten said. “We’re peaking, and we’re having a lot of fun.”
Fellow seniors Kalvin Bowen, Cam Conrad and Chase Baker were having more than just a little fun Friday night, each turning in career highlights.
For the second time this season, Bowen had a pair of interceptions (Blackfoot). But for the first time this season, he scored a pair of touchdowns.
Bowen got Idaho Falls on the board with a 34-yard pick-6 early in the first quarter, taking the sting out of a first-possession fumble for the Tigers.
Bowen later scored on a 27-yard bullet from quarterback Cannon Thompson on a fourth-down play in the fourth quarter, putting the game out of reach at 26-7.
“All of us seniors work well together, and we’ve found all the right pieces at the right time, and we’re putting them together,” Bowen said. “We’ve got some momentum going, and we want to keep it going.”
For Conrad’s part, the senior tailback pushed his season rushing number past the 2,000-yard mark with 314 yards on 27 carries — including a 95-yard fourth-quarter rumble for his only TD of the game.
Like Bowen, Baker had a pair of TDs, one on a 21-yard run, and another on a 11-yard, fourth-down reception.
Similar to the way the Tigers started the season, Friday night’s game against the Bruins was a test of resilience.
Over the game’s first six minutes, Idaho Falls lost two fumbles and allowed Twin Falls’ freshman Jake Humphrey to take a kickoff back 89 yards for a score.
The Tigers lost another fumble later in the half, but somehow entered the halftime break leading 14-7, thanks to a defensive effort that limited Twin Falls to 80 yards.
Idaho Falls tightened up on both sides of the ball in the second half, scoring of three of four possessions while limiting the Bruins to a garbage time score in the final minute.
In all, Idaho Falls had 484 yards of offense in the win.
Twin Falls closes its season at 7-3, unable to convert the District 4 top seed into a second state playoff game.
Idaho Falls (7-3) will next play Vallivue in the state quarterfinals.