By MARK HIGH
BOISE — In a classic game of David vs Goliath the Snake River Panthers squared off with the top ranked an undefeated Fruitland Grizzlies on Saturday afternoon.
At the end of a rather physical contest, the Grizzlies proved without a shadow of a doubt that they are the top team in the 3A ranks, holding back the Panthers with a 42-14 victory.
"We had our chances, we knew that it was going to be tough they are a big physical team," Snake River head coach Jeff Dalley said. "They were the best team today, they are a big physical team and what they did to us, they earned that."
Fruitland came out clicking from the start, running out to a 20-0 lead in just over a quarter and a half of play.
Undaunted the Panthers came back, showing that late season determination that has served them so well.
Marching the ball down the field with a heavy dose of Emmett Smith, who finished the evening with 101-yards on the ground, the Panthers capped a late half drive with a 17-yard touchdown strike from C.J. Toulouse to Martin Hrabik. After a Cooper Peterson PAT, the score stood at 20-7 heading into the half.
Snake River pulled to within one score with 3:11 remaining in the third quarter when Toulouse split the seam in the Grizzly defense for a 28-yard touchdown run giving the Panther faithful hope of the upset as the score stood at 20-14.
"We've been down before but these kids are all heart and they will battle to the end," coach Dalley said. "We had a chance. We got it down to a one score game but it just got away from us at the end."
That was as close as the Panthers could get however as Fruitland reeled off 22 unanswered points, sending the Panthers home with the second place trophy, a feat that nearly no-one out side of the Moreland area thought was possible about a month ago.
"For us to be here is a big statement of where these kids ended and their hearts and how hard they worked this year," coach Dalley said. "The injuries we fought through and everything else that we went through is a great accomplishment for us as a team and I'm proud as I can be of these kids, they played a heck of a ball game."
Snake River 0 7 7 0 - 14
Fruitland 7 13 8 14 - 42
Fruitland 42, Snake River 14
F – Jordan Martin 29 run (Reed Johnson kick)
F – Daulton Blackwell 5 run (Johnson kick)
F – Reggie Ramirez 80 pass from Joe Martarano (kick failed)
SR – Martin Hrabik 17 pass from C.J. Toulouse (Cooper Peterson kick)
SR – Toulouse 28 run (Peterson kick)
F – Martarano 4 run (Martarano run)
F – Martarano 2 run (Johnson kick)
F – Martin 5 run (Johnson kick)
RUSHING – Fruitland: Coleson Warrington 5-30, Daulton Blackwell 17-89, Jordan Martin 11-97, Kris Olinger 1-4, Joe Martarano 11-57. Snake River: Emmett Smith 19-101, Derik Williams 5- -1, Martini Hrabi,k 2-5, Nathan Polatis 1-7, C.J. Toulouse 9-41.
PASSING – Fruitland: Joe Martarano 3-4-141-1-0. Snake River: C.J. Toulouse 7-12-112-1-2.
RECEIVING – Fruitland: Daulton Blackwell 2-13, Reggie Ramirez 1-80, Travis Holt 1-48. Snake River: Martin Hrabik 4-48, Dawson Bingham 1-36, Derik Williams 1-6, Emmett Smith 1-6.