THOMAS — It was a new look Snake River team that took to the home field for Friday nights homecoming clash with Aberdeen as the two headed quarterback rotation was scraped in favor for a more traditional single signal caller and the change was effective as the Panthers sent their large crowd away happy with a 24-0 whitewashing of the Tigers.
“We just felt that we needed a little more continuity at the quarterback position which is why we made the change,” Snake River head coach Jeff Dalley said. “We thought that Dawson [Bingham] would do a great job and help us out at several different positions and it worked out just like we thought tonight.”
Wyatt Wray got the nod for the Panthers and the lanky quarterback rewarded his teams trust with a fine performance, finishing the evening with 12 completions on 21 pass attempts for 168-yards and a pair of touchdowns.
The 21 passing attempts was a season high for the Panthers and it proved to be a very effective strategy to say the least.
“We really didn’t come into the game thinking that we were going to throw it that many times but Aberdeen did a good job of stacking the box to take away the run so those were the plays that we called,” Coach Dalley said. “I didn’t realize that we had thrown that many balls but Wyatt did a good job and we had several kids make plays down the field tonight.”
The Panthers took the lead with a 6-yard touchdown plunge by Travis Robertson early in the first quarter. On the play, Robertson looked as if he was stopped cold at the line of scrimmage but the powerful back kept his feet churning, bounced the ball outside and raced into the end zone for what proved to be the game winning score.
The two teams then settled into a defensive struggle until late in the second quarter when Snake River erupted for a pair of quick strikes from Wray. The first a 21-yard pin point pass to Alex Lopez with just under three minutes until the half and the second a 5-yard pitch and catch to Bret Parkinson and after the perfect Cooper Peterson point after kicks the score stood at 21-0.
“We knew that Snake River was going to try and pound it as us with their running game because they do a good job of running the ball but I thought that our defense did a pretty good job of stopping that,” Aberdeen head coach Cory Hollingsworth said. “We made a couple of key mistakes that kept a couple of their drives alive though and in the end, we lost the time of possession which really hurt us. I don’t think that we had but maybe six possessions for the entire game.”
Aberdeen did put together a pair of nice drives but both stalled out in Snake River territory, one courtesy of a holding penalty that thwarted a potential score as a field goal was missed and the second when the Panther defense stiffened inside their own thirty to turn the Tigers over on downs.
“We had a couple of possessions where we were moving the ball pretty well but we just killed ourselves with big mistakes and missed out on our opportunity,” Coach Hollingsworth said. “It might have been a little different ball game if we didn’t shoot ourselves in the foot on just a couple of plays tonight.”
Rodrigo Bravo carried the load offensively for the Tigers as the big back earned 69 yards rushing on 13 carries in the defeat.
After the homecoming festivities and a fine performance by the Panther marching band, the two teams came out and traded blows in a second half that witnessed just three points generated by the two teams.
Cooper Peterson had the honors on the second half scoring as he split the uprights with a perfectly placed kick from 20-yards out.
“I was really proud of the way that the kids rebounded from last weeks loss,” Snake River coach Jeff Dalley said. “All week long we had a little better swagger during practice and we just played a little looser than we did last week. It was a great game for us and we just want to thank the fans.”
Both teams will have their bye week this week before returning to the field of play on October 7. Aberdeen (2-3) will be at the defending state champion West Side Pirates for a key conference tilt while Snake River (3-2) will be on the road at Marsh Valley for their conference opener with the Eagles.
SRHS 7 14 3 0 - 24
AHS 0 0 0 0 - 0
Snake River: passing - Wyatt Wray 12-21 168 2TD INT; Rushing - Emmett Smith 9-26, Nate Martin 8-39, Travis Robertson 2-12 TD, Andres Garza 3-11, Adrian Castaneda 2-9, Wyatt Wray 4-22, Brad Coombs 4-50; Recieving - Bret Parkinson 4-60 TD, Andres Garza 2-33, Alex Lopez 1-21 TD, Adrian Castaneda 2-24, Dawson Bingham 2-26
Aberdeen: passing - Brian Cerna 0-6; rushing - Brian Cerna 12-40, Rodrigo Bravo 13-69, Erik Rosales 2-9, Mike Wynn 4-35, Brenden Jolley 3-14