ARIMO — Wet, muddy and miserable. Those three words describe the total experience for the Snake River Panthers on Friday night as they traveled to Marsh Valley for their conference opener on a less than ideal field.
Two days of rain certainly helped the home town eagles as they took advantage of the sloppy conditions, pounding the ball at the Panthers on every opportunity, eventually culminating in a 14-0 shut out.
"The field conditions helped them out because they are a team that likes to go three yards and a cloud of dust," Snake River head coach Jeff Dalley said. "We try to spread them out and let our kids make cuts but we weren't able to do that tonight. I don't want to take anything away from Marsh Valley though. They did what they had to do."
Indeed the Eagles controlled the game with their compact running game as they veered their way through the Panther defense. The Panthers received the opening kick off but were forced to punt on their first possession after three plays. Marsh Valley then took the ball, moving the ball methodically down the field they burned nearly ten minutes off the clock before scoring the first touchdown of the evening late in the first quarter.
Snake River responded with a nice drive of their own as they also moved the ball well via the running game but unfortunately the drive stalled on a fourth and two play from the Marsh Valley 4-yard line.
Snake River never saw the ball again for the remainder of the first half as Marsh Valley methodically marched the ball down field. Marsh Valley failed to score on the drive, despite getting a free play after both teams had began heading to the locker room for the half.
"They were just better up front tonight," Coach Dalley said. "We were able to get a few stops on the defense but they did a good job of controlling the clock and keeping our offense on the sideline."
Out of the break the game turned into a defensive struggle as neither team were able to muster much in the way of offense. Snake River was able to mount a charge early in the fourth quarter as they marched the ball to the Eagle 4-yard line. The Marsh Valley defense stiffened at just the right time however as they sacked quarterback Wyatt Wray on a third and goal play and then forced an incompletion on fourth down to thwart the threat by the Panthers.
"That hurt us a lot," Coach Dalley said. "We had a good drive going there and when it mattered most we just didn't execute like we can. To get inside the five on two occasions and not come away with any points was disappointing."
Marsh Valley effectively put the game out of reach with a touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter as the Panther aerial attack was unable to lift off on the slick runway.
"We couldn't throw the ball and Marsh just loaded up in the box on us to stop the run," Coach Dalley said.
Snake River (3-3, 0-1) will look to rebound from the disappointing loss when they host Bear Lake next Friday at 7 P.M.
SRHS 0 0 0 0 - 0
MVHS 8 0 0 6 - 14
Snake River: passing - Wyatt Wray 3-16 26, Emmett Smith 1-1 16; rushing - Emmett Smith 12-38, Wyatt Wray 9-28, Chad VanOrden 2-3; Brad Coombs 3-12, Andres Garza 3-16, Adrian Castaneda 1-9; receiving - Bret Parkinson 2-22, Andres Garza 1-7, Chad VanOrden 1-13