POCATELLO – The Snake River Panthers got their revenge against an old foe on Friday night. It couldn’t have come at a better time as they advanced to the 3A state championship game with a huge 35-8 blowout over longtime rival Marsh Valley. The Eagles won 14-0 earlier this season in a game played in a rainstorm.
“I felt that the last time we played them at their place that circumstances just didn’t make for an even game,” Snake River coach Jeff Dalley said. “The kids had talked about wanting a little revenge and they worked real hard all week preparing for tonight’s game.”
All the work certainly paid off in a big way for the Panthers as they simply dominated play, especially along both fronts of the line of scrimmage.
Marsh Valley got the first score of the night as a broken tackle led to a Tyeson Iverson 48-yard touchdown score. But that was the last mistake the Panther defense made.
Time and time again, the Eagles went to their vaunted rushing attack only to have the ball stuffed back in their laps as the Panther defense stood firm in the face of the rush.
“Coach Toulouse [Jeff] had a great game plan coming in and the kids executed that game plan to perfection tonight,” Dalley said. “Marsh Valley is a great team so to hold them to just eight points then you have to take your hat off to the defensive coaching staff and the kids on that defense.”
With the Eagle offense under wraps, the Snake River offense took the game over, utilizing a nice blend of both the run and the pass.
The Panthers tied the game with a 1-yard touchdown strike from Wyatt Wray to Andrez Garza and then a pass from Wray to Garza for the two-point conversion midway through the second quarter.
After a three-and-out by the defense, Snake River took the lead for good four minutes later when Wray found a streaking Bret Parkinson for a 19-yard touchdown. Cooper Peterson added the extra point and the Panthers led 15-8 heading to the locker room for the half.
“We knew that we could do better against Marsh Valley than the last time when we played them,” Emmett Smith said. “On their field we just couldn’t get any traction and we couldn’t throw the ball. But in here, in the dome we knew that we would be able to do all of our offense.”
The second half started the way that the first half ended with the Panther defense standing tall as it forced a three-and-out.
On the ensuing drive, Snake River turned to its ground game and pounded the ball down the field on a drive that eventually was capped with a Smith 4-yard touchdown blast.
“All week long we talked about not letting off in the second half and late in the ball game,” Dalley said. “We really stressed playing for the entire four quarters and tonight we played well for the entire game.”
The Panthers played add on over the remainder of the game with another Smith touchdown run in the third quarter and a 2-yard plunge over the endline by sophomore Brad Coombs for the game's final tally on the first play of the fourth quarter.
“It made for a fun game to get up on them like we did,” Smith said. “You could tell by the end that they were down and out.”
Snake River will now play in the 3A state title game next week. The venue will be Holt Arena but there has yet to be a time announced. They will play the winner of today's Fruitland-Weiser game.
“Last year we kind of went into the championship game wide- eyed,” Dalley said. “This year we will have a better feel for it and the kids know what they will have to do.”
Smith, who also played in last year's state title game, echoed his coach’s sentiments.
“Last year we got into the stadium and saw how big they were and we just got kind of intimidated I think,” Smith said. “We just need to come out with confidence and be prepared and we will be able to get it done. I think that the Blackfoot game will be good for us because Blackfoot is a big and physical team just like what we will face next week.”
Snake River 0 15 13 7 – 35
Marsh Valley 0 8 0 0 – 8
11:11 MV-Tyeson Iverson 48 run (run good) 0-8
7:08 SR-Andrez Garza 1 pass (Garza pass from Wray) 8-8
3:43 SR-Bret Parkinson 19 pass (Cooper Peterson kick) 15-8
7:10 SR-Emmett Smith 4 run (Cooper Peterson kick) 22-8
4:06 SR-Emmett Smtih 1 run (kick failed) 28-8
11:57 SR-Brad Coombs 2 run (Cooper Peterson kick) 35-8
Snake River passing – Wyatt Wray 7-13 110 2TD; Rushing – Emmett Smith 12-81 2TD, Chad VanOrden 7-56, Brad Coombs 4-9 TD, Andres Garza 2-12, Adrian Castaneda 1-17, Nate Martin 1-4, Wyatt Wray 2-0; Receiving – Andrez Garza 4-59 TD, Bret Parkinson 2-28 TD, Emmett Smith 1-23