IDAHO FALLS — It was a good old fashioned, smash mouth football game at Thunder Stadium on Thursday night as the Shelley Russets looked to remain perfect in High Country Conference play as they visited Hillcrest.
At the end of a very rapid, physical contest the home standing Knights got the best of it on the scoreboard, posting a 29-21 victory over the Russets.
"I just told my kids that I am extremely proud of them," Shelley head coach Dave Hadley said. "That is a good football team that we just played, we gave ourselves chances to win that game but we had a couple of breakdowns on some down and distance type stuff but for the most part it was two good football teams that executed well on both sides of the ball. There is no shame in losing to a good football team when you do things well and I thought that we did things well tonight."
After a scoreless first quarter Hillcrest made a blunder to start the second quarter, going for a fourth and two on their own 37-yard line. The Shelley defense was equal to the task, bringing down the ball carrier on the play short of the first down, setting the offense up in great field position.
For a time it looked as if that field position was going to be squandered but on a fourth and seven, sophomore quarterback Chad Leckington took off, finishing his punishing 11-yard run by bowling over the Hillcrest safety.
On the ensuing play, a pumped up offensive line blew open a hole for Aaron Adams and Adams did what he does best, rumbling 24-yards for the games opening score. A McKay Cannon extra point later and the Russets led 7-0 with 8:35 remaining in the second quarter.
"I thought that Tate Foster and Allen Mesick did a great job of blocking and up front we did a good job of getting some down blocks and Aaron carried us for a while." Hadley said.
This is Hillcrest however and the Knights turned to what they do best on the next drive, pounding the ball on the ground, eventually scoring a touchdown with 4:25 remaining. The try for two was no good and Shelley still led 7-6.
Hillcrest took a half time lead in large part to a 33-yard pass that could have been called back for the quarterback being over the line of scrimmage. The call was not made and the Knights capitalized with a 5-yard touchdown run and a 14-7 half-time advantage.
"We told the kids at half two things, number one to stay disciplined and to not look back at that play and keep their heads up," coach Hadley said. "They were down a little after giving up that late score but we told them that we need to play the game one play at a time and I thought that the kids did a good job of gutting up."
Hillcrest received the second half kick off but the Russet defense held on a fourth and four on their own 36.
Moments later Adams scored his second touchdown on the night, this time from 41-yards out, tying the game at 14-14.
After another fine defensive effort from the Russets, Shelley then took over on the 20-yard line. Nine plays later, Adams scored his third touchdown of the night giving the Russets a 21-14 lead with 7:59 remaining in the contest.
Adams finished the night with 206-yards rushing on 23 carries for the Russets.