BLACKFOOT – Cold weather and a clear night is just what the doctor ordered for the Blackfoot Broncos as they hosted Sandpoint for the first game of the State playoffs. An even matchup on paper that would leave anyone guessing as to how it the game would unfold, was anything but even.
The Broncos jumped out to an early lead of 6-0 in the first quarter before pounding it in for another six. Sandpoint would be reeling early with nothing but questions as to why they couldn't stop the Broncos running or passing game. At the end of the first the Broncos had a 12-0 lead with no signs of slowing down.
Swapping directions would make no difference in the game as the second quarter started and the Broncos went back to punishing the Bulldogs. They would move down the field after a few solid rushing plays where Craig Young handed the ball off to Dragen Robinson who would be the Bulldogs kryptonite. Reece Robinson and Bowen Robinson would get in on the touches too, moving the ball downfield with ease. Dragen would eventually punch the ball in for the Broncos third touchdown of the half with the Dominique Sanchez tacking on the extra point bringing the score to 19-0 Blackfoot.
The Broncos would hold the Bulldogs to a three-and-out following the kickoff and would score after a long rushing play down the sideline by Reece Robinson.
Following the kickoff, the Bulldogs would appear to be shutdown yet again by the fierce Green Wall, but a roughing the kicker on fourth and five would give the Bulldogs a redo. That reset of downs put just enough fuel in the Bulldogs' tank to march for the first time past the 50-yard-line into Bronco territory with no signs of stopping. The Bulldogs would advance to the Bronco 20-yard-line before quarterback Jaxon Pettit would throw an interception to Reece Robinson in the end zone.
The Broncos would use this momentum shift to their benefit marching down the field yet again. Young would connect with Kameron Lawes for a quick first down following a pass interference on the Bulldogs out across the 50. Once in the red zone, the Broncos would do what they do best, pound the ball in, but fell short turning it over on downs.
The Bulldogs took over deep in their own territory and would be stopped just as quickly as they started. They would be kicking from deep in their own territory and Reece Robinson would make a decent return.
The Broncos offense came back onto the field and went to the air with only a minute left in the half. They would march 55 yards to pay dirt with 10 seconds left in the half. The Bulldogs would run one play following the kickoff to go make adjustments with a score of 33-0 at the half.
The second half would be just like the first. The Broncos received the kickoff and moved down the field with precision to land Dragen Robinson in the end zone yet again bringing the score to 40-0 after Sanchez tacked the extra point on.
The Bronco defense continued to play solid ball, and up to this point had only allowed the Bulldogs to see their side of the 50-yard-line once. The defense controlled the Bulldog offense locking them down play after play. Sandpoint would eventually pick up a few first downs on the legs of Jaxon Pettit and were threatening to cross the Bronco 50 for the second time. The defense recognized this and put held them to a punt which would end in a Reece Robinson fair catch attempt that would be flagged for interference because of running into him after calling for said fair catch.
At this point Coach Stan Buck would focus on running the clock out rather than running the score up on the Bulldogs. The Bronco offense would spend every second of the play clock available before snapping the ball. Tying this strategy to picking up first downs on key third and shorts would bring the game clock to under five minutes. Solid defense down near the goal line by Sandpoint would prevent the Broncos from sending the game into the mercy rule, and would be just enough to power the offense to its first touchdown in the game with only minutes left in regulation, bringing the score to 40-6.
The Broncos offense would continue to play the clock to finish out the game and would eventually turn it over on downs after solid running by the Broncos backup running back. With less than a minute left in the game, the Bulldogs would take to the air in efforts to pick up some hefty yardage with hopes of lessing the gap between the two teams' scores. All effort would be for naught as the Broncos will advance to the next game in the playoffs where they will either play Minico or Preston depending on the outcomes of their respective games.