For a few brief seconds, from the idahosports.com webcasters’ vantage, Prairie appeared to have struck first last Saturday, Nov. 21, at the 1AD1 state championship game. But from the officials’ vantage, Valley’s defensive line had somehow kept PHS standout Jake Bruner out of the end zone.
Valley went on to win, 54-32.
The key stop came on the fourth of a set of downs that had begun, first-and-goal, at the Valley 10. On first down, an option pitch to Terran Peery gained four yards. On second down, Peery started to the right and cut back into what looked like an acre of open space to the left, but gained just three yards before a horde of Vikings rallied across to make the tackle. After standing him up at about the three, a Valley player ripped the ball out of Peery’s hands and broke away into the open field – but the officials called him back, ruling the action was dead before the turnover.
On third down, Bruner got to the edge with an option keeper, but was torqued down before he could stretch out toward the goal, which was then just a yard away. On fourth down, on a traditional quarterback sneak, Bruner stepped into what looked for a split-second like a vacancy near the center of Valley’s formation. Yet before Bruner broke the end zone’s plane – so the officials ruled – Valley’s nose guard sidestepped into the same opening, grabbed Bruner and dragged him backwards, preventing a touchdown, resulting in a turnover on downs.
Taking over at what the broadcasters described as their “quarter-yard line,” the Vikings converted a third-and-long with a pass thrown out of their own end zone, then, mixing runs and passes, marched all the way down the field. They scored, and the ensuing kickoff took a sideways bounce on Holt Arena’s rubber surface, skipping past two Pirates, each of whom would have had a bead on any predictable bounce. Instead, Valley grabbed it, and with it, took control of the championship game.
The Pirates trailed 22-0 before Peery housed a 31-yard touchdown from Bruner during the second quarter. PHS trailed by 34 points, 42-8, during the third quarter – a stunning development for a team that had won every other game this season by an average of nearly 44 points.
Prairie scored three times during the second half: on short runs by Brandon Anderson and Calvin Hinkelman, and one a mid-range pass from Bruner to Devin Bruegeman. PHS converted all four of its extra point opportunities, with runs by Peery and Bruner and passes from Bruner to Peery and Brandon Higgins.