Joyful Rain Photography / Joy Swift
With a 36-20 semifinal road win over Carey, Salmon River’s title defense will come down to a rematch against a Kendrick team the Savages last faced during the 2015 quarterfinals — a game SRHS won 48-20. Pictured, Salmon River’s Gabe Gonzalez sprints ahead. Gonzalez filled in for primary running back Canyon Harper, who left the game with a knee injury during the second quarter.
As of Tuesday, November 15, 2016
POCATELLO Salmon River’s march to the 1AD2 title game began with the defending state champions ranked atop the classification according to the idahosports.com coaches poll — a status the Savages never relinquished. A loss to Lapwai Week Five broke a 13-game winning streak, and while media pollsters dropped SRHS behind Dietrich, the Savages have won six in a row since then.
The new streak includes a four-point triumph over 2015 runner-up Deary and, as of last Friday, a two-touchdown win over Carey.
To the semifinal game, Carey brought a record that had included a 36-6 loss to Dietrich.
Dietrich was eliminated — barely — by Butte County, and Butte County was knocked out by Kendrick in lopsided fashion last Friday night at the Kibbie Dome.
Salmon River’s longest road trip of the season ended with a 36-20 win, during which Tucker Boyd threw for two touchdowns, ran for two touchdowns and threw for two conversions.
The Savages led 8-0 on a touchdown catch by Canyon Harper and a conversion from Boyd to Gabe Gonzalez.
The Savages made it 14-0 when Boyd broke a run for a 32-yard score during the second quarter, and Carey replied with a rushing touchdown that kept the Panthers in striking distance.
Later in the second quarter, Boyd tallied a one-yard run, and during the third quarter, Salmon River put the contest out of reach with a Clayton Shepherd touchdown catch and a short touchdown run by Gonzalez.
Harper — Salmon River’s leading rusher and one of the team’s most effective defenders — was sidelined throughout the second half by a knee injury.
Kendrick’s run to the state final also includes a loss to a Whitepine League upper division powerhouse, Troy.
But the Tigers and Savages have also held two opponents in common: Kendrick beat Deary 20-0 Oct. 28 at Deary, and Kendrick beat Council 28-22 during a quarterfinal at the Kibbie Dome.
For reference, SHRS beat Deary 40-34 and beat Council 42-28 — with both games in Riggins.
Coming — Kendrick (9-1) enters the state championship game averaging 48 points per game offensively and, with four shutouts to their credit, the Tigers have allowed fewer than 12 points per game on average.
Salmon River (10-1) has scored 45 per game and allowed 22 per game.
The finale this Saturday afternoon, at 1 p.m. MT Nov. 19 at Middleton, will mark Kendrick’s longest road trip of the season.