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Deary ends Salmon River's season


The Salmon River defense held Deary out of the end zone late in the second quarter of what became a 46-16 loss to the Mustangs; at the time, this tackle by Ethan Shepherd and Devan Branstetter kept the Savages in the game.

Photo by Andrew Ottoson
The Salmon River defense held Deary out of the end zone late in the second quarter of what became a 46-16 loss to the Mustangs; at the time, this tackle by Ethan Shepherd and Devan Branstetter kept the Savages in the game.

— The Salmon River boys' football season ended against one of the strongest 1AD2 football teams in the state Friday night in the Kibbie Dome, where Deary scored the final 40 points, reversing an early Savages lead. By a 46-16 final score, the Mustangs advanced to the semifinal round of the state playoffs; Deary will play Carey at Holt Arena next weekend.

"The better team won tonight," Salmon River head coach Charlie Shepherd said. "I don't think there's any question there. They're very well balanced and a complete team. I was very pleased with my kids coming out in the first quarter and competing like they did. But once Deary got their feet under them, they really showed their dominance. We threw everything at them, but we were outmanned. They were very deserving."

Salmon River scored two touchdowns before Deary came up with the game's first defensive stop early in the second quarter. The Savages' first drive covered 65 yards in 13 plays capped by standout running back Canyon Harper's run from a yard out -- a series that might have ended on a fourth-and-three play if not for Devan Branstetter's skillful throw to Randy McClure on a play-action pass.

Deary answered seven plays later, but Branstetter's conversion pass to McClure stood for a moment as the difference in an 8-6 game. Harper then broke a 67-yard touchdown run and caught the ensuing conversion throw from Branstetter for a 16-6 Salmon River lead. But those were the last points the Savages would score.

"We capitalized on their over-aggressiveness in trying to stop Canyon in the running game and our passing game really worked, but they backed off and started taking away that pass -- and then we had to earn it," Shepherd said, "but we just didn't have the manpower up front. To their credit, they played really well out in space, one-on-one, in all matchups."

Deary's next drive elapsed two-and-a-half minutes of clock time and ended on a 42-yard touchdown connection from Colten Heath to Jalen Kirk -- the two main Mustangs. Heath had scored Deary's first on a four-yard option keeper run, and his 27-yard option keeper run with 8:12 left in the first half proved the winning touchdown. Heath scored from 11 yards out with 1:59 left in the second, and Deary came within a yard of scoring again before halftime.

Salmon River's best defensive stand of the night forced a turnover on downs just shy of the goal line, but while that kept it a two-touchdown game, Deary effectively ended the contest by covering 78 yards in nine plays -- eight runs and a third-and-six screen pass -- capped by Heath's 36-yard touchdown run.

The Savages handed off to Harper again and again, then split him out wide to draw the defense's attention away from McClure on a fourth-and-six, which Branstetter converted with a throw. But the next time they tried the play action that had worked so well early on, Deary's defense picked off the pass. Kirk scored the last touchdown of the contest on a 36-yard run early in the fourth.

Prairie 54, Wilder 6

WILDER - The Pirates ran away with their 1AD1 quarterfinal 54-6 over Wilder, with the Prairie boys posting 398 rushing yards on 41 attempts during a nasty and cold rain Friday night. Spencer Schumacher scored three rushing touchdowns, Jacob Stubbers scored two and Cole Martin scored one. A Schmacher-to-Hunter Chaffee pass -- a 30-yard completion for a touchdown during the first quarter -- was Prairie's only successful pass play.

The PHS defense yielded only 164 yards of offense, and with the win, Prairie will play Oakley in the 1AD1 semifinals next week. Oakley beat Whitepine League familiar Lapwai 56-12 in the quarterfinals Friday night.


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