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Valley’s air attack evades Kubs radar

Valley 60, Kamiah 20

Kamiah's Cristian Lopez delivered the first big highlight of the 2017 Kubs football season with this stiffarm, which allowed him to turn a short throw from Tyrel Henry up the home sideline. Lopez outran most of Valley's defenders, but was nearly caught from behind -- only to high-step out of an ankle grab. His touchdown catch-and-run was a 77-yarder, and it leveled the score against Valley at 6-6 early in the first quarter. Valley went on to win the Sept. 1 season opener 60-20.

Photo by Andrew Ottoson
Kamiah's Cristian Lopez delivered the first big highlight of the 2017 Kubs football season with this stiffarm, which allowed him to turn a short throw from Tyrel Henry up the home sideline. Lopez outran most of Valley's defenders, but was nearly caught from behind -- only to high-step out of an ankle grab. His touchdown catch-and-run was a 77-yarder, and it leveled the score against Valley at 6-6 early in the first quarter. Valley went on to win the Sept. 1 season opener 60-20.



— “They’ve got speed, they’re physical, they’ve got the total package,” Kamiah head coach Nels Kludt said of his opening-night opponent after his team’s 60-20 loss to Valley Friday, Sept. 1. “They beat Challis last week about like they beat us. That’s a good team.”

Kludt’s squad had trouble covering 6-5, 180-pound tight end Zane Mussman all night, and even in the rare moments when the Kubs forced Valley into third-and-long or fourth-and-long situations, the Vikings knew they could always find a trump in the middle of the field.

“He’s fast and tall and he has great hands,” Kludt said. “We tried a few things on him, and not many of them worked. You have to pay extra attention to him, and that hurts you in the run game. He’s just a handful. ... Defensively, we didn’t play well and I’m disappointed in that, because we have potential to play a lot better defensively. But we didn’t tackle well or get off of blocks. Coverage was OK at times, but we didn’t do enough good things on defense to be competitive. Anybody can score in eight-man, but to be competitive statewide or in your conference, you have to slow the other team down or you’re not going to go very far.”

But offensively, the Kubs showed some explosiveness.

“We did some good things,” Kludt said. “We moved the ball well at times. We weren’t consistent. We had guys in and out of the lineup, with different linemen in there, and that didn’t help our consistency very much. But we’re ahead on offense of where we were. We need to run the ball consistently to set up the pass.”

When the Kubs did throw, it came in the form of touchdown strikes from Tyrel Henry to Cristian Lopez, Gabe Eades and Kaleb Oatman.

“Cristian is a guy who when you get the ball in his hands, he’s going to show his speed,” Kludt said. “He’s been in the system and he knows his role. You put him on the track and he’s a state qualifier in the 100 and 200, and if you give him the ball in the open field, good things happen. He’s more than a track guy -- he’s got a little football in him, too.”

Henry’s first touchdown pass was a short-range throw to Lopez, who broke two tackles on his way to the end zone, 77 yards down the home sideline. Henry’s second involved a bit of a dipsy-do in the backfield, where he rolled out, then cut back, then rolled back to his right, avoiding the defense and buying time for Eades to find an opening in the end zone.

“I’d liken that to basketball,” Kludt said. “You saw the point guard come out of him on that one — directing things and shedding people. And he’s always looking down-field, and not just looking to run. He’s always looking to make a throw.”

The touchdown pass to Oatman came early in the third quarter, but by then the Kubs were still trailing, 40-20.

Coming — Kamiah is slated to host Clearwater Valley on Friday, Sept. 8.

“We’ll give the guys a day off and start back practicing on Monday to get ready for Kooskia,” Kludt said. “That’s always a big game, and that’s a game we lost last year.”



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