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Salmon River bounces Deary


Salmon River's Canyon Harper became a focus of Deary's defense by way of bruising runs during a 50-12 SRHS win in the quarterfinal game held Nov. 3 in Riggins.

Photo by Andrew Ottoson
Salmon River's Canyon Harper became a focus of Deary's defense by way of bruising runs during a 50-12 SRHS win in the quarterfinal game held Nov. 3 in Riggins.

— With head coach Charlie Shepherd's last season in charge coming to an end, the Salmon River football team added at least one more week to his storied run with a 50-12 win over Deary Saturday afternoon, Nov. 3, at SRHS.

"I was nervous the whole game," Shepherd said immediately afterward. "It wasn't until halfway through the third quarter I finally started relaxing, because I just have too much respect for Deary. They've always played us so tough in these playoff games. This is the first time the home field advantage came through for us against them. What a great crowd -- we've got some football fans, and that was fun."

Salmon River led 6-0 after the first series, which Ethan Shepherd capped off with a 34-yard touchdown pass to Randy McClure with 8:32 left in the opening quarter.

Deary answered with a scoring pass from Bodee Swanson to Skkyler Frazier about two minutes later, and held a 6-all tie going into the second quarter.

But five seconds into the second quarter, Salmon River went ahead 14-6 on a touchdown plunge by Canyon Harper, followed by a two-point conversion pass from Shepherd to Harper.

Justin Whitten came up with two of the game's best defensive plays to keep Deary from getting even later in the second quarter. After a delay of game penalty set them back midway through the third quarter, the Savages committed a turnover -- an interception on their own side of midfield -- and the Mustangs were on the march, reaching the SRHS two-yard hash. On first-and-goal, the Savages gave up a yard but not the score. On second-and-goal, Whitten and Harper stopped Deary for no gain. And on third-and-goal, Whitten retreated into coverage and was well-positioned when a pass came his way -- and he picked it off in the end zone.

After halftime, the Savages increased their lead to 22-6 on a 35-yard pass from Shepherd to McClure and another conversion pass to Harper, and increased the lead to 28-6 after Deary turned it over on the ensuing kickoff. Harper finished a five-play series after the turnover with a 14-yard run with 2:34 left in the third.

Salmon River scored thrice more during the fourth quarter: on a 91-yard run by Harper, on a seven-yard run by Harper, and on a 56-yard interception return by Reece Jones that effectively ended the contest.

"We showed up as a unit and put together a really good game in all phases," Shepherd said. "We ran the ball really well, we threw the ball really well and we caught the ball really well, offensively. And of course defensively, holding them to 12 points, with as explosive of offense as they have, is just exceptional defense. I'm just really proud of the kids battling through the season we had, with the early injuries and early disappointments. To come back and come together and be one of the last four teams playing is just really awesome."

Next, Salmon River is set to play Lighthouse Christian in the 1AD2 semifinal round at 4 p.m. MT Saturday, Nov. 10, at Holt Arena.


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