Nampa Christian played Grangeville tough for one quarter, but gave up three scores in rapid succession late in the first half as the Bulldogs surged to a 54-7 win and a 2-0 start to their 2018 football season.
Blake Darr scored three times before halftime, catching a couple of touchdown passes from Tescher Harris, then returning an interception along the visitors' sideline, adding to the dismay of Trojans fans who moments earlier had seen one of their own crumpled by a collision during the kickoff return that ensued from Darr's second touchdown catch.
One fan watching from along the fence on the Nampa Christian side stated he thought the interception return had gone perhaps 32 yards.
"It's fake news anyway," he said.
The blowout was real enough Nampa Christian supporter loudly proclaimed it "rude" when, with 1.2 seconds left in the second quarter, Harris threw a short pass to Brandon Stump, who weaved deep into the Trojans defensive backfield. "They're up 36-7," he exclaimed with exasperation. "They should just kneel."
The intensity between the players on the field was palpable early on, cresting after the Trojans' Ethan Brands picked off a pass Harris intended for a receiver deep down the middle of the field. Grangeville had blown out Nampa Christian on the football field last fall and Nampa Christian had ended Grangeville's bid for a baseball title last spring. The Trojans sagged as the score became increasingly lopsided, but the Bulldogs were unrelenting after halftime, exemplified by a leaping effort Booker Bush made to reach the end zone late in the third quarter.
After taking the lead on Darr's first score of the night, then having fallen briefly behind 7-6 after Brands' big return, Grangeville pulled ahead for good on a touchdown run by Noah Kaschmitter. Early in the second quarter, the Bulldogs scored essentially uncontested from the two-yard hash when no Trojan lined up across from Kyle Frei, who caught both Harris's attention before the snap and his throw.
Up next, Grangeville (2-0) is scheduled to host Clarkston at 7 p.m. next Friday, Sept. 7.