Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Defense can’t hold off ‘Hawks in 28-6 finale

WRHS football wraps up campaign

Express Staff Writer

Wood River junior Hayden Thayer (left) carries the ball around the end, with teammates Austin Savaria (center) and Hagan Barsch (right) coming to help out during the Hailey home finale against Jerome Oct. 25. Photo by Willy Cook

     Wood River High School’s football team started off with a bang Friday night at Canyon Ridge—but the Riverhawks made most of the noise with their touchdown-celebrating cannon booms for the rest of the Great Basin Conference game.

     In a battle of last-place league teams, Canyon Ridge (2-7, 1-4 league) scored twice in the first quarter and twice in the fourth quarter for a 28-6 victory on a mild night in Twin Falls. Wood River (1-8, 0-5) dropped its eighth straight to end the season.

     The game started well for the visiting Wolverines. On the first play from the line of scrimmage, junior Austin Savaria carried a pitch around the right end and turned upfield for a 73-yard touchdown—his first as a varsity player. A crushing block by junior Hayden Thayer cleared the right end for Savaria.

     Yet that play 16 seconds into the game was the high offensive water mark for Wood River, which dealt with challenging field position the entire game. In 11 possessions, the Wolverines started seven times within their own 30-yard line.

     In contrast, Canyon Ridge had 11 possessions and started six of them at midfield or within Wood River territory.

     Statistically, the game was pretty even, Wood River outgaining Canyon Ridge 332-276 in total yardage led the running of senior Cooper Bailey (13 rushes, 96 yards) and improved passing by sophomore Alec Nordsieck (8-of-19, 71 yards).

     The Wolverine defense led by juniors Hagan Barsch (12 tackles) and Thayer (11) stepped up with important stops with their backs to the wall after falling behind 14-6 in the first quarter.

     Besides two Wood River turnovers that turned into Riverhawks touchdowns, the difference was really in the all-important third- and fourth-down situations. The Wolverines were 1-for-15 in that area, while Canyon Ridge was 6-for-16.

     Wood River fifth-year head coach Kevin Stilling said, “I thought our defense played especially well against the pass Friday and that was a major concern of ours.

     “For whatever reason, we just couldn't stop them when it mattered most—third and fourth downs. They did some things differently than we had planned for with their running game. We weren't able to adjust to it as well as I would have liked.”

     Eric Navarette’s interception for the ‘Hawks midway through the first quarter of a 7-6 game set up the second Canyon Ridge touchdown. All the Wolverine defense needed to prevent a 14-6 hole was to stop quarterback Teague Sweesy’s quarterback keeper on 4th-and-20 from the Wolverine 25.

     Instead, Sweesy bolted around the end for 22 yards and plunged for a one-yard TD three plays later.

     From that point through the fourth quarter, the Wood River defense came up big several times.

     Jon Reigle’s 10-yard quarterback sack ended an eight-play ‘Hawks drive that had moved into the red zone. Nice tackles by Thayer, junior Zach Swanson and sophomore Christopher Lentz thwarted another push into Hailey territory.

     And, Canyon Ridge opened the second half with a 14-play, 45-yard, five-minute push that ended at the Wolverine 9-yard-line with a couple of incomplete Sweesy passes and a timely tackle by Barsch on a Sweesy third-down quarterback keeper.

     Wood River’s best offensive drive came just before half as Nordsieck (3-for-4 for 35 yards) passed to Thayer on a screen and to Barsch, down-and-out for 15 yards. The 10-play, 42-yard, five-minute attack finally stalled at the ‘Hawks 10-yard-line.

     Throughout the game, penalties were an issue for each team. Wood River was whistled 12 times for 142 yards, and Canyon Ridge 10 times for 107 yards.

     Stilling said, “Penalties were an issue as they’ve been many times this season. It wouldn’t be as frustrating if it had been the same issue week in and week out. When you continue to make the same mistakes you can coach things up and try to improve. We had four chop blocks and four face-masking penalties called. Those are more than our entire season’s total for each type of penalty; frustrating to say the least.”

     The coach added, “This season was a trying one and we knew that was going to be the case unless we stayed amazingly healthy and we didn't.

     “Still, there are a number of bright spots looking to next season. We only lose four or five starters from this year's team. Every player coming back for us saw significant playing time. Many of them saw too much playing time certain weeks and some of them saw too much playing time every week.

     “I was impressed week-in and week-out with our kids’ ability to rise above circumstances and go out and give their best regardless of how many kids were running out of our locker room.

     “There are things that can be done and frankly have to be done differently for us to regain and maintain the same level of competition and improvement we experienced a few years ago. Some of that falls on the kids and some of that falls on me and our staff to make this program better. We have some very dedicated players and some very dedicated coaches who will help me to make that happen.”

     For the season, Bailey (6 TDs, 36 points) was the leading scorer and also finished with 70 rushes for 282 yards. He was the top receiver with 13 catches for 197 yards. Leading rusher was junior Champe Kotara (91 rushes, 419 yards), who was injured for the final game. Thayer ran for 271 yards.

     Thayer (47 tackles, 2 interceptions), senior co-captain Cody Richmond (43) and Barsch (42) led the defense. Quarterback Nordsieck (40-for-101, 551 yards) also picked off four passes.

     There will be a new champion in the State 4A playoffs with neither two-time champion Blackfoot nor last year’s runner-up Middleton returning for this year’s Milk Bowl tournament that begins Friday, Nov. 8 at four sites.

     Favored is Bishop Kelly of Boise (9-0), bumped off by Blackfoot in the first round last year. The unbeaten Knights host Kuna (7-2) Friday in a rematch of Bishop Kelly’s 35-20 win at Kuna earlier this season.

     Also Friday, Great Basin Conference king Twin Falls (7-2) entertains Century of Pocatello (6-3); Jerome (5-4) visits Rigby (7-2); and Skyview of Nampa (8-1) travels north to Lakeland (5-4). Skyview, a semi-final loser to Blackfoot last year, fell 14-10 at home to Bishop Kelly in its season opener Sept. 6.

WRHS Line Score

Canyon Ridge 28, Wood River 6

wood river 6 0 0 0 6
canyon ridge 14 0 0 14 28


1st half

Wood River—Austin Savaria, 73-yard run (run failed); 11:44 1st (6-0 WR).

Canyon Ridge—Tristan Pamparau, 20-yard run (Bailey Hiebert kick); 6:57 1st (7-6 CR).

Canyon Ridge—Teague Sweesy, 1-yard run (Bailey Hiebert kick); 2:19 1st (14-6 CR).


2nd half

Canyon Ridge—Tristan Pamparau, 23-yard run (Bailey Hiebert kick); 9:41 4th (21-6 CR).

Canyon Ridge—Will Morgan, 2-yard run (Bailey Hiebert kick); 4:54 4th (28-6 CR).

Offensive plays 65 72
Time of possession 22:55 25:05:00
1st downs, rush 6 10
1st downs, pass 4 2
1st downs, penalty 1 2
1st downs, total 11 14
Rushes, yards 34-229 49-242
Yards per carry 6.7 4.9
Fumbles lost 2 0
Completions, passes 8-19 4-11
Completion percentage 42% 36%
Passing yards 71 37
Yards per completion 8.9 9.3
Intercepted by 1 1
Sacks by, yards 25-Feb May-45
Returns, yards 7-Jul 3-22
Total yards gained 332 276
Third down efficiency 1-10 5-12
Fourth down efficiency 0-5 1-4
Penalties 12-142 10-107
Punts, yardage 3-Mar 3-99
Yards per punt 25 33


Rushing—Cooper Bailey 13-96, 5 1sts; Austin Savaria 1-73, 1 TD; Hayden Thayer 13-39; Izaac Easterday 3-10; Alec Nordsieck 4-11, 1 1st.

Passing—Alec Nordsieck 8-19, 71 yards, 4 1sts, 1 interception.

Receiving—Cooper Bailey 2-25, 2 1sts; Hayden Thayer 2-19, 1 1st; Hagan Barsch 1-15, 1 1st; Austin Savaria 2-6; Austin Krenz 1-6.

Kickoff returns—Austin Savaria 2-49; Cooper Bailey 1-10; Tyler Price 1-3.

Punt returns—Cooper Bailey 2-12.

All-purpose yardage—Cooper Bailey 143, Austin Savaria 128.

Interceptions—Alec Nordsieck 1 with a 3-yard return.

Sacks (2)—Jon Reigle 1-10; Hagan Barsch and Parker Bingham 1-5.

Tackles (81)—Hagan Barsch 12, Hayden Thayer 11, Cooper Bailey 8, Christopher Lentz 7, Parker Bingham 7, Cody Richmond 7, Zach Swanson 7, Jon Reigle 5, Austin Savaria 4, Izaac Easterday 3, Omar Salamanca 2, Dee Jay McMurdo 2, Alec Nordsieck 2, #61 2, Taylor Douthit 1, Aramys Gallegos 1.



Rushing—Teague Sweesy 13-85, 3 1sts, 1 TD; Jordan Bastian 15-81, 4 1sts; Tristan Pamparau 10-72, 2 1sts, 2 TD; Will Morgan 6-17, 1 1st, 1 TD; Porter Casdorph 2-10.

Passing—Teague Sweesy 4-11, 37 yards, 2 1sts, 1 interception.

Receiving—Jordan Bastian 1-20, 1 1st; Eric Navarrette 2-12, 1 1st; Lance Teske 1-5.

Kickoff returns—Will Morgan 1-6.

Punt returns—Bailey Hiebert 1-4.

All-purpose yardage—Teague Sweesy 122, Jordan Bastian 101.

Fumble recoveries (2)—Lance Teske 1, Jordon Crist 1.

Interceptions (1)—Eric Navarrette 1 with a 12-yard return.

Sacks (5)—Dakota Lakey 2-18, Keaton Nielsen 2-16; Will Morgan 1-11.

Tackle leaders—Dakota Lakey 6, Lance Teske 6, Tristan Pamparau 5, Will Morgan 5, Jerry Chavez 5, Keaton Nielsen 5, Bailey Hiebert 4, Tyler Turner 3, Daniel Salinas 3, Nick Brown 2, Scott Miller 2, David Jimenez 2, Jordon Crist 2, Adrian Borrayo 2, Riley Wolter 2.

wood river season statistics


Opponents 96 89 72 28 285 (35.6)
Wood River 33 16 20 34 103 (12.9)



RESULTS (1-8 overall, 1-4 home, 0-4 away, 0-5 Great Basin Conference)  
Sept. 6 (Home) Wood River 40, Salmon 32
Sept. 13 (Home) Buhl 14, Wood River 7
Sept. 20 (Away) Gooding 55, Wood River 6
Sept. 27 (Away) Kimberly 14, Wood River 6
Oct. 4 (Home) Minico 49, Wood River 3
Oct. 11 (Home) Twin Falls 49, Wood River 14
Oct. 18 (Away) Burley by forfeit over Wood River
Oct. 25 (Home) Jerome 44, Wood River 21
Nov. 1 (Away) Canyon Ridge 28, Wood River 6


Cooper Bailey 6 0 36
Champe Kotara 3 1 19
Hayden Thayer 3 0 18
Gunner Gibson 1 0 6
Alec Nordsieck 1 0 6
Austin Savaria 1 0 6
Kyle Weller 0 2 5
Eron Bates 0 3 3
Zach Swanson 0 1 2
Christopher Lentz 0 1 2

Note: Kyle Weller kicked a 27-yard field goal.



Touchdown passes—3. Conversion passes—0. Notes—Wood River scored in 14 of 32 quarters....Wood River successfully made 8 of 15 conversions (53% success rate)....Wood River scored 15 TD—9 on runs from scrimmage, 3 on passes, 1 on kickoff or punt returns, 2 on defense.

Time of possession 160:31:00 221:42:00  
1st downs, total 84 85  
Rushes, yards 231-1412 323-1373  
Yards per carry 6.1 4.3  
Fumbles lost 9 12  
Completions, passes 63-115 40-103  
Completion percentage 54% 38%  
Passing yards 1035 551  
Yards per completion 16.4 13.7  
Total yards gained 2948 2357  
Intercepted by 9 6  
Penalties 53-453 60-578  
Punts, yardage 20-729 35-1110  
Yards per punt 36.5 31.7  


Rushing—Champe Kotara 91-419 (4.6 yards per carry), 3 TD; Cooper Bailey 70-282 (4.0 yards per carry), 2 TD; Hayden Thayer 53-271 (5.1 yards per carry), 2 TD; Zach Swanson 47-181 (3.9 yards per carry), 1 conv.; Alec Nordsieck 33-124, 1 TD; Austin Savaria 6-81, 1 TD; Izaac Easterday 11-28; Christopher Lentz 7-7.

Passing—Alec Nordsieck 40-101, 551 yards, 3 TD, 8 interceptions; Zach Swanson 0-1, 1 interception; Cooper Bailey 0-1.

Receiving—Cooper Bailey 13-197, 2 TD; Gunner Gibson 7-113, 1 TD; Austin Savaria 6-107; Hayden Thayer 7-72; Zach Swanson 5-41; Hagan Barsch 1-15; Austin Krenz 1-6.

Interceptions (6)—Alec Nordsieck 4 with 23 yards in returns; Hayden Thayer 2 with 79 yards in returns, 1 TD.

Fumble recoveries (9)—Parker Bingham 2, Cody Richmond 2 (onsides kicks), Cooper Bailey 1 with a 48-yard TD return, Hagan Barsch 1, Gunner Gibson 1 (onsides kick), Aramys Gallegos 1 (onsides kick), Jon Reigle 1.

Tackles—Hayden Thayer 47, Cody Richmond 43, Hagan Barsch 42, Cooper Bailey 39, Champe Kotara 23, Christopher Lentz 23, Parker Bingham 23, Jackson Toothman 22, Gunner Gibson 20, Izaac Easterday 20, Jon Reigle 19, Austin Savaria 17, Zach Swanson 14, Alec Nordsieck 12, Dee Jay McMurdo 7, Justin Miller 7, Austin Krenz 5, Aramys Gallegos 4, Omar Salamanca 2, Eron Bates 1, Beau Boss 1, Taylor Douthit 1.


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