High school athletic coaches are always talking about how their teams “get off the bus” to explain how the players respond to the challenge of playing a road game after a long drive.
Carey High School football players got off the bus just fine Friday at their Sawtooth Conference eight-man football state play-in game against the North Gem Cowboys on the Bancroft gridiron in eastern Idaho.
Led by the 390-yard effort of junior quarterback Nate Adamson, Carey scored eight or more touchdowns for the third time in the last four games and romped 56-8 over North Gem in a game shortened by the mercy rule in the fourth quarter.
Adamson rushed for 132 yards and three touchdowns, and completed nine passes for 252 yards and another three TDs. He got plenty of help from an offense firing on all cylinders for 627 total yards and a defense limiting the Cowboys to 101 yards.
With the victory, Carey (5-3) entered the eight-team State 1A Division 2 playoffs for a quarterfinal test against last year’s state runner-up Lighthouse Christian Academy (9-0) on Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Lions’ field in Twin Falls.
The Panthers got there beating North Gem (4-5) for the second time this season on the Bancroft field and holding the 31.3 ppg Cowboys offense to just a single touchdown.
“We got off the bus prepared to go to battle,” said 13th-year Carey head coach Lane Kirkland. “Our goal was to make the playoffs, and now we’ve done that for the eighth year in a row.
“The boys did everything real well, a great effort. They blocked real well and our defense was just amazing. We’ve gone back to the fundamentals of blocking and tackling the last two weeks to prepare for the playoffs. The kids are staying focused.
“They’re young and very coachable, and we’ve been working toward a common goal. I’m very proud of them.”
Adamson and senior Christian Zarate (a game-high 28 rushes for 185 yards) each scored two rushing touchdowns giving Carey (375 rushing yards) a 24-8 halftime lead.
The Panthers (252 passing yards) went more airborne after intermission with Adamson tossing TD pitches to Zach Olsen for 52 yards, and to Joe Parke for 17 and 66 yards. In third- and fourth-down efficiency, Carey was very solid at 7-for-12.
Carey will certainly have something to prove and an uphill challenge at the home of Lighthouse Christian, the 2011 State 1A Division 2 champ. Last year in the state quarterfinals, host Lighthouse whipped Carey 54-14 with Adam Taylor rushing for 157 yards and quarterback Logan Bosma passing for 233.
This year, Carey fell 50-0 to Lighthouse in Twin Falls Oct. 18—the only blemish on the late-season Panther streak of three wins with a scoring average of 60.0 ppg in those victories.
Kirkland said about October’s 50-0 loss to the deep and talented Lions, “Last time was a big disaster. This time we’ll be more prepared and mentally tough. We’ll need to execute on offense, score early and build on positive things.
“It’s time for us to make a statement with our youth and see how much we’ve grown.”
In other state eight-man playoff games this weekend:
Castleford (3-5) hosts Dietrich (8-1) Friday at 2:30 p.m.; northern Idaho champion Kootenai (6-3) entertains defending champion Salmon River (9-0) Saturday at 1 p.m.; and Deary (8-1) plays Council (7-2) Friday at 4 p.m. at Lapwai.
Winner of two state titles in four years, Salmon River is 19-2 over two seasons including last year’s 53-38 state championship victory over Lighthouse Christian, at Eagle High School.
In season statistics, Adamson leads Carey in rushing with 95 carries for 694 yards and 14 TDs. Zarate has 118 carries for 676 yards and 8 TD.
Senior Tori Alvarez, expected back in the lineup Friday after being sidelined with a concussion for two weeks, has 78 carries for 407 yards and 4 TD. In total rushing, Carey has 2,038 yards averaging out at 5.7 yards per rush.
Adamson has also completed 56 passes out of 105 attempts for 1,026 yards and 15 TD. The leading receiver is Joe Parke with 24 receptions for 542 yards. On defense, top tacklers are Parke (55 tackles, 13 assists), Alvarez (58 tackles, 14 assists) and Adamson (40 tackles, 14 assists).
Carey Line Score
Carey 56, North Gem 8
Carey—Nate Adamson, 63-yard run (run failed); (6-0 C).
Carey—Nate Adamson, 1-yard run (pass failed); (12-0 C).
North Gem—Caston Holbrook, 53-yard run (Tucker Lish run); (12-8 C).
Carey—Christian Zarate, 5-yard run (pass failed); (18-8 C).
Carey—Christian Zarate, 25-yard run (pass failed); (24-8 C).
Carey—Zach Olsen, 52-yard pass from Nate Adamson (Christian Zarate run); (32-8 C).
Carey—Joe Parke, 17-yard pass from Nate Adamson (Collin Whitby, pass from Adamson); (40-8 C).
Carey—Safety; (42-8 C).
Carey—Nate Adamson, 6-yard run (Matt Whitworth run); (50-8 C).
Carey—Joe Parke, 66-yard pass from Nate Adamson; (56-8 C).
|Yards per carry
|Yards per completion
|Third down efficiency
|Fourth down efficiency
Rushing—Christian Zarate 28-185 (6.6 per carry), 2 TD, 1 conv.; Nate Adamson 12-132 (11.0 per carry), 3 TD; Zach Olsen 10-55; Keith Andrews 1-3.
Passing—Nate Adamson 9-16, 252 yards, 3 TD.
Receiving—Joe Parke 6-170 (28.3 yards per catch), 2 TD; Zach Olsen 1-52, 1 TD; Christian Zarate 2-30.
Kickoff returns—Nate Adamson 2-6.
All-purpose yards—Nate Adamson 390.
Interceptions (1)—Nate Adamson 1.
Fumble recoveries (1)—Collin Whitby 1.
Tackles/assists—Matt Whitworth 10/1; Nate Adamson 5/0; Chris Peck 2/0; Derrick Baird 2/0; Joe Parke 1/1; Collin Whitby 1/1; Zach Olsen 1/0; Christian Zarate 1/0; Parker Gamino 0/1.
INDIVIDUAL LEADERS—North Gem
Rushing—Caston Holbrook 14-80, 1 TD; Caleb Williams 4-17; Tucker Lish 1-3, 1 conv.
Passing—Tucker Lish 2-6, 4 yards, 1 interception.
Receiving—Victor Robles 3-60, 1 TD; Zak Wood 1-14.
Kickoff returns—Dallin Lloyd 4-82; Caston Holbrook 1-21.
Tackle leaders—Caston Holbrook 14, Caleb Williams 12, Westyn Thompson 8-7.