In their home opener on the Sept. 11 Remembrance Day, the Burley Bobcats (2-1) put together an efficient 294-yard running game and held off the Wood River Wolverines 27-8 Friday in a “Great Basin 7” conference football clash.
Burley scored on its first possessions of the first, second and third quarters, and then dominated the fourth period with an 11-minute offensive drive that kept the ball out of the hands of Wood River (0-2).
Leading the way for Wood River was junior Casey Erickson, who rushed 15 times for 115 yards including a 14-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter that made the halftime score close at 14-8.
Burley won its second straight game after a 41-7 victory at Buhl Sept. 3 with an efficient offense that was 6-for-11 in third-down successes and 3-for-3 in fourth-down efficiency. Senior McCray Mort rushed for 85 yards including a 66-yard end-around score on Burley’s third offensive play.
The Bobcat defense limited Wood River’s passing game by sacking Hailey sophomore quarterback Sawyer Grafft on five occasions, for losses totaling 43 yards. Grafft finished up 8-for-19 for 87 passing yards including a conversion toss to Ethan Shoemaker.
Wood River’s best offensive drive was an 11-play, 93-yard scoring attack late in the second period. Erickson took handoffs from Grafft and senior quarterback Matt Meyers and rushed seven times for 48 yards on the drive, including his 14-yard TD.
A key play on the Hailey scoring drive was a 34-yard pass completion from Grafft to sophomore Zack Dilworth (116 all-purpose yards including 5 catches for 76 yards). Dilworth wrestled the ball away from Burley’s Judson Mathis to put the ball down at the Burley 17.
The Wolverine touchdown ended a first half that was statistically dead even. Total yardage before half was Burley 169 and Wood River 157, with the Wolverines boasting an 8-4 edge in first downs and 13-11 advantage in possession time.
But, after a face mask penalty whistled against Wood River on the second-half kickoff moved the Bobcats into Hailey turf, quarterback Treven Fenstermaker rolled to his right and connected with a wide-open Prestyn Ramos for a 29-yard TD pass and a 20-8 Burley lead just two minutes in.
Top Wood River tacklers were Jacob Russel 9, Erickson 7 and Eli Trevino 7. There were no turnovers in the game, and the Wolverines drew only five penalties.
Burley’s rooting section was packed for the home opener. The presentation of American flags surrounded the field for the 9/11 remembrance. The Burley High School 23-member Stepperettes presented a “Red, White and Blue” salute to first responders, and the Burley Bobcat band performed at half.
In other conference games Friday: Twin Falls won 41-14 at Canyon Ridge; host Jerome nipped Shelley 19-14; and Minico was a 27-15 home winner over Mountain Home.