When the Carey Panthers take the field on Friday, it will be only the second time in more than 30 days they’ve seen any action.
Consequently, it will be the biggest game of the season as the Panthers suit up on the road against the Garden Valley Wolverines in the Idaho High School Activities Association 1A Division 2 “Milk Bowl” eight-man football quarterfinals.
The last time the Panthers played the Wolverines, the game ended in a 78-42 shootout on Carey’s Derrick Parke Memorial Field on Sept. 4.
Despite the huge win, the Panthers should expect a different Wolverines team.
“They made some changes to their defense and a few adjustments on their offense,” Carey head coach Lane Kirkland said. “We just have to go play aggressive and error-free football on the road against a good team that’s hungry and would like to advance.”
In their previous meeting, senior quarterback Corban Fields
threw for 293 yards and four touchdowns for the Wolverines.
Senior wide receiver Josh Gillespie had 225 yards with two receiving touchdowns.
Even though the Panthers held a 46-20 halftime lead, the game was close in the early parts of the first quarter.
The Panthers held onto a 16-12 lead midway through the first, but Conner Simpson broke the game open when he scored on back-to-back possessions for Carey from 18 and 41 yards. The sophomore running back had his best game of the season against the Wolverines by scoring four touchdowns and totaling up 221 yards rushing on 21 carries.
Carey as a team racked up 604 yards of total offense on the way to scoring 11 touchdowns on the afternoon.
Garden Valley finished the season with a 5-3 record and won the 1A Long Pin Conference. The Wolverines are averaging 44 points per game; however, they are allowing 31.5 ppg to opponents.
Garden Valley’s biggest win of the season came against Salmon in a 50-0 shutout.
In that game, Fields had 286 total yards on offense with four touchdowns, and Gillespie had 203 yards receiving.
Carey (6-0) is coming off a historic and record-setting 88-12 victory over Rockland in the IHSAA play-in game last week.
The Panthers are averaging 52.6 ppg and allowing a mere 14.
Hunter Smith’s career day against Rockland—seven total touchdowns—was one for the ages.
With only five games played, Smith leads the team with 20 total touchdowns for 152 points, 1,029 passing yards and only one interception.
Simpson leads the team with 581 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground.
Leading Carey in receptions is senior Ashton Sparrow with 310 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Sparrow’s best game of the season came against Glenns Ferry where he had 149 yards and two scores.
On defense, senior Dallin Parke leads the Panthers with 52 tackles and three sacks.
The winner of Carey/Garden Valley will advance to the IHSAA “Milk Bowl” semifinals where they will face the winner of Kendrick vs. Watersprings.
Carey and Garden Valley are set to kick off at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, at Garden Valley. The game can be livestreamed on Idahosports.com/gamestreams.
*This story has been updated to reflect that Friday's game will be livestreamed on Idahosports.com/gamestreams, not the NFHS Network.