Wood River High School football players ran into a hot rushing offense fueled by 5-11, 180-pound senior back McKade Huft of Kimberly during Friday’s home season finale at Phil Homer Field.
Huft (280 rushing yards on 23 carries) scored six rushing touchdowns at distances of 28, 47, 42, 4, 2 and 1 yards and guided Kimberly (4-3) to a 49-14 non-conference football win over the Wolverines (1-5).
Kimberly out-rushed Wood River 384-133 and outgained the home team 559-332 on a cool and dry “Senior Night” evening in Hailey.
The Huft effort was reminiscent of last year’s rain-drenched meeting of the two traditional grid rivals at Kimberly, when then-junior Huft rushed for 130 yards and scored five touchdowns in the 50-7 Bulldog romp.
Friday, Wood River gave Kimberly some help, as the Bulldogs scored their first three touchdowns after a fumble recovery, an interception and a recovered onside kick.
The fourth Bulldog TD for a 30-7 lead after one quarter came on a Brett Bronson 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
“Turnovers continue to hurt us,” said Wood River coach Shane Carden. “Starting the game with two turnovers and then to give up an onside kick to start the game down 22-0 is hard to overcome.
“But I thought we played pretty hard after that.”
Wood River’s initial first-quarter TD of the season came on a well-executed nine-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a 15-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Andrew Nelson to junior Ethan Shoemaker.
Nelson’s 22-yard pass completion to senior Conner May on a third-down crossing pattern and a 14-yard first-down run by top rusher Eli Trevino (59 yards) were the big plays before Nelson connected with Shoemaker on a down-and-in.
Carden said, “Conner May has stepped up big in the last few weeks and Ethan Shoemaker has become a great receiver as he continues to understand the offense.”
After Nelson left the game with an ankle injury midway through the second period on a sack by Kimberly’s Trace Mayo, junior Matt Meyers took over calling the signals full time as quarterback.
“We had a few missed opportunities offensively while we were still in the first half that could have gotten us in that game,” said Carden.
In the fourth quarter, Meyers faked a pass to the left side and threw right to May along the sideline, and May finished a 69-yard pass completion for Wood River’s longest TD of the season and the 49-14 final.
Kimberly, averaging 25.3 ppg offense, has averaged over 50 points per game in two road games since Huft returned from a back injury. Huft scored five touchdowns in his team’s 52-30 win at Filer Oct. 4.
Wood River played without its leading tackler, senior Johnny Servin (foot injury) and lost both Nelson and junior Gianpierre Fajardo during the game.
Carden said, “Defensively, not having Servin is a huge loss and really a huge loss to the team. He is a great leader and a great player. Then having Servin, Gianpierre and Andrew out really hurt us on defense.”
Elsewhere in the 4A “Great Basin 10” Conference, the Minico Spartans (6-1, 6-0 GBC) won their sixth straight game 20-14 over Pocatello (3-4, 2-3) at Holt Arena. Minico finishes at home against Century (4-3, 3-1) and Twin Falls (3-4, 2-3).
Jerome (5-2, 4-2) moved closer to a playoff spot with a 28-13 home victory over Wood River’s season-ending opponent Canyon Ridge (1-6, 1-5 GBC). Canyon Ridge of Twin Falls, loser of seven straight home games, finishes at home against Mountain Home and Wood River.
Wood River travels to Burley on Friday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. for a Great Basin Conference game. Burley (2-5, 1-4 GBC) lost 51-13 at Preston Friday and yields 32.3 ppg on defense, while scoring 14.6 on offense by average.
Carden said, “We are looking forward to getting back on the field at Burley Friday night.”
Although Burley won 20-14 in Hailey last season, Wood River boasts a 7-3 advantage over the Bobcats since the 4A Great Basin Conference formed in 2004. The Wolverines are 3-0 over that period when they play on the Burley gridiron, last winning 27-13 back in 2017.