Pressed into action due to injuries, Wood River High School freshman quarterback Sawyer Grafft played well in two call-up roles this season—including Friday’s season-ending Wolverine 40-18 loss to the playoff-bound Canyon Ridge Riverhawks.

     Grafft stepped up and tossed two touchdown passes, one to Ethan Shoemaker and another to Eli Fuller, as Wood River (1-7, 0-6 Great Basin Conference) made the GBC clash more respectable after falling behind 34-0 at halftime.

     Leading season scorer Eli Trevino ran the ball well and also scored for Hailey.

     Wood River coach Shane Carden said, “Unfortunately injuries really hurt us this year. We only had four seniors playing Friday night against Canyon Ridge. And it was the same story for us in the first half—turning the ball over on the first drive and not stopping big plays.

     “Our defense did do a better job at creating some turnovers that helped us stay in the game longer. Taking care of the football will be a huge priority as we talk about next year and who will be playing certain positions.”

     Carden added, “At halftime I challenged our kids to win the second half and we were able to do that. Having our kids continue to play hard in that second half and finding some success was huge as we move into the off season.

     “Our focus has to be on getting in the weight room and getting stronger. All positions are open on varsity as we go into next year which will create some competition which is something we need to be better at, competing.

     “I love that our younger kids had some success this year and I look to continue to build a culture that can create success for our football program.”

     Century of Pocatello (6-3, 5-1 GBC) won the Great Basin Conference championship with its 34-13 win over GBC runner-up Jerome (6-3, 5-3) last Friday at Holt Arena.

     The Diamondbacks of Century open the 16-team State 4A playoffs Friday against Nampa (6-3) at Holt Arena. Jerome plays defending state champ Hillcrest of Idaho Falls (5-4), at Jerome on Friday at 7 p.m.

     Hillcrest won last year’s State 4A championship 55-21 over Bishop Kelly of Boise (6-2), which hosts fourth-place GBC finisher Canyon Ridge (3-6, 3-5 GBC) Friday at 7 p.m.

     Third-place GBC Minico of Rupert (7-2, 7-1 GBC) hosts GBC at-large finisher Preston (5-4, 4-2) Friday at 7 p.m. in Rupert. Fifth-place GBC Pocatello (5-4, 4-3) has the dubious distinction of visiting top-ranked Kuna (9-0, averaging 43.0 ppg) on Friday at 7 p.m.

    

“C Team” ends grid season with 24-20 win

     Wood River High “C Team” freshman quarterback Sawyer Grafft tossed his third touchdown pass of the game with less than a minute remaining in Thursday’s season-ending, back-and-forth clash against the Canyon Ridge Riverhawks.

     Grafft’s game-winning six-yard TD toss to Christian Hernandez lifted the streaking Wolverines to a 24-20 grid win at Hailey’s Phil Homer Field. It gave Wood River’s junior varsity squad (6-3) its sixth win in the last seven games.

     Wood River built a 12-0 lead on Grafft’s 13-yard TD pass to Luke Marlow followed by an 80-yard scoring aerial from Grafft to Zack Dilworth on a seam route early in the second period. Max Jenson’s 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown increased the lead to 18-6.

     Canyon Ridge rallied for two unanswered TDs and a 20-18 advantage early in the fourth quarter. Late in the final period, Wood River’s hopes dimmed when Grafft threw his second interception of the fourth quarter and Canyon Ridge took over at its own three-yard-line.

     Yet, with less than two minutes remaining, Wood River linebacker Jack Herlinger recovered a fumble, and Grafft found Hernandez for the game winner with 30 seconds left.

     Head coach Juan Martinez said, “This win shows what we’ve seen from this team all season—they play with heart and courage and never give in. This group bought into what it means to become a true team.”

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