A midday snow that made the field sloppy wasn’t going to be enough to slow down Mullan/St. Regis on Saturday.
Adam Ball scored on a pair of short touchdown runs and the Tigers beat visiting Horseshoe Bend in an Idaho 1AD2 state quarterfinal, a first for the Idaho-Montana cooperative.
Mullan/St. Regis has been practicing under temporary lights run by generators this week.
“We’ve worked our butts off,” Ball said. “Practicing in the dark, everything. The team stepped up in the last couple minutes for the win.”
Mullan/St. Regis (8-1) will travel to Dietrich (9-0) for a semifinal next week. The Blue Devils outlasted North Gem 60-42 on Saturday to advance. Dietrich finished No. 2 in the state media poll, Mullan/St. Regis finished No. 4.
It marks a milestone for the schools in different states who were forced to co-op due to a shortage of players at the small schools.
“This is huge, man,” said Mullan coach Stetson Spooner. “Three years ago, St. Regis had three kids (on the football team), we had seven. Neither one of us could play in our respective states.”
The numbers were better for both schools last season, the first of the co-op, but the Tigers’ season ended with an 82-34 loss to Kendrick in a quarterfinal.
“Our goal this year, man, was to make a playoff run,” Spooner said.
“All year I’ve been saying, ‘Why not us?’ And why not?”
On Mullan’s first play from scrimmage, Luke Trogden took a short pass from Caleb Ball and went 95 yards for a touchdown.
Horseshoe Bend (6-4) responded with a nine-play drive, culminated by a 1-yard plunge by quarterback Colten Meyer.
On the next drive, Caleb Ball went 63 yards on a broken play and four plays later Adam Ball took it 17 yards for a 14-6 lead at intermission.
“I’m usually more of a cutting back,” Ball said. “But you just had to pick your line and go with this mud.”
Freshman John Pruitt scored on a 41-yard catch-and-run early in the third quarter, but the Mustangs got a 15-yard touchdown pass from Colten Meyer to Blayne Meyer to cut the deficit to 20-12.
As the snow and mud piled up in the center of the field, the scoring slowed in the second half. With just over 2 minutes remaining, Mullan/St. Regis used an 11-play drive, sustained by several unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, to extend the lead on a 2-yard sweep by Adam Ball.
Spooner couldn’t contain his pride.
“Just to be a part of this – number one, to start this day being a part of the eight best teams in Idaho Division 2, that is insane,” he said. “That is great in itself. And now to be in that top four, man, these kids worked their butt off.”
“We’re ready, we’re taking our next step,” Adam Ball said.
Homedale 55, Timberlake 19: Jaxon Dines passed for 293 yards and four touchdowns, with one on the ground, and the Trojans (7-1) topped the visiting Tigers (4-4) in an Idaho 3A state quarterfinal.
Ashton Peightal tossed three touchdown passes for Timberlake. Hayden Kinchloe added 103 yards with a touchdown on 11 carries for Homedale.
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