By Rob Everingham
Thursday Night Football finally picked a good game to televise, as the Box Elder Bears traveled to Valier and edged the Panthers, 24-22.
The Bears were led by Brandon Gopher, who finished the night with 33 carries for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Box Elder had a great ground attack, as it rushed for 303 total yards.
In the first quarter, Box Elder was the only team to get on the board, as Gopher ran the ball in from 15 yards away for the score. The Bears failed on the two-point conversion to put them up 6-0 after one.
In the second, it was Valier who scored first on a 41-yard running play.
Box Elder answered in the second, as Jason Infante broke one for 56 yards and the score. Both teams failed on their two-point conversion tries, and the Bears led at half, 12-6.
In the third quarter, it was a four-yard keeper by Ryan Kovatch that tied the game, and then a pass from Kovatch to Bobby Davidson gave the Panthers a 14-12 lead. Box Elder regained the lead in the third quarter as Gopher ran the ball in from two yards away.
In the fourth quarter, it was Kenny Guardipee who broke from his own 30-yard line for a 50-yard rushing touchdown and extended the Box Elder lead to 24-14. Valier answered, and, after a good two-point conversion, cut the Bears lead to just two points at 24-22.
The Panthers had the ball in the waning seconds of the game, but a Hail-Mary pass was picked off by the Bears to end the game.
Box Elder head coach Dave Nelson said the win was huge for them and moves them to .500 on the season.
Nelson said his team played a good ball game overall and, he said, the whole team played well defensively.
The Bears have a rough week as they get just two days to prepare for the defending state champion Chester Coyotes.
It was a good game for our program but we have a tough one on Wednesday, Nelson said.
Chester met Hays-Lodgepole on Friday night and the Coyotes ran all over the Thunderbirds in a 75-6 win.
The Coyotes scored 44 points in the first quarter as Jeff Graham opened the scoring with a 40-yard punt return. The next score was a four-yard run by Sean Weinert. Graham then found Zeb Engstrom on a 38-yard passing play. Next, Brad Oraw caught a 10-yard Graham pass and then Weinert found the end zone again on a 21-yard run. Colt Diemert also got a touchdown in the first quarter, as he ran the ball the needed five yards for the score.
In the second quarter, Brian Schlepp caught a four-yard Graham pass for a touchdown. Hays-Lodgepole then scored its only touchdown of the game as Trevor Bouschie ran the ball 71 yards for the touchdown. Chester then took the ensuing kickoff, and Graham returned it 73 yards for a touchdown. Brett Clark picked off a T-Bird pass, and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown. Then Clark had a two-yard run for a score.
The game ended at halftime on the 45-point rule.
J-I lost a tough one to Highwood, 25-7.
The Mountaineers scored in the first, second and third quarters, but could not tack on any extra points. In the fourth, Highwood scored again to go up, 25-0. The Rams only touchdown came in the fourth, as Jeremiah Johnson found Bryce Henke on a 15-yard pass play. Jeremy May and Johnson hooked up on the point-after try.
Big Sandy moved to 4-3 on the season after beating Belt on Saturday, 26-18.
The Pioneers scored first as Mace Mangold caught a 15-yard pass from Seth Davidson. Belt answered in the first, but Big Sandy led 7-6 after one.
In the second quarter it was all Belt, as the Huskies scored twice to lead at halftime, 18-7.
The second half would leave the Huskies scoreless, as Davidson got the job done himself on a five-yard run for a score. Davidson also caught an Aaron Myers pass in the third to give the lead back to Big Sandy at 19-18.
In the fourth, Daniel Weaver rumbled in from the one-yard line to put the game away for the Pioneers.
Rocky Boy had a rocky time against Geraldine as the Tigers won, 50-14.
Geraldine exploded from the start as it jumped out 24-0 after one.
One of Rocky Boys scores came in the second quarter as Nate Meyers had a one-yard run for the score. Geraldine also scored in the second to lift it to a 30-6 halftime lead.
The Tigers scored twice in the third, but in the fourth quarter Virgil Big Knife broke one for 55 yards that found the end zone. A Bobby Caplette kick put the Stars at 14.