CAREY – Top-ranked Carey hosted Dietrich Friday night in a game that will likely determine the Sawtooth Conference West champion.

At times, the Blue Devils gave the Panthers everything they could handle, but in the end, Carey remained undefeated with a 36-20 victory over the defending conference champs.

The Panthers entered the game at 5-0 with an average margin of victory of nearly 47 points per game. Dietrich came to town with only one loss, but some uncertainty about who the Blue Devils, with only three seniors and a freshman quarterback, really are.

“This was our first real test,” said Dietrich head coach Rick Astle. “We wanted to gauge ourselves. Overall, I thought we played well. A lot of times, we played four freshmen and we’re only going to get better.”

It looked like easy going for Carey early on, when senior quarterback Houston Hennefer tucked the ball under his arm on the third play of the game and ran 65 yards for a touchdown. He then picked off a pass from the Blue Devils’ freshman quarterback Brady Power in the end zone on the ensuing drive.

But Dietrich didn’t roll over. The Blue Devils stopped the Panthers on their next three possessions.

“We needed this one,” said Carey head coach Lane Kirkland, “We’ve been rolling through people pretty good and a lot of kids sucked it up tough tonight.”

Both offenses got rolling in the second quarter, scoring two touchdowns apiece. Carey led 20-12 at halftime.

The third quarter seemed to belong to the Blue Devils, who ran 25 plays to Carey’s 11. However, the Panthers needed only nine plays to extend their lead, when Hennefer found senior running back Kaden Koudelka for a 30-yard strike to extend their lead to two scores.

“I tore my PCL and just had my MRI Tuesday, so I’ve had one and a half practices,” said Koudelka after the game. “I didn’t think it was going to be too good but I felt amazing and it turned out great.”

Dietrich closed the gap to one score in the fourth quarter before Carey slammed the door closed with a 55-yard touchdown run by junior running back Porter Mecham.

“I have to give credit to my team. They are such great blockers,” said Mecham. “Being a running back with these guys is easier than it should be. They open holes everywhere, and all you have to do is slip right through them.”

Dietrich (bye) visits Hansen in two weeks. Carey (bye) visits Murtagh in two weeks.

Carey 36, Dietrich 20

Carey 6 14 8 8 — 36

Dietrich 0 12 0 8 — 20

First Quarter

C — Hennefer 65 run (run failed) 10:50

Second Quarter

D — Raygn Robertson 2 run (pass failed) 7:06

C — DJ Parke 10 run (Hennefer run) 5:00

C — Hennefer 7 run (pass failed) 2:52

D — Kade Shaw 5 run (pass failed) 0:16

Third Quarter

C — Koudelka 30 pass from Hennefer (Koudelka pass from Hennefer) 4:30

Fourth Quarter

D — 24 pass from Power (Kade Shaw pass from Power) 3:09

C — Mecham 55 run (Mecham pass from Hennefer) 2:55