KIMBERLY — McKade Huft always dreamed of playing in the snow. He got his wish Friday night, but reality didn’t quite match his fantasy.
“I never really thought about the cold part,” he said.
It was a windy, snowy night at Kimberly High School on Friday, and the players were feeling it. But Huft’s dreams did come true in one important respect: he starred in a win.
Huft led the Kimberly High School football team to a 32-0 victory over Buhl on Friday. The wind and snow seemed to affect both teams throughout the night, but the Bulldogs made enough plays to complement a dominant defensive effort.
“It really got cold, and we just kinda came together as a team. Started having fun,” Kimberly senior linebacker Cade Doggett said. “That’s our ticket to the playoffs.”
Friday’s game ended in fitting fashion. With fewer than 10 seconds left, the Indians stood just a few yards in front of their own goal line. They fumbled the handoff, and the ball rolled into the end zone, where Doggett fell on it for a snowy punctuation mark.
It looked like a magical situation for Doggett — a touchdown in the snow on senior night to put away a must-win game. A few minutes after the touchdown, Doggett was all smiles, but he was also trying to find some warmth for his bare arms.
The Bulldogs were also happy to be on the other side of a fumble recovery.
On the second snap from scrimmage of the game, Kimberly sophomore quarterback Dawson Cummins lost control of the ball as he tried to hand it off, and Buhl recovered.
The Indians drove into the red zone on the subsequent drive, but they missed a 32-yard field goal attempt.
Exactly one play later, Kimberly fumbled and Buhl recovered. Once again, the Indians drove deep into Kimberly territory, but the drive ended with an interception by Huft.
Six minutes and 10 seconds had elapsed, and three turnovers had been committed.
The weirdness didn’t end there. Buhl junior Garrett Bowman intercepted a Cummins pass with 2:06 left in the first quarter, but Kimberly senior Hunter Klimes stripped the ball out of Bowman’s hands. The Bulldogs recovered the fumble to turn a third down into a first down, despite a 2-yard gain in field position.
The first quarter ended with five turnovers.
“Senior night, all the excitement and all the jitters with the conference game, it was just sloppy all-around,” Doggett said.
Kimberly scored its first touchdown thanks to what was essentially another turnover. A bad snap sent Buhl’s punter scrambling for the ball in the end zone. He picked it up and somehow avoided being tackled for a safety, but he was taken down at the 2-yard line.
Two plays later, Huft ran it in for a touchdown.
Kimberly went into halftime up 13-0, thanks to a fortuitous bounce. On fourth and 1 with 0:14 left, Cummins threw a pass that bounced off the receiver’s hands and into the air. Junior Tristyn O’Donnell was in the right place, and he dove for a touchdown grab.
When the snow finally arrived in the third quarter, Kimberly was in control. Buhl got close to the end zone once, on a trick play, but it couldn’t punch through the Bulldog wall.
“(Buhl) got a little cold, and we saw that and we got up and rallied,” Doggett said.
Friday’s win improved Kimberly to 5-2 overall and 1-1 in the Sawtooth Idaho Central Conference. A loss would have all but dropped the Bulldogs out of the 3A playoff hunt. Now, they can clinch a playoff spot with a win over Filer next week in the final game of the regular season.
Buhl (3-4, 1-1) plays at Gooding next week.
UPDATE: Huft ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, per Kimberly coach Rich Bishop.
Kimberly 32, Buhl 0
Buhl 0 0 0 0 — 0
Kimberly 0 13 6 13 — 32
K — McKade Huft 2-yard run (run failed) 10:24
K — Tristyn O’Donnell 3-yard pass from Dawson Cummins (Dyllon Cunningham kick) 0:14
K — Dawson Cummins 1-yard run (kick failed) 0:40
K — Huft 45-yard run (Cunningham kick) 9:18
K — Cade Doggett fumble recovery in end zone (kick failed) 0:04