TWIN FALLS — The trenches are not a place for the faint of heart. They’re a place that produces bruises, scratches and the stench of sweat.
More importantly, they’re the place where football games are won and lost.
On Friday night, Twin Falls used its superior size, strength and depth along the offensive and defensive lines to blast Great Basin Conference foe Burley in a lopsided 51-0 victory.
Twin Falls outgained Burley 324 yards to 39 and held the Bobcats to just three first downs on the night. In a dominating first half, the Bruins scored six touchdowns and limited Burley to one first down.
And it all started up front.
“Our O-line just turned it on,” said Twin Falls senior lineman Austin Hatch. “We kept driving. We were going and going and they couldn’t stop us. It was an amazing feeling. We felt unstoppable.”
It was an outcome that short-handed Burley coach Tony Cade saw coming as his team took the field without 10 varsity regulars, including quarterback Ethan Gibbons and lineman Caden Sealy.
“Any game that you’re in and you’re outmatched up front, you can’t run your offense, you can’t do what you want to do,” said Cade. “They’re big up front. They’re some big dudes.”
Behind big dudes like Hudson Klundt, Hunter Merriss and Hatch, running back Taryn Casperson rushed for three first-half touchdowns and Tate Burch added two of his own en route to a 42-0 halftime edge.
“We knew we could have a physical advantage over them, so we had to take control from the start of the game,” said junior defensive end Cy Mahlke. “Our offense excelled in the first half. We moved the line, we got some big yardage and our defense locked them down.”
The Bruins also struck on special teams. Twice. Junior Gage Plew returned two punts for touchdowns, both covering more than 50 yards.
“It was an awesome experience,” said Plew. “Honestly, it wouldn’t have been possible without the great blockers including Bentley Swensen, Cy Mahlke and all the defensive guys. It really came down to how we played as a team.”
That impressive team play included sophomore quarterback Carson Walters going 10-for-10 for 142 yards as Twin Falls moved to 3-2 overall and 3-0 in conference play.
“Our goal is to be conference champions, so I feel like that’s an awesome start to that,” said Hatch.
The Bobcats recovered a Twin Falls fumble at the Bruin 20-yard line late in the game and had a chance to score after Beau Phipps’ ran 12 yards to the 8-yard line. But the drive stalled there as Burley remained scoreless.
“It’s tough watching and I feel bad for the kids right now,” said Cade, who dressed just 26 players for the contest.
It was a different vibe on the opposite sideline.
“It was one of the best feelings that I’ve ever experienced,” said Plew. “It was pretty fun to just go out there and, not necessarily demoralize them, but have fun and know what we were capable of.”
While Burley fell to 1-4 on the season and 0-2 in Great Basin Conference play, Cade came away optimistic ahead of next week’s homecoming date with Wood River.
“Where’s my playoff run going to be? It’s the next four games,” he said. “That’s what we’re fighting for and we knew that coming in and we’re setting up for that.”
Twin Falls, meanwhile, steps out of conference play next week as it hosts Class 5A Hillcrest for homecoming.
“It will be a test of our strength really,” Hatch said. “It’ll be a good indicator of where we are as a team.”
Twin Falls 51, Burley 0
Burley; 0; 0; 0; 0;—0
Twin Falls; 14; 28; 3; 6; – 51
Twin Falls – Casperson 5 run (Geske kick) 6:57
TF – Casperson 9 run (Geske kick) 1:47
TF – Casperson 2 run (Geske kick) 11:25
TF – Plew 56 punt return (Geske kick) 9:56
TF – Burch 5 run (Geske kick) 6:13
TF – Burch 2 run (Geske kick) 00:50
TF – Geske 43 field goal 00:59
TF – Plew 55 punt return (pass failed) 10:21