POCATELLO — As the first half winded down, a coach from the West Side sideline yelled out, “Keep your hands in front of Duncan.”
Yet the Pirates couldn’t stop the explosive nature of the Declo running back, Keegan Duncan, who went on to score five times as the Hornets downed the Pirates in the 2A semifinals 41-27.
Duncan opened up in the first quarter with two lengthy rushes for touchdowns, the first for 75 yards followed by a 61-yarder.
Special teams mistakes would give West Side a chance to get right back into it in the second quarter, with running back Jake Moser capitalizing on a blocked punt and rushing in two plays later from 10 yards out to cut the deficit to 13-7.
“We had good drives (in the first half), but we just couldn’t sustain them,” Declo head coach Kelly Kidd said. “They were getting off our blocks and getting to the ball too easily.”
However, the Hornets would come out of the half spreading the rush out and driving downfield en route to a 28-point second half performance.
In the third quarter, Duncan would rush another touchdown in, and Breshears kept one himself for a 28-7 lead with a few minutes remaining. Meanwhile, West Side couldn’t gain a first down on three straight possessions in the third quarter.
Then the big plays rained down. After another 75-yard rush by Duncan, an 80-yard strike with 6:27 left in the game would bring the score to 34-20 in favor of the Hornets, but with momentum leaning the Pirates way.
Keegan Duncan had an answer for that: his fifth touchdown rush less than a minute later, this time from 35 yards out.
One last punch in from Wayne Beckstead would give the Pirates a cap to their season with under a minute to go, but Declo came out victorious.
Kidd said sticking to the rushing game was the plan all along, and he’s glad to have guys in the backfield that can accomplish the job, especially a big playmaker like Duncan.
“Keegan is a phenomenal athlete,” Kidd said. “Just give him the ball and let him create. But honestly, it comes down to those big fellows in front. They give him the seams and when he gets a seam, he just goes.”
Declo will face Firth in the title game next week at Holt Arena after Firth downed New Plymouth 38-16.
Declo 41, West Side 27
West Side: 0 7 0 20 – 27
Declo: 13 0 15 13 – 41
D – Keegan Duncan 75-yard rush (Tanner Schroeder XP good) 9:47
D – Keegan Duncan 61-yard rush (Schroeder XP no good ) 2:13
W – Moser 10-yard rush (Eduard DeAbreu XP good) 2:45
D – Duncan 11-yard rush (Duncan 2-pt rush good) 6:14
D – McKay Breshears 2-yard rush (Schroeder XP good) 3:09
W – Dillon Robinson 45-yard pass from Dillon Lemmon (DeAbreu XP good) 10:09
D – Duncan 75-yard rush (Schroeder XP no good) 9:53
W – Robinson 80-pass from Wayne Beckstead (DeAbreu XP no good) 6:27
D – Duncan 35-yard rush (Schroeder XP good) 5:46
W- Beckstead 1-yard rush (DeAbreu XP good) 0:44