POCATELLO — The game was advertised as a 2A state semifinal between the Declo High School football team and West Side at Holt Arena on Saturday, but that wasn’t what the spectators saw.
Instead, it turned into the Keegan Duncan show.
The Boise State commit ran all over the Pirates, leading Declo to a dominant 61-28 victory and a berth in its third straight 2A state title game. It was the second semifinal win over West Side in as many seasons for the defending state champion Hornets.
“I almost get choked up when it comes time to talk about him,” Declo head coach Kelly Kidd said. “He unassumingly does everything. He’s as good an athlete as this state ever saw.”
In the first half alone, Duncan ran eight times for 222 yards and four touchdowns. Two of the senior’s scores came on runs of 89 and 82 yards.
Between his four touchdowns and a three-yard punch-in by senior quarterback McKay Breshears, the Hornets led 34-6 at halftime.
“We really wanted to make a statement today,” Duncan said. “A lot of people have been judging the scores all year. ... To be able to go out and do that, make a statement in 2A, that was a big deal for us.”
Having already torched the Pirates for those four touchdowns on the ground, Duncan turned to trickery, taking a pitch from Breshears and launching a 36-yard touchdown pass to senior Ben Puentes to put the Hornets up 41-6 with 8:31 left in the third quarter.
Duncan, who took several direct snaps in addition, looked comfortable as the team’s quarterback in moments. Kidd said he and his staff threw a few of those wrinkles in when Breshears broke his hand earlier this season.
Duncan, however, would prefer to stay at running back, and insists he’s not gunning for Breshears’ job.
“I don’t like playing QB,” Duncan said. “I can do it but I don’t want to. He’s good at what he does. I’ll let him take that.”
After another rushing score, Duncan completed the trifecta, catching a Breshears pass and tip-toeing down the sideline for a 71 yard score early in the fourth quarter.
He finished with 234 rushing yards on 12 carries, and added three catches for 119 yards, as well as his one pass for 36. In total, Duncan accounted for seven touchdowns.
Breshears added 79 yards and a score on 11 carries and went 5-of-8 for 142 yards and a touchdown.
Senior Traver Larson punched in the final touchdown of the day for Declo (11-0) from one yard away. Meanwhile, West Side (10-1) tacked on 22 points in the second half, all coming against Declo’s reserves on that side of the ball.
Kidd was thoroughly impressed with his team’s defensive performance against one of the state’s best 2A teams, which had beaten every opponent this season by 14 points except for Marsh Valley, a 3A team ranked No. 4 in the final state media poll (West Side won that game 8-6).
“They were exceptional,” Kidd said. “I’m really proud of our preparation and really proud of our kids and how well they played.”
After the game, an exuberant Kidd greeted his team by telling them they played like a pack of wolves. Duncan said part of the coach’s pregame speech fired up the team to put forth such a dominant performance.
“Coach said, ‘One wolf can take out the weakest link, but a pack of wolves can take out the biggest guy,’” Duncan said. “He said it’s our team’s choice, whether they want to be a fat cat and sit around or be a pack of wolves.”
In reply to Kidd’s postgame address, some Declo players jokingly howled back at him. The wolf pack will need to remain just that as it enters the state title game, where the Hornets will face North Fremont (11-0) back at Holt Arena. The game is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.
“These kids have worked hard,” Kidd said. “They’re a special group of kids, and I was nervous. I shouldn’t be so nervous.”
HALF: #declohornets 34, West Side 6— Sean Whooley (@swhooley27) November 10, 2018
This Keegan Duncan INT was the second-to-last play of the half (run back was negated by flags). Along with it, he has four touchdowns, including runs of 89 and 82 yards. Declo is rolling. #idpreps pic.twitter.com/v9qKMePsxg