POCATELLO — Gooding’s bid for a state football championship came to an end Thursday in the Class 3A state quarterfinals.
Defending champion Sugar-Salem handled the Senators 47-20 at Holt Arena. The Diggers led 47-0 in the second half before Gooding scored three touchdowns to give the game its final score.
Sugar-Salem got out to a fast start. Hadley Miller rushed for a touchdown just 90 seconds into the game. The defense forced a Gooding punt, then Sam Parkinson rushed for a nine-yard score.
Gooding returned the ensuing kickoff to the Sugar-Salem 40-yard line, but Crew Clark intercepted a pass from quarterback Shane Jennings.
The Gooding defense held and got the ball back, but the Diggers drove for another score after blocking a Gooding punt.
Miller rushed for two touchdowns and caught a third, and Parkinson rushed for four touchdowns.
The Sugar-Salem defense gave the Senators problems all night. Jennings faced constant pressure and threw a pair of interceptions, and the running game struggled to get going.
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Gooding’s offensive production did not come until late in the game. Jennings threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Prince with 4:39 left in the third quarter. He followed it up with another scoring strike to Prince from 34 yards out to cut the deficit to 47-13 near the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Jennings capped his night with a 23-yard touchdown to Colston Loveland to make the score 47-20.
Gooding ended the season with a record of 8-2, with its only two losses coming to Sugar-Salem and Weiser, both of which are among the top teams in the state in Class 3A.
Jennings, a senior, finished his career with a school record for total yards in a career. He was the only Senator player to surpass 10,000 yards of offense.
Sugar-Salem (8-1) will advance to next week’s state semifinal game. They will play the winner of the matchup between Snake River and Teton, which takes place Friday at 8:15 p.m. at Holt Arena.
Homedale will play Fruitland, and Timberlake will play Weiser on Friday and Saturday respectively on the other side of the playoff bracket in Class 3A.