KIMBERLY — The battle of Bulldogs and Bobcats is upon us.
Burley will travel to Kimberly tonight to face-off in this non-conference game. Despite a difference in division, these teams present an equal challenge for each other.
Kimberly has a 1-2 record after their defeat by Declo last week. The game went to overtime, resulting in a 41-40 score in favor of the Hornets.
“It was a disappointing finish,” Kimberly head coach Rich Bishop said. “We weren’t disappointed in our play as a whole. We played a strong team and came up a point short.”
The game did offer insight into areas the Bulldogs can improve, something Bishop has specifically focused his practices on this week.
“Offensively, there were three trips into the end zone that resulted in a turnover or no points,” he said. “Defensively we played really good in the first half but in the third quarter we gave a little too much.”
Burley is coming off back-to-back victories against Buhl and Wood River. The Bobcats have some momentum to build off of, but they haven’t faced a team like Kimberly since their week one loss to Mountain Home.
Still, head coach Dylan Corless is happy with the progress his players have made.
“Energy levels are up. Everybody is excited,” he said. “They’re started to play as a team instead of individuals and it’s been great.”
But Corless isn’t about to underestimate the Bulldogs. The last time these teams played, Kimberly shutout Burley 21-0.
“At this point in our season, they’re the toughest opponent we’ve faced,” he said.
Burley is bracing themselves for a battle. They know how athletic Kimberly is and how well the team utilizes their talent.
Even in loss, the scoreboards show just how competitive Kimberly can be.
“I’ve been pleased with our offense overall,” Bishop said. “We’re averaging 450 yards a game and over 40 points a game.”
Last week, Kimberly senior running back Race Widmier accumulated 227 rushing yards. Sophomore wide receiver Gatlin Bair hauled in 154 receiving yards. Neither of these numbers are stats to scoff at.
“Overall offensively, they’re just a nightmare to play,” Corless said.
Likewise, Bishop is expecting to see some big plays from Burley. With both rushing and receiving, the Bobcats have players that know how to move the ball downfield.
“They’re pretty well balanced when it comes to their offense,” Bishop said.
Because of this, both teams are focusing a lot on their ability to stop the ball.
Corless has been working with his players on their defensive point of attack, as well as rallying to the ball and securing tackles. Bishop is concentrating on discipline and consistency over four quarters of play.
With equally matched offenses, the deciding factor of this game will not be each team’s ability to score. Previous games prove that neither team has a deficit when it comes to procuring points.
“Ultimately, it comes down to defense,” Bishop said.