TWIN FALLS — It was a rivalry game. With playoff implications. Might as well pull out all the stops.
Deadlocked in a 7-7 tie with rival Jerome and facing 4th-and-three near midfield, Twin Falls faked a punt. That bold choice changed the game.
Lined up as the up-back in the punting formation, sophomore quarterback Carson Walters took the snap on the fake punt and found senior Drew Meyerhoeffer streaking down midfield.
Meyerhoeffer did the rest, racing to the end zone to put Twin Falls up 13-7. The Bruins controlled the game from there, taking a 26-7 victory that earned them the Great Basin Conference’s No. 2 seed in the Class 4A state tournament and ended Jerome’s season.
“We’ve been running that play since week one in practice, but had never used it in a game,” said Meyerhoeffer. “It worked out really good and sparked us the rest of the game.”
Jerome could have forced a three-way tie and a Kansas City playoff with Twin Falls and Canyon Ridge with a win, but dropped to fourth place and out of playoff contention with the loss.
The Twin Falls ground game struggled for most of the first half against a Jerome defense led by senior linebackers Colten Craig and David Harker. But the bigger and deeper Bruins controlled the line of scrimmage after halftime and shut out the Tigers with a stellar defensive outing led by senior Connor Bradley.
“It’s a good way to cap off the regular season,” said senior running back Taryn Casperson, who ran for 126 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries.
“They’re scrappy and were trying to make plays,” Casperson said of the Tigers, “but we were wearing them down, you could tell.”
Jerome struck first on the night when senior QB Jordin Myers, who finished 17-for-28 for 151 yards on the night, hit Harker for a six-yard score on a screen pass to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead midway through the first quarter.
The Bruins’ first five drives, meanwhile, went nowhere.
“With Jerome, it doesn’t matter what their record is they always play us tough,” said Twin Falls coach Allyn Reynolds.
But Twin Falls linebacker Collin Aardema recovered a fumbled Jerome snap near midfield to set up the first of Casperson’s three scores with just 1:51 left in the half, knotting the score at 7-7.
“The same problems we’ve had all year reared their heads again,” said Jerome coach Sid Gambles, whose team dressed just 30 players due to injury and illness.
Gambles praised the shorthanded Tigers (3-6, 2-3 GBC) for their effort on the night and the season.
“We had some good moments, some bright moments,” he said.
For Twin Falls, the win snaps a three-game losing skid. “We had lost some confidence,” said Reynolds. “We got some back tonight.”
Twin Falls 26, Jerome 7
Jerome – David Harker 6 pass from Jordin Myers (Jack Howard kick) 5:45
Twin Falls – Taryn Casperson 2 run (Champ Geske kick) 1:51
TF – Drew Meyerhoeffer 52 pass from Carson Walters (pass failed) 8:17
TF – Casperson 2 run (run failed) 7:52
TF – Casperson 3 run (Geske kick) 1:28