HAILEY – It took the Twin Falls offense a while Friday night to find its groove and get out of its own way with penalties and miscues.
No worries. The Bruin defense had their backs.
Twin Falls stymied host Wood River, pitching a shutout as the Bruins opened Great Basin Conference play with a 36-0 win over the Wolverines (0-3, 0-2 GBC).
“We definitely stepped it up tonight,” said Twin Falls linebacker Connor Bradley, who had four sacks on the night. “We played hard and everyone did their job.”
Xander Barigar had a first-half interception for the Bruins, while Preston Meyerhoeffer added a 20-yard pick-six as part of a 22-point third quarter for Twin Falls (1-2, 1-0 GBC).
“That old cliché it’s better to win ugly than to lose pretty,” said Bruin coach Allyn Reynolds. “We needed this.”
The game was scoreless for most of the first half as Twin Falls came away empty on two trips inside the 10-yard line. Penalties plagued both squads all night. Reynolds said Monday’s holiday and the smoky conditions, which kept the Bruins off the practice field on Wednesday led to a “messed up week.”
“I think it affected us and we just came out kind of lethargic and we weren’t on all cylinders,” he said. “I wish we’d started the game like we started the third quarter. The kids responded to some things at half, so that was nice to see.”
Said Bradley: “Offensively, we just weren’t finishing. But we came in during halftime and did some adjustments and came out second half and got it going.”
Behind its offensive line and running back Taryn Casperson, the Bruins pounded away after intermission. Casperson finished with rushing scores of nine and five yards, while Reece Asson took a bubble screen pass from Carson Walters and turned it into a 20-yard score.
Suddenly a game that was 8-0 at halftime was a lopsided 30-0 affair after three quarters.
“We were right there at half,” said Wood River coach Kevin Stilling. “We made too many mistakes and we didn’t respond well to our mistakes.
“Like last week and like the first half tonight, we play pretty well when we do little things right. But we’re not good enough to get away with mistakes.”
Wood River quarterback Andrew Nelson was sharp early, but a hip injury slowed him down as the Wolverines remained winless on the season.
Of the four times he took down Nelson, Bradley said, “It’s an amazing feeling. Coming in with one sack and leaving with four, it’s a fantastic feeling.”
Stilling said the game came down to the Bruins being more physical on the line of scrimmage as the game progressed.
“They decided they were going to run the ball down our throats and we couldn’t stop them. … In the end, they were just tougher and stronger than us,” he said.
Twin Falls hosts rival Canyon Ridge next week, while Wood River travels to defending 3A champion Fruitland.
Twin Falls 36, Wood River 0
Twin Falls; 0; 8; 22; 6; – 36
Wood River; 0; 0; 0; 0; – 0
Twin Falls – Casperson 9 run (Geske run) 8:24
TF – Asson 20 pass from Walters (Geske kick) 8:04
TF – Casperson 5 run (Bradley run) 2:30
TF – P. Meyerhoeffer 20 interception return (Geske kick) 1:50
TF – Burch 9 run (kick failed) 8:31