MERIDIAN A game defined by dominant rushing offenses ultimately was decided by defensive stops.
Rocky Mountain surrendered 350 yards on the ground, but the Grizzlies twice turned away cross-town rival Meridian on fourth down in the final 5:30, preserving a 32-28 homecoming victory at Brighton Stadium.
The win kept the Grizzlies (3-0) unbeaten and atop of the 5A Southern Idaho Conference standings. Meridian dropped to 0-3.
I was really pleased to see our defense come up big down the stretch, Rocky Mountain coach Jason Warr said. Meridian was really moving the ball on us, and it was pretty much score-for-score until we were finally able to make the first stop.
That stop came on fourth-and-3 with 5:26 remaining. But Meridian came up with a stop of its own, giving the ball back to its vaunted triple-option offense with 1:50 remaining.
Quarterback Jake Berard drove the Warriors to midfield, but the Grizzlies defense held again to seal the victory.
Berard finished with 145 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, while Meridian tailback Bryson Stout added 141 yards and a TD. But the Warriors only completed two passes and were unable to move the ball through the air on the games final drive.
Rocky Mountain ran the ball well, too, rushing for 298 yards. Tailback Dakota Weindel had 189 yards and a TD on 18 carries.
Our line did a great job blocking, Weindel said. Our defense came through when we needed them and we are happy to get the win. Thats three down, and we hope to get another one next week.
Rocky Mountain got off to a strong start, opening a 16-0 lead on a TD run by quarterback Riley Bradshaw, a Kyle Bendawald field goal and a TD pass from Bradshaw to Elijah Slayden.
Meridian cornerback Cole Erickson turned the games momentum with an interception return TD on the first play of the second quarter, and a 9-yard TD run by Stout cut the deficit to 16-14. The teams traded scores from there, with Weindel and backup QB Riley Thomas driving the Grizzlies down the field for the winning score a 5-yard Thomas scamper midway through the fourth quarter.