Boise coach Bob Clark and Eagle coach Paul Peterson approached Thursday nights 5A Southern Idaho Conference football opener like a new-car test drive.
Both experimented with personnel, and gave ample thought to their options.
The result was a 48-24 victory for Eagle, but not without a first-half run by the Braves that shook the Mustangs confidence.
We made an awful lot of mistakes and we are going to have a lot that we are going to have to clean up here in the next few weeks, otherwise we are not going to be so fortunate, Peterson said. We did run the ball pretty effectively tonight. I thought the offensive line did a really good job of coming off.
Hampered by 77 yards in penalties, the Mustangs led 26-17 at the break before turning to the run to punish the Braves in the second half.
Eagle ran the ball more than 25 times in the final two quarters with about six passing plays to finish with more than 400 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Josh Labrador rushed for 107 yards and a TD on eight carries, and Bucky Schrader added 173 yards on 16 carries.
I think we started off a little bit slow, but we focused at halftime on concentration and doing each persons job and brought it together as a unit, Eagle right guard Taylor Beagley said.
For Boise, the game was about finding a quarterback to replace three-year starter Tanner Gustavsen. Clark used three senior Tyler Cox, senior Cole Blender and sophomore Calen Gustavsen, Tanners brother.
Cox started and hit 15-of-20 passes for 178 yards and three TDs, while Gustavsen accounted for 53 passing yards and 23 rushing yards.
They both did great things. Well go back and look at the film and see, Clark said. Our dilemma is one of them starts at safety, but they both want to be it. It will be a game-time decision next week and well see who steps up.
Boise plays rival Borah next Thursday at Dona Larsen, while Eagle is at home Friday against Centennial.
We have to shore up some stuff defensively, but that goes with playing a lot of new kids, Clark said. Eagle is a great team, so it was a great test for us and Im upbeat. Were ready to go.
Rachel Roberts: 377-6422