FRUITLAND Spectators at Fridays 3A Snake River Valley showdown between Homedale and Fruitland were treated to a spectacular halftime show that culminated in the choreographed slaying of a dragon.
Unfortunately for Fruitland, the football game followed a similar script. Underdog Homedale forced six turnovers and scored two defensive touchdowns in a stunning 34-12 victory at Ben Kerfoot Athletic Complex.
The victory likely ends Fruitlands seven-year stranglehold on the 3A SRV title, while giving Homedale the inside track to its first league championship since 2003.
People said Homedale couldnt win, but I knew these kids had it in them to be a championship team, said Trojans coach Matt Holtry, still dripping from a postgame ice bath. The kids believed in themselves, and it didnt matter what anyone on the outside thought or believed.
Sophomore tailback Josh Tolmie rushed for 110 yards and senior receiver Lane Sale caught two TD passes for Homedale (5-1, 3-0 SRV), which defeated Fruitland (6-1, 2-1) for the first time since joining the league.
Trouble started early for Fruitland.
The Grizzlies had scores erased by penalties on their first two drives and came away empty. Fruitland finally broke through late in the first quarter when quarterback Jerred Seamons hooked up with Josh Rhinehart for a 31-yard TD.
After a Homedale punt, Seamons was picked off by senior Bryan Johnson, who returned his second interception of the game 37 yards for a second-quarter TD.
We knew Fruitland was good, but we prepared for them all week, Johnson said. It feels great to come in and beat them, and for our defense to play so well, its awesome.
The Homedale defense struck again when, with the Grizzlies inside the red zone, Seamons fumbled while getting sacked. Talon Freelove scooped up the ball and raced 73 yards to make it 13-6.
Bolstered by its playmaking defense, the Homedale offense finally got going. An 87-yard drive capped by quarterback Lawsen Mattesons 1-yard run made it 20-6 late in the second quarter.
Homedale nearly slammed the door just before halftime when Sale picked up another fumble near midfield, but the 6-foot-6 senior lost his footing while attempting to score down the sideline.
Sale atoned in the third quarter, catching TD passes of 10 and 3 yards the second after the Trojans recovered a squib kick at the Fruitland 16 to put the game out of reach.
I should have run that fumble all the way back, but I slipped, Sale said. But we definitely had the momentum coming out for the second half, and it felt good to make some plays, score a couple touchdowns and really put the game away.
Ryan Rule rushed for 119 yards and a TD for Fruitland, which outgained Homedale 344-222 but couldnt overcome six turnovers and nine penalties.