Tradition never graduates at Bishop Kelly, the saying goes. Neither does a dominating defense.
The Knights and their league-leading defense stonewalled Emmett and its league-leading offense Friday night, holding the Huskies scoreless until late in the fourth quarter in a 14-6 win at Emmett High.
“On film, they have rushes of 50-plus yards, so it was just limiting the big plays and making them drive down the field,” Bishop Kelly senior safety Rex Irby said. “It was just coming out and playing with a really big intensity every single play.”
No. 4 Emmett (3-3, 1-3 4A SIC) entered Friday averaging 307 rushing yards per game. The No. 2 Knights (6-0, 4-0) held Emmett to 46 yards on 33 carries, repeatedly pushing into the backfield and disrupting the Huskies before they could ever get started.
“We attacked them,” Bishop Kelly coach Tim Brennan said. “Our kids stayed low, got into the gaps, like we told them. We did some slants and different things. They just executed the game plan really well.”
Bishop Kelly also responded each time it was called upon to defend on a short field. Emmett’s Colton Watts returned an interception to the Bishop Kelly 32 in the first quarter, but Irby snared an interception of his own inside the Knights’ 10-yard line to snuff out the threat.
A Kaleb Muffley 55-yard kick return set the Huskies up at the BK 35 in the second quarter, but the Knights’ defense earned another stop inside their own 10, and then Luke McLauglin blocked a 23-yard field goal try.
Irby, a three-year starter and reigning first-team All-Idaho safety, led the Bishop Kelly defense all night, finishing with two interceptions and propelling himself from sideline to sideline — and even into the backfield — to make plays.
“Rex is as good of a free safety as I’ve coached,” Brennan said. “He is so smart and so aggressive and knows that defense.”
Bishop Kelly struggled to run the ball as well (63 yards on 33 carries), as two dominating defenses traded blows for 48 minutes. But the Knights picked their spots to spring play-action passes.
Will Grasser found himself running free behind the Emmett defense on the game’s opening drive for a 36-yard TD pass from Carter Wahl. Wahl also found Cam Foley in the flat for an 8-yard TD pass in the second quarter, a score Wahl set up with a 35-yard, play-action strike to Kendrick Brasby.
Injuries sidelined two of Emmett’s top offensive and defensive players. Receiver/corner DJ Crump sat out with a concussion sustained at the end of last week’s game, and running back/safety Jake Whittemore missed the game after suffering a strained hamstring in practice.
Emmett mustered only 182 yards of offense, 93 of which came in the fourth quarter.
“At the end of the day, when we were down a couple of our big playmakers, we just missed on some things,” Emmett coach Zane Hines said. “I’m proud of the guys and proud of their effort.”
The loss puts the Huskies’ playoff chances in danger. After three straight losses to conference powers Middleton, Skyview and Bishop Kelly, Emmett faces three must-win games to close the season.
“Now we’ve got to win out,” Hines said. “We’ve just got to stay positive, stick together and learn from our mistakes, and move forward.”
The victory continues Bishop Kelly’s dominance over the 4A SIC. The Knights have won 19 straight against conference opponents and are seeking their fifth straight league title.
BISHOP KELLY 14, EMMETT 6
BK — Will Grasser 36 pass from Carter Wahl (Jackson Stingley kick), 10:09
BK — Cam Foley 8 pass from Wahl (Stingley kick), 7:10
EMM — Kaleb Muffley 15 pass from Dylan Bemis (kick failed), 1:37
RUSHING — Bishop Kelly: Carter Wahl 7-6, Khalil Forehand 6-22, Cam Foley 17-35, Rex Irby 2-(-1), Thomas Rizzo 1-1. Emmett: Dylan Bemis 9-15, Michael Walker 11-27, Jayden Smith 11-19, Taylor Fletcher 1-(-14), Team 1-(-1).
PASSING — Bishop Kelly: Wahl 8-13-1 126; J.J. Sabala 2-2-0 37. Emmett: Bemis 13-27-2 136.
RECEIVING — Bishop Kelly: Wahl 1-15, Dan Marlow 3-28, Kendrick Brasby 1-35, Foley 3-39, Sabala 1-10, Will Grasser 1-36. Emmett: Brett Kern 1-4, Spencer Keene 2-19, Colton Watts 2-26, Wyatt Bailey 4-30, Kaleb Muffley 4-57.