High School Football

Kuna football mercy-rules its way into history for first SIC championship

Kuna running back Jonathan Edwards cheers with the crowd after their 48-6 win over Bishop Kelly on Friday. No. 1-ranked Kuna remains undefeated, clinched a 4A SIC title and snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Knights.
Kuna running back Jonathan Edwards cheers with the crowd after their 48-6 win over Bishop Kelly on Friday. No. 1-ranked Kuna remains undefeated, clinched a 4A SIC title and snapped a 12-game losing streak to the Knights. kjones@idahostatesman.com

Making history is one thing.

Making history by handing your rival one of the worst losses in program history only sweetens the deal.

The Kuna High School football team dismantled Bishop Kelly for a 48-6 victory on the Knights’ home field Friday, invoking the running-clock mercy rule on its way to a pair of historical feats.

The win snapped Kuna’s 12-game losing streak to its rival. But more importantly, it clinched the No. 1-ranked Kavemen their first Southern Idaho Conference title — 5A or 4A — in program history.

“The conference title — it’s another era. It’s the start of an era,” Kuna running back/linebacker Jonathan Edwards said.

Kuna (7-0, 6-0 4A SIC) dominated from the opening whistle to the final horn, racking up 509 yards of offense to trigger the mercy rule in the fourth quarter. The clock runs continuously in the 4A classification if a team leads by 40 or more points in the second half.

The 42-point loss was the largest for No. 3-ranked Bishop Kelly (5-2, 5-2) since 1991.

“To go out here and just pound them every single down, it was awesome,” Kuna junior quarterback Sean Austin said. “We just loved that the whole way through. … Every minute of it was priceless.”

Austin completed 13-of-18 passes for 177 yards and three TDs, and he ran for another score. But the Kavemen manhandled Bishop Kelly up front, running for 332 yards at 7.4 yards per carry.

A pair of Kuna running backs finished with more than 100 yards. Ty Cobb ran for 176 yards and a TD on 14 carries, while Edwards had 154 yards and a TD on 17 carries.

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Kuna quarterback Sean Austin easily runs into the end zone for a 9-yard touchdown Friday in the Kavemen’s 48-6 win over Bishop Kelly. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

Kuna’s explosive offense has drawn most of the attention to start the season. But the Kavemen’s defense suffocated Bishop Kelly all night, holding the Knights to 189 yards.

Seventy-one of those yards came on the final drive as Ian Arellano caught a 20-yard screen pass with 27 seconds left to prevent Bishop Kelly’s first shutout since 2008.

“I’m stoked,” Kuna coach Sherm Blaser said. “If we can play like that on defense every week from here on out, I think we got a good chance.”

Kuna and Bishop Kelly both moved up from the 3A classification to 4A in 2000. Since then, the Knights have owned their former Snake River Valley rivals and built a perennial state title contender. Meanwhile, Kuna has won a single playoff game since joining the 4A ranks.

Edwards admitted the 12-game losing streak to BK had become a mental block for the Kavemen. But instead of hyping Bishop Kelly as the largest game of the season, Edwards said beating the Knights was just one of many goals for Kuna this season.

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Kuna’s Lance Ray celebrates after returning a fumble for a touchdown in the third quarter Friday. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

“I think it was the name on the shirt, to be honest with you,” Blaser said of the losing streak. “... Even in Little League, when our Little League guys were playing Bishop Kelly schools, kids that are going to come to school here, they were kind of always a little afraid.

“I hope tonight we flipped that trend.”

The conference title clinches Kuna the SIC’s top spot in the 4A state playoffs and home-field advantage through the first two rounds. But Blaser said Kuna has no plans to take it easy the final two weeks, even with two meaningless games against Emmett and Caldwell.

The Kavemen set three goals to start the season: Win a league title, win a state title and finish undefeated. And it’s going for all three.

“We’re going to prepare like it’s the Super Bowl next week and get after it,” Blaser said. “... We’re still going after our goals. We don’t want to take the foot off the gas pedal yet, or at all, until November 23 or whatever the day after the state title game is.”

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Bishop Kelly retired the baseball jersey of 2007 graduate Josh Osich at halftime. He has pitched in the Majors for five seasons, including this year with the Chicago White Sox. Katherine Jones kjones@idahostatesman.com

BISHOP KELLY RETIRES JOSH OSICH’S JERSEY

The Knights honored one of their most decorated graduates by retiring Josh Osich’s No. 22 baseball jersey at halftime Friday.

A 2007 graduate of Bishop Kelly, Osich has spent the past five seasons as a reliever in Major League Baseball. The 31-year-old left-hander has posted a 4.88 ERA over 217 MLB appearances. He spent his first four seasons with the San Francisco Giants before the Chicago White Sox claimed him off waivers before the 2019 season.

Osich was named Idaho’s all-class baseball player of the year in 2007, going 7-1 with a 1.26 ERA, 114 strikeouts and 18 walks in 61 innings. He also hit .508 for the year.

Kuna 48, Bishop Kelly 6

Kuna

7

12

20

9

48

Bishop Kelly

0

0

0

6

6

First quarter

KUN — Koltin Teater 10 pass from Sean Austin (Kaiden Minnick kick), 7:32

Second quarter

KUN — Tyler Brown 12 pass from Austin (kick blocked), 3:57

KUN — Ty Cobb 64 run (run failed), 2:14

Third quarter

KUN — Austin 9 run (pass failed), 9:34

KUN — Brown 60 pass from Austin (Jon Edwards run), 5:53

KUN — Lance Ray 25 fumble return (run failed), 4:24

Fourth quarter

KUN — Safety, 10:57

KUN — Edwards 51 run (Minnick kick), 7:03

BK — Ian Arellano 20 pass from Beau Nelson (kick blocked), 0:27

Individual leaders

RUSHING — Kuna: Sean Austin 9-8, Koltin Teater 2-10, Ryan Byers 2-2, Ty Cobb 14-176, Jon Edwards 17-154, Team 1-(-18). Bishop Kelly: Jackson Huskey 10-40, Beau Nelson 10-1, Ian Arellano 10-65, Jay Horning 1-3, Colby Weiker 1-2.

PASSING — Kuna: Austin 13-18-1 177. Bishop Kelly: Nelson 7-19-0 79.

RECEIVING — Kuna: Teater 6-61, Tyler Brown 3-83, Zeke Wilson 4-33. Bishop Kelly: Keegan Croteau 1-7, Paul O’Neill 1-14, Jefferson Cilley 1-20, Arellano 4-38.

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Michael Lycklama has covered Idaho high school sports since 2007. He’s won national awards for his work uncovering the stories of the Treasure Valley’s best athletes and investigating behind-the-scenes trends.If you like seeing stories like this, please consider supporting our work with a digital subscription to the Idaho Statesman.
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