If the Bishop Kelly High football team had its way, it’d never throw the ball.
A dominant offensive line and a stable of potent running backs provide the Knights a lethal running attack. But that attack sputtered at times Friday, and Bishop Kelly took to the air and unveiled a few trick plays to secure a 28-21 home victory over Middleton in the 4A state quarterfinals.
“Everyone knows we run a lot when they watch film,” Bishop Kelly quarterback Bronson King said. “We’re just going to keep practicing pass plays in practice, and when we pull those pass plays out like we did in the game, it’ll take them by surprise and make big plays.”
The victory keeps Bishop Kelly (8-2), the two-time defending state champ, in the running for the first three-peat in 5A or 4A history in the Idaho High School Activities Association era. The Knights travel to Pocatello’s Holt Arena next week to take on Century (8-3) in the semifinals. A time and date had not been set by press time Friday.
The Knights edged Middleton three weeks ago, taking advantage of five turnovers. But on Friday, Bishop Kelly was the turnover-prone squad, giving the ball away three times.
Bishop Kelly opened the game with an 11-play, 77-yard drive that Ivan Torrez capped with a 4-yard TD run. But the Vikings shut down the Knights the rest of the first half, holding them to 28 yards on 12 plays, then recovering a Bishop Kelly fumble on the opening possession of the second half.
Trailing 14-7, Bishop Kelly forced a three-and-out, then hit Middleton with a 30-yard, wide receiver TD pass from Travis Allumbaugh to Vince Sengelmann to tie the game. The Knights had never run that play this season.
“We saw the safety coming up when they saw something short,” Allumbaugh said. “So we thought we might as well hit them with a trick play they haven’t seen before. I threw it up to Vince, and he made a play.”
Bishop Kelly struck quickly again on its next possession, running play action on its second play. Tight end Joe Sarabia released up the middle and caught the quick pass. He slipped a tackle from the safety, then ran the final 60 yards all by himself for a 70-yard, pitch-and-catch from King to take the lead.
Bishop Kelly only completed one other pass, a 2-yard loss to Jon Baumgardner. The Knights, who ran for 231 yards, iced the game when Torrez hit the left edge for a 9-yard TD run and 28-14 lead with 2 minutes, 4 seconds left. Middleton threatened with Caleb Harrel’s 1-yard TD run with 40 seconds on the clock, but Jake Jorgensen recovered the onside kick to keep the Knights’ chase for a three-peat alive.
“I’m proud of the guys and the way they battled at the end of the game,” Brennan said. “We get to practice Monday. That’s all we talked about.”