High School Football

Nampa Christian football falls in semifinals, takes third

Grangeville defensive lineman TJ Wiltse sacks Nampa Christian QB Steve Tiersma in the 2A semifinals Friday. Tiersma was ruled down before the ball came out.
Grangeville defensive lineman TJ Wiltse sacks Nampa Christian QB Steve Tiersma in the 2A semifinals Friday. Tiersma was ruled down before the ball came out. jjaszewski@idahostatesman.com

Grangeville’s Austin Parks caught seven passes for 147 yards and three touchdowns, Layton Harris threw for 265 yards and five TDs, and Grangeville rolled to a 48-34 state semifinal victory over Nampa Christian on Friday at Campbell Field.

Grangeville (8-3) advances to play Aberdeen for the 2A state title next weekend at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow. Nampa Christian (8-3) falls one game short of reaching its first state final since 1996.

The passing attack helped the Bulldogs build an early lead. A 21-yard strike from Harris to Parks made it 7-0 after one quarter of play, and the duo was just getting started.

Parks caught scoring passes of 11 and 9 yards in the second quarter — sandwiched around Nampa Christian’s first score on a 46-yard catch and run by junior Nick Tuttle — as Grangeville grabbed a 19-7 advantage.

Touchdown runs of 5 yards by Luke Stokes and 55 yards by Jake Kaschmitter made it 33-7 as the Bulldogs looked to run away. But senior quarterback Steve Tiersma barreled in for a 1-yard TD in the final minute of the quarter, cutting the deficit to 33-14.

Grangeville opened the second-half scoring, taking advantage of a botched fake punt to make it 40-14 on a 5-yard pass from Harris to Stokes. But the Trojans continued to rally behind Tuttle. The speedy junior took a jet sweep 35 yards to the end zone, then intercepted Harris for the second time to set up an 11-yard scoring pass from Tiersma to Andrew Anderson.

“We fought hard,” Tiersma said. “Things didn’t end up going the way we wanted them to — and that happens in life sometimes — but I’m proud of the guys. We fought like lions, and we never gave up.”

Tiersma answered with another 1-yard scoring run, but the Trojans’ rally ran out of steam.

“We fell into too big of a hole,” first-year Nampa Christian coach Jerry Smith said. “[Parks] made some big plays for them, and it really hurt us that we didn’t capitalize on our first two drives.

“The loss is disappointing right now, but we had a great season. We’re really going to miss our senior class, but this is definitely something for us to build on.”

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