MORELAND — Fans of high-scoring aerial shootouts and fourth-quarter, game-winning drives, keep clear of the Shelley Russets.
Because the Russets dispatch foes with a workmanlike, nasty defense that’s suffocating and a power-running offense with big play ability.
Shelley collected its third shutout of the season and the Russets blanked Snake River 26-0 Saturday at Snake River High School.
Shelley (9-1) advanced to the 3A semifinals for the second year in a row, and just like last season, the Russets will play Gooding for a state title game berth.
Since losing to Manti (Utah) Sept. 13, Shelley has routed its last seven opponents by a cumulative 214 points.
And where head coach Travis Hobson and the Russets have been good, really good, is on defense. They held Snake River to 94 yards on the ground and 69 yards through the air.
After the game, Hobson struggled to find any flaws in his defense’s play.
“Defensive line played exceptional,” Hobson said. “Linebackers were bringing the wood today. I was appreciating how hard my guys were playing. ... The defensive backs, that’s probably the hardest I’ve seen them hit yet. So I like the physicality of our defense.”
But Snake River is no slouch. They lacked the depth and senior experience of the Russets, but head coach Jeff Dalley and the Panthers managed to keep the state’s top 3A ranked squad in check.
Shelley scored on its opening two possessions — both long, seven-plus play drives capped off by Randy Bauer touchdown runs — but Snake’s David Serna picked off Shelley quarterback Kaden Schmitt at the one-yard line, Brad Coombs sacked Schmitt to force a punt and the Panthers held firm on a Shelley’s final drive of the half that stalled at Snake’s seven-yard line.
“Our defense has been lights out all year,” Dalley said.
The Panthers, however, trailing 14-0 at half, could never mount a comeback. They picked off Schmitt twice, but the deepest Snake could penetrate into Shelley territory was the 20-yard line, and that drive petered out on a fourth-down incompletion.
“We moved the ball,” Dalley said. “We just never could get in the end zone.”
Apart from Schmitt’s two turnovers, Shelley’s offense found success with balance. The Russets finished with 215 rushing yards and Schmitt threw for 278 yards, completing 13-of-21 passes.
Schmitt added another 76 rushing yards, Bauer rumbled for 94 yards with two touchdowns on 11 caries and Jason Hathaway dove in from 5 yards out for Shelley’s third rushing score.
“About the hardest I’ve seen Randy Bauer run in the four years I’ve known him,” Hobson said. “So hats off to him. He played well today. And he even moved laterally which is something I’ve never seen him do. He showed me he’s got things in his tool box I didn’t know he had.”
Snake River ends its season with a 7-3 overall record.
Shelley moves on to the final four in 3A Idaho high school football to play Gooding, a team the Russets knocked 47-7 in Gooding a season ago.
“They’re about as physical of a ball club that I’ve seen,” Hobson said. “I’ve seen them live twice now and seen quite a bit of film on them. They’re physical. They play hard. They’re extremely aggressive.”
Shelley 26, Snake River 0
Shelley 7 7 12 0 — 26
Snake River 0 0 0 0 — 0
SH — Randy Bauer 8 run (Tyler Fredrickson kick) 5:07
SH — Bauer 16 run (Fredrickson kick) 9:39
SH — Jason Hathaway 5 run (run failed) 4:18
SH — Josh Peterson 55 catch from Kaden Schmitt (run faile) :06
Team Statistics Shelley Snake River
First Downs 19 9
Rushing yards 215 94
Passing comp-att 13-22 8-22
Passing yards 278 69
Passing TD-INT 1-2 0-1
Punts-avg. 3-29 5-33
Penalties-yards 6-55 1-15
Time of possession 24:43 23:17
Rushing: Shelley — Kaden Schmitt 10-76, Randy Bauer 11-94-2, Jason Hathaway 7-28-1, Cameron Waite 1 - (-7), Jacob Sutherin 4-25, Bryon Leckington 1 - (-1). Snake River — Kade Keller 8-23, Brad Coombs 6-4, Sean Miller 8-58, Wyatt Vogler 2 (-4), Collin Bingham 3-4, David Serna 2-9.
Receiving: Shelley — Tyler Bean 2-28, Randy Bauer 2-23, Cameron Waite 4-78, Taylor Lund 2-91, Josh Peterson 2-62, Dalton Nelsno 1 - (-4). Snake River — Collin Bingham 4-27, Kade Harral 1-9, David Serna 1-8, #3 1-22, Wyatt Vogler 1-3.
Passing: Shelley — Kaden Schmitt 13-21-278-1-2. Snake River — Kade Keller 1-6-26-0-0, Sean Miller 7-16-43-0-1.