Highland vs Century football

Highland’s Easton Durham (4) was not to be denied the score as Century’s Braydon Wight (23) tries to keep him out of the end zone Friday night during their game at Holt Arena.

POCATELLO — Highland's first two offensive plays on Friday were passes. Can you believe that?

It didn't stay that way for long.

The Rams rushed for a single-game school-record 499 yards, led by Kaleb Demuzio's single-game school-record 298 yards, in an explosive 56-33 win over Century at Holt Arena.

Demuzio's historic mark surpassed the previous record of 288 yards, set by Troy Bell in the 1995 state title game against Nampa. The prior team record of 497 yards rushing had stood since 1975.

"That's pretty," Demuzio said. "I don't know what else to say. That's pretty."

PHOTOS: Highland-Century football

Demuzio logged 28 carries, feasting as Highland's offense scored eight touchdowns in 10 possessions. The junior ripped off runs of 58, 41 and 35 yards to climb toward the record, which no Highland player had threatened since Taysom Hill rushed for 275 yards in 2008.

Demuzio also ran in two touchdowns, giving him six for the season. He was handed the ball on eight consecutive plays spanning two drives in the third quarter, providing the bulk of the work during a stretch of 16 consecutive runs.

The Rams rushed 51 times in all, averaging 9.8 yards per tote.

"Our O-line did a phenomenal job blasting off the ball," said Highland quarterback Easton Durham, who rushed 15 times for 167 yards and four touchdowns. "We just started off strong and didn't stop from there."

The Rams (6-1, 1-0 5A District 5-6) scored two touchdowns in each quarter to out-pace with Century's potent passing attack. The Diamondbacks (4-3, 2-1 4A District 4-5 East Pod) and Highland traded the game's first six touchdowns -- though Century missed two extra points -- until Highland scored 14 unanswered points to charge ahead 35-19 midway through the third quarter. The Rams scored 14 of the game's next 20 points from there to build a 49-25 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Century quarterback Nathan Manning hit Jovan Sowell for a 42-yard touchdown and Century converted the 2-point try to get within 49-33 with 9 minutes, 12 seconds left in the fourth. A successful onside kick gave the D-backs life and the ball at Highland's 49-yard line.

But Century gave the ball back to the Rams on downs, and Durham needed just two plays to all but seal the win.

From his own 40, Durham found the edge and rushed for 31 yards down the left sideline. He followed it with a 29-yard burst around the opposite tackle and into the end zone for the game's final score.

Durham also threw for 102 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 269 total yards and six total TDs.

Manning, his counterpart, was busy. He threw 49 passes and led Century with 63 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 10 carries. The senior was tapped to lead Century's comeback attempt through the air, as Highland's formidable defensive front nearly eliminated the rushing attack.

Manning completed 22 of those passes for 316 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. He lasered in on Sowell, hitting the speedy receiver 12 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns.

Highland's Demuzio

Highland’s Kaleb Demuzio carries the ball during a game Friday against Century at Holt Arena.

But as the game wore on and Highland's lead kept increasing, the Rams softened their defensive approach and banked on the pass. Manning also took plenty of hits, and other close calls forced him to rush throws.

"When they start getting able to drop four guys into pretty deep coverage and then drop linebackers and play the 6- and 7-yard pass, that's tough to throw against that, against anybody," Century coach Travis Hobson said. "He started to get hit quite a bit. You start growing eyes in the back of your head, you don't quite have our eyes downfield, that changes how guys throw."

Century's 33 points are the most any team has scored against Highland this season, topping the previous high of 23 by Salt Lake City's East High. Drew Gunter added five grabs for 121 yards and a 42-yard touchdown to give the D-backs a pair of 100-yard receivers.

"They've got some good kids. They've got a good quarterback, he throws the ball pretty well," Highland coach Gino Mariani said. "They made some plays. What else can you say, they're going to."

The off night for Highland's defense won't be remembered. Friday was about Demuzio, Durham and the Rams' rushing attack.

The lone blemish was an injury to running back Dalton Jones, who normally splits carries with Demuzio. Jones left the game in the second quarter and didn't return. Mariani said the senior dislocated his shoulder and was unsure of Jones' recovery timetable.

The Rams' 56 points are their most since scoring 58 against Idaho Falls in 2015. The crosstown rivalry win makes it sweeter.

You can believe that.

"Scoring 56 points running it up the middle," Demuzio said. "I like that."

Up next:

Highland plays Friday at Madison. Century plays Friday at Minico.


Century 6 13 6 8 — 33

Highland 14 14 14 14 — 56

Scoring summary

First quarter

H — Durham 1 run (Hershey PAT), 9:42

C — Manning 17 run (kick failed), 6:45

H — Demuzio 35 run (Hershey kick), 3:29

Second quarter

C — Manning 7 run (kick failed), 9:50

H — Wilhelm 5 pass from Durham (Hershey kick), 3:16

C — Gunter 42 pass from Manning (Manning kick), 2:17

H — Durham 1 run (Hershey kick), 0:38

Third quarter

H — Demuzio 14 run (Hershey kick), 7:26

C — Sowell 7 pass from Manning (pass failed), 4:41

H — Durham 1 run (Hershey kick), 3:09

Fourth quarter

H — Potter 9 pass from Durham (Hershey kick), 9:58

C — Sowell 42 pass from Manning (T. Fleischmann pass from Manning), 9:12

H — Durham 29 run (Hershey kick), 8:26

Individual stats

Passing — Century: Manning 22-49-316-3-1. Highland: Durham 9-12-102-2-1.

Rushing — Century: Andersen 5-17, Manning 10-63-2, Hillman 2-15, B. Fleischmann 1-1. Highland: Durham 15-167-4, Jones 6-28, Demuzio 28-298-2, Potter 2-6.

Receiving — Century: Sowell 12-143-2, B. Fleischmann 1-3, Gunter 5-121-1, T. Fleischmann 3-47, Andersen 1-2. Highland: Demuzio 2-13, King 1-11, Jones 1-6, Wilhelm 1-5-1, Huelsman 1-10, Potter 3-57-1.