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Knights put on show in 41-27 opening win over Blackfoot

Blackfoot junior Konner Robinson stops Hillcrest wide receiver Brad Packer from making a successful completion Friday at Thunder Stadium. For a gallery of images, visit http://tinyurl.com/Hill-Bfoot-Fball. Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com

Blackfoot junior Konner Robinson stops Hillcrest wide receiver Brad Packer from making a successful completion Friday at Thunder Stadium. For a gallery of images, visit http://tinyurl.com/Hill-Bfoot-Fball. Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com

Bridger Blakeslee had a feeling his Hillcrest High School football team was capable of something special in Friday’s season opener against Blackfoot at Thunder Stadium.

But even when it was over and the Knights had rolled to an impressive 41-27 victory, the Knights senior quarterback was hesitant to say he saw it coming.

“We knew Blackfoot was a good team and we knew we would have to play well,” Blakeslee said. “And I guess that’s what we did.”

You could say that again.

Blakeslee and the Knights put on a show, displaying the balance and speed that coach Jeff Marshall has been trying to bring to Hillcrest since he left the Blackfoot program three seasons ago.

That speed and balance led to 234 yards rushing and 228 passing.

It led to five plays over 20 yards.

It led to two interceptions and a constant presence in the Blackfoot backfield.

“We’ve got a lot of playmakers,” Blakeslee said.

And it starts with Blakeslee, a 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior who was making his first varsity start at quarterback who has played a variety of roles for the Knights over the past two season. Friday he was front and center, running the offense to near perfection, especially during Hillcrest’s 27-point second quarter that turned a 7-0 lead into a laugher in a hurry.

Marshall talked about Blakeslee’s speed and throwing arm in the preseason, and walked away even more impressed with his quarterback Friday.

“I liked everything,” Marshall said. “He’s got tremendous speed, but if you look at his passes they were right on the money. And he was making the reads, checking down, doing it all. He had a good night.”

Hillcrest senior Trey Geyer weaves his way through the Blackfoot defensive line Friday at Thunder Stadium. For a gallery of images, visit http://tinyurl.com/Hill-Bfoot-Fball. Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com

Hillcrest senior Trey Geyer weaves his way through the Blackfoot defensive line Friday at Thunder Stadium. For a gallery of images, visit http://tinyurl.com/Hill-Bfoot-Fball. Pat Sutphin / psutphin@postregister.com

Blakeslee got things started early, keeping the ball on a read-option and scoring from 6 yards out with 1:14 left in the first quarter. He kept the momentum on Hillcrest’s side on the ensuing drive when he went high to win a jump ball with standout Blackfoot receiver Taylor Pearson (6 catches, 147 yards) for an interception. On the next play, Blakeslee lofted a pass over the defender and into the hands of senior Skyler Wright, who juggled the ball before collecting it and outrunning the defense for a 94-yard touchdown.

Two more touchdowns — a 32-yard screen pass from Blakeslee to Teyano Tweedie and a 53-yard TD run from Porter Empey (11 carries, 114 yards) following a pick by Sam Hernandez — put an exclamation point on the first half.

“We expected to come out and execute,” Marshall said. “And they did execute.”

Blakeslee finished with impressive numbers, running for 119 yards and two TDs on 12 carries while completing 9 of 11 passes for 223 yards and three TDs. He and Marshall were quick to credit a rebuilt offensive line.

“The big guys played well,” Marshall said. “I’m not sure they dominated, but they were efficient.”

It was mostly a night to forget for the Broncos, who rushed for less than 100 yards while making the score close with three fourth-quarter touchdowns.

But veteran Blackfoot coach Stan Buck said if nothing else it showed his young team what needs to be done.

“I think this is something we can build on,” he said. “But they have to want to do it. We’ve got decent physical ability, but we have to execute.”

Blackfoot (0-1) plays a nonconference game against Skyline on Friday at Ravsten Stadium while Hillcrest (1-0) travels to Wood River the same night.

HILLCREST 41, BLACKFOOT 27
Blackfoot 0 6 0 21 — 27
Hillcrest 7 27 0 7 — 41
First quarter
Hil — Bridger Blakeslee 6 run (Cameron Rusch kick)
Second quarter
Hil — Skyler Wright 94 pass from Blakeslee (Jose Corro kick)
Hil — Teyano Tweedie 32 pass from Blakeslee (kick failed)
Hil — Empey 53 run (Rusch kick)
Blk — Taylor Pearson 6 pass from Pacen Hayes (Rusch kick)
Hil — Bowen Oswald 19 pass from Blakeslee (Rusch kick)
Fourth quarter
Blk — Hayes 1 run (Cole Burt kick)
Hil — Blakeslee 59 run (Corro kick)
Blk — Tayson Neff 31 pass from Hayes (Burt kick)
Blk — Hayes 2 run (Burt kick)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING — Blackfoot: Pacen Hayes 12-17, Konner Robinson 3-11, Jager Leavitt 16-66, Cole Burt 1-(-1), Taylor Pearson 2-4, Nate Gregersen 2-4. Hillcrest: Bridger Blakeslee 12-119, Porter Empey 11-114, Bowen Oswald 1-1.
PASSING — Blackfoot: Hayes 11-27-2 201. Hillcrest: Blakeslee 9-11-0 223, Brayden Snarr 1-1-0 13.
RECEIVING — Blackfoot: Pearson 6-147, Robinson 1-5, Leavitt 1-3, Burt 1-9, Neff 1-31. Hillcrest: Teyano Tweedie 2-45, Empey 2-34, Skyler Wright 1-94, Kolten Westergard 2-25, Tyler Johnson 1-6, Tony Ching 1-5.

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