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Special teams miscues cost Shelley in 35-14 loss to Tooele

POCATELLO — There are hundreds of things a high school head coach can choose to focus on in the two weeks leading up to the opening game.

It was one of the things first-year Shelley head coach Jake Monahan said he didn’t highlight that cost his team during Saturday’s 2015 Teton Honda/Teton Hyundai Rocky Mountain Rumble game against Tooele (Utah) at Holt Arena.

Two mishandled punts set up two Tooele touchdowns and the Buffaloes pulled away in the fourth quarter to earn a 35-14 victory.

“We didn’t have them prepared on special teams, and that’s on us as coaches and on me as the head coach,” Monahan said. “And as the head coach of this team I won’t let that happen again.”

Oddly enough, it was a botched snap on a punt midway through the first quarter that set up Shelley’s first touchdown. After forcing a three-and-out, the snap sailed high over the head of the Tooele punter, who dove on the ball at the 5. Three plays later, Russets junior quarterback Bryon Leckington play-faked and found Rollin Sutherin wide open in the flat for a touchdown.

The score stayed that way until the final seconds of the first half. Shelley had stopped Tooele’s offense again, forcing a punt near midfield. But the Shelley returner mishandled the ball and it was recovered by the Buffaloes. On the next play, Demetrius Smith went in motion in the backfield then took off on a wheel route and senior quarterback Carver Jaramillo found him with a perfect throw. Tooele failed on the two-point attempt and Shelley maintained a 7-6 lead at halftime.

Tooele grabbed the lead for good midway through the third quarter, putting together its best drive and capping it with a 2-yard TD run from Jaramillo and a two-point pass.

The punt return problems bit again early in the fourth, with another bobbled return setting Tooele up at the Shelley 16. Eight plays later, Brady Ryan barely pushed the ball across the goal line and the Buffaloes had a two-score lead that became three on the next series when Ryan broke off a 31-yard TD run.

Shelley got that score back when Leckington hit Brennan Wattenbarger from 27 yards out, but Tooele tacked on a final score and the Russets ran out of time.

All in all it was a solid start for the rebuilding Russets, who have a new coach and new faces all over the field.

“Obviously we don’t like to lose, but there’s a lot of good to take out of this,” Monahan said. “I feel like from a physical standpoint the kids exceeded our expectations. They played their hearts out.”

Senior Jonathan Carranza led the offense, rushing for 84 yards on 14 carries. Leckington completed 7 of 14 passes for 100 yards while Wattenbarger caught three of those passes for 74 yards.

Things don’t get any easier for Shelley (0-1) this week when the Russets host defending 3A state champion Snake River (1-0) at 7 p.m. Friday.

TOOELE (Utah) 35, SHELLEY 14
Tooele 0 6 8 21 — 35
Shelley 7 0 0 7 — 14
First quarter
SHL — Rollin Sutherin 6 pass from Bryon Leckington (Angel Herrera kick)
Second quarter
TLE — Demetrius Smith 15 pass from Carver Jaramillo (Nate Reynolds run failed)
Third quarter
TLE — Jaramillo 2 run (Jaramillo pass to Brady Ryan)
Fourth quarter
TLE — Ryan 1 run (Eli Shovan kick)
TLE — Ryan 31 run (Shovan kick)
SHL — Brennan Wattenbarger 27 pass from Leckington (Herrera kick)
TLE — Ty Allred 40 interception return (Shovan kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING — Tooele: Brady Ryan 15-78, Carver Jaramillo 9-37, Demetrius Smith 7-29, Lincoln Powers 3-25, Hunter Naylor 4-14, Gunner Clegg 3-10, Nate Reynolds 2-0, Brayden Borders 1-(-1). Shelley: Jonathon Carranza 15-84, Rollin Sutherin 5-28, Hunter Carter 4-19, Angel Herrera 2-18, Justin Jensen 2-13, Bryon Leckington 8-4, Justin Anderson 2-1, Matt Leal 1-0, Brayden Waddoups 1-(-5).
PASSING — Tooele: Jaramillo 5-7-1 82. Shelley: Leckington 7-14-1 100
RECEIVING — Tooele: Ryan 3-42, Reynolds 1-25, Smith 1-15. Shelley: Wattenbarger 3-74, Waddoups 1-11, Herrera 2-9. Sutherin 1-6.

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