THOMAS â€” Nate Martin rushed for 118 yards and a pair of touchdowns while the defensive unit pitched a near shutout as the Snake River Panthers opened conference play with a most impressive 41-6 victory over long time nemesis Marsh Valley on Friday evening.
"We wanted to come out and set a tone," Nate Martin said. "We just wanted to keep fired up from start till finish tonight."
And set the tone the Panthers did as Martin took the second offensive snap through a gaping hole and then raced fifty yards for the game first touchdown just 0:27 into the contest.
"It was a trap play and the offensive line just opened up a ginormous hole," Martin said. "I just hit the hole hard, made one cut and then just finished the run."
"Slow starts have been our achilles heel all year long," Snake River head coach Jeff Dalley said. "We've been preaching to the kids all year to come out, start fast and make a statement and tonight they did that."
After the defense held the Eagles on the their first offensive possession the Panthers then went to the air as senior signal caller Wyatt Wray connected with senior wide receiver Bret Parkinson on an 18 yard touchdown strike for a 13-0 advantage.
Wray finished the evening and efficient 6 of 10 passing for 179 yards and a pair of touchdown tosses.
"I'm happy for Wyatt," Coach Dalley said. "He has had some struggles early in the year and to come out and play as well as he did tonight, you can just see the boost in his confidence. You can see some of that old swagger in his step like you saw at then end of last year."
After an Eagle score midway through the second quarter, Wray got a big confidence boost when he hit Adrian Castaneda on a 67 yard touchdown pass. Five minutes later, Martin addd his second touchdown run of the night, this time fro 13 yards out and the Panthers held a 27-6 lead heading into the break.
With the big lead, Snake River effectively salted the game away with their rushing attack in the second half with Gio Pimentel and Caleb Phillips each scoring third quarter rushing touchdowns as the Panthers finished the evening with 263 yards rushing as a team.
"Marsh Valley has had our number the last couple of seasons so it was good to see our kids come out focused and ready to go," Coach Dalley said. "The kids are starting to believe in each other again."
Snake River (4-3, 1-0) will hit the road over the final two regular season games beginning with a long bus ride to Montpelier next Friday night for a game with Bear Lake.
SNAKE RIVER 41, MARSH VALLEY 6
Marsh Valley 0 6 0 0 - 6
Snake River 13 14 14 0 - 41
SR - Nate Martin 50 run (Gio Pimentel kick), 11:33
SR - Bret Parkinson 18 pass from Wyatt Wray (kick fail), 3:50
MV - Ryan Evans 1 run (pass fail), 8:15
SR - Adrian Castaneda 67 pass from Wyatt Wray (pass fail), 7:19
SR - Nate Martin 13 run (Brad Coombs pass from Wray), 2:22
SR - Gio Pimentel 23 run (Pimentel kick), 8:16
SR - Caleb Phillips 20 run (Pimentel kick), 1:21
RUSHING - Marsh Valley:Tyeson Ierson 14-50, Ryan Evans 8-27, Devon Nelson 8-25, Dylan Brown 4-14, Tyler Madsen 3-13, Jake Lacy 1-(-8), Tyler Denney 1-7. Snake River: Nate Martin 13-118, Brad Coombs 2-18, Gio Pimentel 2-24, Caleb Phillips 2-23, Adrian Castaneda 3-28, Wyatt Wray 2-(-2), Cash Cardona 1-20, Collin Bingham 2-4, Dakota Gilbert 2-11, Kade Keller 1-11, Payden Dalley 1-8.
PASSING - Marsh Valley: Jake Lacy 6-9-0 44, Snake River: Wyatt Wray 6-10-0 179.
RECEIVING - Marsh Valley: Ryan Evans 2-8, Hunter Dayton 3-34, Devon Nelson 1-2. Snake River: Bret Parkinson 2-56, Nate Martin 1-20, Cole Hrabik 1-27, Adrian Castaneda 2-80.