POCATELLO — That very large exhale heard from Idaho State's Holt Arena late Saturday night was the huge sigh of relieve from the large Blackfoot contingent as their defense made not one, but two huge stops late in the fourth quarter to seal the 34-27 semi-final victory over the Skyview Hawks.
All week long leading up to Saturday nights contest there was doubt as to who would be taking snaps under center for the Broncos. As word spread that senior dynamo Alonzo Ramos was healing quickly so did the Blackfoot confidence in a repeat trip to the 4A state title game.
Ramos wasted little time in showing that he was feeling pretty darn good on Saturday night as he coolly stepped into a 37 yard pitch and catch with Cody Evans on the games first play from scrimmage, igniting a drive that witnessed Blackfoot taking the 6-0 lead on a Kyler Haddon 1 yard touchdown plunge.
The hot start through the air continued for Ramos as he finished the day with 325 yards while connecting on 20 of 30 passing attempts.
"We knew that this was going to be a hard fought game," Blackfoot head coach Stan Buck said. "Those guys want to win badly and we want to win badly. Overall a tremendous effort. They did a good job of stopping our run, that was their focus but Alonzo made some nice plays in the passing game. Colby made some nice plays and we took what the defense gave us."
Skyview responded with a touchdown drive of their own to tie the game at 6-6 but midway through the second quarter Blackfoot went back in front when Ramos found his favorite target, Colby Pearson on an 11 yard pass in the back of the end zone for the 13-6 lead. Two minutes later that lead grew to 19-6 when Ramos hit James Korth for a 9 yard touchdown strike as Korth laid out for the catch while dragging his feet to stay in bounds on the play.
"We were able to make some plays there in the first half to make the game ours but unfortunately we made some mistakes and let them back in it," Coach Buck said.
Skyview did take advantage of a couple of Blackfoot penalties and which aided in them being able to march the length of the field for a touchdown with 0:31 remaining in the half and as the two teams sprinted to the locker room, Blackfoot held a slim 19-13 lead with the Hawks set to receive the second half kick off.
With that second half kick off Skyview took advantage as Anthony Marin connected with Lane Robbins on a swing pass that turned into a 72 yard touchdown and suddenly, the Broncos trailed 20-19.
"It was definitely uncomfortable," James Korth said. "Everybody on the team had heart though and it drove us."
Blackfoot responded to the big play with one of their own however as Pearson and Ramos connected once again, this time from 68 yards out as Ramos hit a streaking Pearson on a post route in which Pearson never broke stride as he raced to pay dirt. A two point conversion to Cody Evans and Blackfoot had a lead that they never relinquished at 27-20.
"We thought that we would see more two deep safeties. They have some good corners and we tested them and we were able to get some big plays," Coach Buck said. "Colby's a nice kid to have. You have to be pretty good if your going to man up on him."
Blackfoot added some much needed insurance as Ramos dialed up a 14 yard touchdown pass to Pearson with 7:35 remaining in the fourth quarter as the large Blackfoot contingent celebrated a 34-20 advantage.
Not so fast the Skyview team responded however as they made short work on an offensive drive that took just two minutes off the game clock as they pulled back to within one score at 34-27.
On the ensuing Blackfoot possession the Hawks defense bowed up, forcing a punt by the Broncos. Skyview proceeded to drive the ball deep into Blackfoot territory and it looked as if the game may be heading to overtime but James Korth put the kibosh on that plan when he stepped in front of the intended receiver on the 12 yard line for the interception with 1:47 remaining.
"I was just reading the quarterback and I swear I was cross-eyed or something because I had one eye on the quarterback and one eye on the receiver and the quarterback took me right to the receiver," Korth said. "I watched a ton of film, it was something that I was ready for and it was an obvious play that I felt that they could run and I was just ready for it."
Skyview got one more chance to tie the game but on a fourth and two, Colby Pearson batted the intended pass away, sealing the victory and propelling the Broncos (10-1) into next Friday's championship game with Middleton. The game will be played at Dona Larson Park at 7 p.m.
BLACKFOOT 34, SKYVIEW 27
Skyview 6 7 7 7 - 27
Blackfoot 6 13 8 7 - 34
BF – Kyler Haddon 1 run (Gabby Botello kick blocked), 8:04
S – Jaxon Pryor 4 run (Tim Mohlke run failed), 3:44
BF – Colby Pearson 11 pass from Alonzo Ramos (Botello kick), 6:03
BF – James Korth 9 pass from Ramos (Bottelo kick wide left), 4:33
S – Kacy Bonds 12 pass from Anthony Marin (Mohlke kick), 0:31
S – Lane Robbins 72 pass from Marin (Mohlke kick), 10:24
BF – Pearson 68 pass from Ramos (Ramos to Cody Evans pass), 1:25
BF – Pearson 14 pass from Ramos (Botello kick), 7:35
S – Pryor 4 run (Mohlke kick), 5:13
First downs 25 17
Total yards 425 373
Rushes-yards 32-64 27-48
Passing yards 361 325
Cmp-Att-Int 31-48-3 20-30-2
Fumbles-lost 4-0 0-0
Turnovers 3 2
Penalties 4-29 8-65
Time of possession 24:55 23:05
RUSHING – Skyview: Anthony Marin 10-1, Jaxon Pryor 20-50, Austin Ball 2-13. Blackfoot: Ryan Murdoch 1-5, Kyler Haddon 8-18, Alonzo Ramos 8-(-2), Dallas Thompson 9-25, Mitch Martin 1-2.
PASSING – Skyview: Marin 31-48-3 361. Blackfoot: Ramos 20-30-2 325.
RECEIVING – Skyview: Lane Robbins 11-150, Joe Miller 7-61, Pryor 4-46, Kacy Bonds 4-49, Walker Ray 5-55. Blackfoot: Cody Evans 4-61, Colby Pearson 7-151, Austin Campbell 2-26, Cody Averett 1-13, Matt Petersen 1-10, Murdoch 1-11, James Korth 3-44, Thompson 1-9.