By Scott McIntosh
For the Kuna Melba News
Rome wasn’t built in a day. And the Kuna football program wasn’t rebuilt in a season.
The Kuna varsity football program still has a long climb back to the top, as evidenced by last week’s 52-9 drubbing at the hands of Bishop Kelly.
So what do you tell your players after such a dominated loss?
“Just flush it,” said Kuna head coach Lee Leslie. “That’s all you can do. It was terrible on our part. We didn’t do a good job, but we finished it. It’s too bad. We spotted them 28 points, and we’ve never done that. It’s a sad one.”
BK took all of 1:49 to score its first touchdown. With a host of injuries, most notably star fullback Spencer Trautman, Kuna’s offense was anemic. BK took advantage of good field position, scored two more touchdowns in the first quarter and made it 28-0 by the middle of the second quarter.
Kuna’s defense notched a safety on an end zone holding call, but BK scored another touchdown after a Kuna fumble.
Kuna threatened in the final minute of the half, but an interception in the end zone turned the ball over to BK with 35 seconds left. BK appeared to be making a statement by taking to the air and scoring another touchdown in 30 seconds to make it 42-2 at the half.
Both teams used second string players in the second half, and Kuna’s backup quarterback, sophomore Jake Lords, connected with junior Aaron Emmert for Kuna’s only touchdown in the fourth quarter.
“We’re pretty banged up,” Leslie said. “We have a lot of guys half speed. We kind of knew we were in trouble all week. … BK’s got a lot of weapons, and we didn’t do a very good job tonight, and we could have done a lot better job as coaches.”
After four dismal losing seasons, Kuna opened this season with a momentous 50-13 victory over Nampa, and Kuna’s struggling football program seemed headed for a stunning turnaround. But Kuna has lost three straight games since. Granted, all three losses, to Skyview, Middleton and BK, came against the top three teams in the conference. And Kuna nearly pulled off an upset over Middleton in week three, giving hope to the matchup against Leslie’s former team at BK.
To stay in the playoff hunt, Kuna must win every game from here on out and finish 5-4 just to stay on the cusp.
The remainder of the Kuna’s schedule is arguably easier, but Leslie takes nothing for granted.
“Those kids are getting better, too,” he said, referring to the other programs.
Most notably, Columbia, whom Kuna faces in its Homecoming Game this week, is sitting at 3-1 and is coming off a 32-7 win last week over Nampa.
“I want a win a homecoming game for these seniors,” Leslie said. “We’re gonna do nothing but get better.”
Kuna’s four remaining regular season games are against Columbia, Emmett, Caldwell and Mountain Home.
“We’ll shake it off,” Leslie said of the loss to BK. “We’ll shake it off. This isn’t my first rodeo. There’s nothing good about this, other than we finished it. We came out of the locker room and finished the game. That’s the positive of it.”
Kuna’s Homecoming Game against Columbia starts at 7 p.m. at home this Friday.