By Mark Barnes
As he walked the field last Friday night after the game Coach Lee Leslie was visibly frustrated. Having just lost to a team he had coached just two years before, and with the loss still a fresh wound, it was uncomfortable to interrupt him for post game questions.
“They’re good,” Coach Leslie said. “We had our chances, we had things going.”
Kuna seniors had high hopes facing a team that had beaten them for three years in a row and had hoped to unseat the only undefeated team in district. And, in what looked like a head-to-head game for three quarters, Kuna was on their way. But the fourth quarter can make or break teams, and Bishop Kelly pulled away for a 35-20 final win.
In an offensive changeup, Spencer Trautman, the leading rusher for the team, started at quarterback. Unable to make things happen offensively, sophomore Ben Ruwe came back into the game “Once we realized we figured out we weren’t going to be able to use Spencer at quarterback,” Leslie said. “He’s so much more of a threat when we get him out in the field.”
Bishop Kelly put up two touchdowns in the first quarter. The first on a 33-yard touchdown pass with what many questioned as a missed offensive interference call; the other on a 1-yard push on their next drive.
It took Kuna until the second quarter to put up two touchdowns as the Kuna defense turned up the heat and forced four consecutive punts. The first Kuna score came on a Trautman 3-yarder and the other on a 31-yard Jacob Kellog run. Extra points both failed being unable to drop in either the extra kick, bouncing it off the goalpost, or on the second with a 2-point conversion, both teams headed to halftime 14-12.
The third quarter was back and forth with BK scoring on their first drive quickly answered with a 37-yard TD run by Trautman. With a two-point conversion it was just a one-point game.
That’s when BK put turned up the rushing game and powered downfield, eating up time and putting points on the board.
“We had them by the throat,” said Leslie. “We just couldn’t finish them.”
When questioned about the officiating, including some very questionable calls throughout the game, Leslie said, “It was terrible.”
It wasn’t so much as they made bad calls, they just didn’t make calls. At a key point as BK was threatening Kuna’s endzone, a referee confusion over an offsides call brought the coach out onto the field to “discuss” with the head ref. Leslie didn’t, however, think it changed the momentum in the game.
“These kids have lost to Bishop Kelly all four years and I didn’t see one ounce of quit in them. We just had some letdowns and breakdowns in a couple areas that we just didn’t get cleaned up.”
Next week Kuna plays Columbia followed by Emmett for homecoming. If Kuna manages to win the rest of their season games they could face Bishop Kelley in the first playoff game.
“If we win out, we get to play Bishop Kelly again,” said Leslie. “YOU PRINT THAT IN BIG BOLD LETTERS.”