Priest River starts season with 36-12 road win

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  • (Photo courtesy PAUL ANSELMO) Coaches Brad Martin, left, and Jesse Hellinger, right, coached the Spartans at a football jamboree at Timberlake High School Aug. 19.

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    (Photo courtesy PAUL ANSELMO) The Spartans paused for a photo at Timberlake High School Aug. 19.

  • (Photo courtesy PAUL ANSELMO) Coaches Brad Martin, left, and Jesse Hellinger, right, coached the Spartans at a football jamboree at Timberlake High School Aug. 19.

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    (Photo courtesy PAUL ANSELMO) The Spartans paused for a photo at Timberlake High School Aug. 19.

THOMPSON FALLS, Mont. — The Spartan varsity football team is off to an 1-0 start on the season after their 36-12 whipping of the Thompson Falls Bluehawks here Aug. 25. Head coach Brad Martin said his players performed well but hoped to get even better this week when they host Newport.

“We made some plays and left some out there as well. We have a lot of things we need to improve on but was proud of our effort and how hard we played. The offensive and defensive line play was solid and running backs made some nice plays.” He added that special teams was solid.

The host Bluehawks kept pace with the Spartans during the first half, which ended with Priest River leading 15-12. Martin said that in the second half the Spartan defense “was much improved,” as proven by the zero points allowed by Priest River during the second half.

Quarterback Riley Dement impressed with 5-9 passing for 114 yards and two touchdowns in the air, and 14 rushes for 71 yards plus a touchdown on the ground. Robbie Anselmo was the main ground pounder Aug. 25 with 153 yards on 17 attempts, plus two touchdowns. Ronnie Downs only had one reception, but it was a big one -- a 65-yard catch and run for a score. Keegan Hegel returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and later caught two passes for 30 yards. Unfortunately, the Spartans committed a block in the back that negated Hegel’s kickoff return score. The Spartans converted a pair of two-point conversions, and Caleb Blancher connected on two of three extra point attempts. Spartan defenders Anselmo, Kody Kuprienko, and Brett Gordon picked off one pass each, and registered two sacks on the game. The team racked up 10 penalties for 85 yards on the day.

During a jamboree at Timberlake High School Aug. 19, Martin said that the team played well despite competing without several starters. “Overall I was very happy with our total team effort and teamwork. We escaped relatively injury free which is big for us.” He added that the team played without specific game plans, “so that will help when we play them in season.” Martin said, “JV was very impressive for not having a whole lot of time together yet and players changing positions so much these first two weeks.”

Martin is looking forward to the first home game of the year against nearby Newport. He encouraged parents and fans to come out to support their team Friday at 7 p.m.

“I hope everyone comes out to support the team this Friday night! Our fans would provide a huge boost against our border rival. Thank you fans for your support of these kids and this team!”

PR 7 8 6 15 - 36

TF 6 6 0 0 - 12

PR- Dement 14 pass to Anselmo (Blancher kick)

TF- Fisher 50 pass to Hoisington (kick failed)

TF- Fisher 12 pass to Hoisington (2 pt attempt failed)

PR- Dement 65 pass to Downs (2pt Dement pass to Hegel)

PR- Anselmo 14 run (Blancher kick failed)

PR- Dement 1 run (Anselmo 2pt run)

PR- Anselmo 62 run (Blancher kick)

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