MIDDLETON, Idaho ( KMVT / KSVT ) You couldn’t ask for a better matchup in the 1A D-II state football championship. Carey versus Tri-Valley, both unbeaten and looking to stay that way.
The Panthers seeking their sixth championship, first since 2010.
Tri-Valley’s quarterback Jayden Mink grew up in Hollister before moving to Cambridge.
Titans strike first, Panthers trying to answer, junior running back Porter Mecham gets the carry, stiff arms and takes it down the sideline for the 70 yard touchdown run. 264 rushing yards and a pair of TD's for him on Saturday.
Panthes convert the two-point conversion and go up 8-6.
Second quarter, Carey up 22-6, Mink trying to get his guys back in it, but his pass is picked off by Tanner Mecham, Porter’s older brother. The senior linebacker runs it back all the way to the Tri-Valley 15, setting up this drive.
Houston Hennefer, with time, connects with Tanner now on offense and he just takes it to the outside, all the way to the promised land.
Carey up 30-12. Hennefer was 9-15 for 181 yards and 2 TD's.
The Panthers knew that their speed would be a factor.
At halftime, Carey led 30-20.
We take you to the fourth quarter. Panthers have a 44-28 lead, but Tri-Valley with momentum and Chip Mitchell uses that to his advantage, the senior goes left down the sideline, a couple of Panthers tried to bring him down, but to no avail.
Titans make this an eight point game.
Carey goes back up. 50-36. Now with less than 30 seconds to play, Tri-Valley can make this a one possession game, Mink connects with Teddy Ertel who dives in. They fail on the two-point conversion.
Carey hangs on for the 50-42 win.
Junior running back/linebacker Porter Mecham said, "so we were down a couple times, but no one would get down on each other. We would just get back in the huddle and say, hey guys, mental toughness, we would go back and play our game. Once we played our game, we started scoring again, stopped their runs and it turned out alright.
The seniors it’s been really hard every year getting that green trophy and this year we get the blue one. So I believe it’s definitely up to our seniors, they’re such great leaders they gave us the momentum we needed and led us to state."
"I feel like when we play on a dry climate or even a wet climate, I feel like our speed can beat anybody, I am confident in our team it showed this year and I’m so proud of the guys of how it came out," added Hennefer.
Head coach Lane Kirkland reemphasized how speed was a factor, "speed killed today and I thought we had them on their heels a lot of the game, we kept fighting and fighting. They believed the whole time which is amazing, that’s half of the battle. They knew they could do it, no matter how big those dudes were."
This is Kirkland's fourth state championship. His father Heber had two in the 90's. Carey had never won a state title during an odd year until now.
Carey had more receiving yards (181 to 101) than Tri-Valley. Also, outpaced the Titans in rushing yards as well with (347 to 306).