By ROBERT S. MERRILL
The Preston Indians came ever so close to notching a win against the Minico Spartans Friday night, but dropped a heartbreaking non-conference game 13-12.
It was another stellar night for Preston’s defense, as they slowed the potent Minico rushing attack. But first quarter penalties, a fumble and kicking woes spelled trouble for the Indians.
Preston had marched down the field in the first half and was on the Spartan 10-yard line when a miscue between quarterback Austin Smellie and running back Courd Jones on a hand-off resulted in a fumble.
“We had some unfortunate penalties that slowed our offense down in the first quarter and that helped Minico in their Homecoming win. But after that we seemed to settle down. The botched handoff just hit Jones a little bit funny.
“This has been two weeks in a row that we’ve been in the red zone and turned the ball over. That kind of thing just kills us. We’ve got to finish things off when we get deep in our opponent’s territory,” said head coach Nick Hyde.
Preston now prepares for an away conference game against Pocatello this Friday night in Holt Arena. Hyde said the game has significant post-season ramifications.
“Pocatello has a really good sports program. They played powerhouse Bonneville really tough last week. We’ve got three games left and a win this Friday could put us in a position for playoffs.
“We’ve got to learn how to finish. That’s what we’ll be working on this week. We really played a pretty good game against Minico. We’re going to take what we did good, both offensively and defensively, and build upon that,” said Hyde.
The Indian offense managed 333 yards in a balanced running and passing attack. Jones rushed for 148 yards on 27 carries and Kaden Cole had 65 yards on 11 carries.
Smellie, who is just a sophomore, threw two touchdown passes. The most exciting one of the night came with just two seconds left in the first half. He threw to Preston Hobbs for a 43-yard score.
Preston had a chance to pull out a win with about two minutes to go in the game. Kicker RJ Harris missed a 24-yard field goal attempt. The Indians also missed two PAT kicks.
“I told Harris I was proud of him. He’s a good kicker and we’re going to stay with him. I’ve got confidence in Harris,” said Hyde.
Looking back on the season, Hyde said his team is two plays away from being 4-2 on the year instead of 2-4. Preston failed to score on their last possession in an overtime loss to Rigby in the third game of the season.
“After the game Friday, I told the players that we’ve just got to continue to improve and eliminate mistakes… that the ball is going to bounce our way and we’ll get a break.”
Powered by Max Banner Ads