One thing was certain Friday night when the Mountain Home Tigers faced the Nampa Bulldogs at Bulldog Bowl in Nampa -- someone was going to pick up their first win of the season.
Mountain Home, which saw their homecoming spoiled by Caldwell the week before, was hoping to do the same to the Bulldogs, who were celebrating their homecoming. In the end, it would be Nampa that broke into the win column, beating the Tigers 28-7.
Mountain Home received the ball to start the ball game, and, facing a third and three from their own 42, went for it on fourth down, falling a yard short, the Bulldogs taking over on the Mountain Home 44-yard line.
Nampa's offense has struggled on the season, but the Bulldogs showed none of that in their opening series, going the 44 yards in just four plays, quarterback Kade Wilcox running it in from five yards out. With the point-after try, the Bulldogs led, 7-0, with 8:45 left in the first quarter.
Mountain Home went three-and-out its next possession, and punted the ball back to Nampa.
Two plays later, Malik Whitfield intercepted a Kade Wilcox pass and returned it into Nampa territory at the Bulldog 43.
The Tigers went three-and-out again and Jack Richelieu's punt was downed on the Nampa seven-yard line.
On the first play of the drive, Nampa fumbled the ball, Mountain Home recovering on the Nampa nine-yard line.
Michael Daniels ran it to the five and Ryan Eckstrom took it in from there for a score. With Jack Richelieu's PAT, the game was tied at 7-7 with 4:28 left in the first quarter.
The two teams exchanged punts before Nampa scored again, this time on a 43-yard pass play from Kade Wilcox to Brian Isom. The Bulldogs took a 14-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Nampa scored again in the third quarter after the Tigers fumbled the ball and the Bulldogs recovered on the Mountain Home 37. Eight plays later, Kade Wilcox passed to Dillon Green for a 13-yard score. With the PAT, the Bulldogs led 21-7 with 4:14 left in the third quarter.
Mountain Home continued to struggle on offense and the Bulldogs got off a time-consuming 66-yard 12-play drive in the fourth quarter, Kade Wilcox running it in from 11 yards out. With the PAT, Nampa led 28-7 with 5:50 left in the game.
Another three-and-out possession by Mountain Home gave the ball back to Nampa, and the Bulldogs were able to run out the clock on a 28-7 victory, sending the young Mountain Home Tigers down to their 19th straight loss.
"I'm disappointed in a lot of things tonight," said Tiger head coach Aaron Rodney after the game.
"The lack of execution, the lack of toughness we showed tonight. I'm really disappointed in the effort that some of them put out. There's no excuse. We've just got to find the right kids that want to play. We've got too many kids taking plays off. We're awfully thin and we were missing a couple keys guys this week, but it shouldn't make a difference, so I'm disappointed with the effort tonight."
Mountain Home rushed 35 times for just 57 yards. Ryan Eckstrom had 30 yards and a touchdown on 12 rushes. Michael Daniels rushed 10 times for 20 yards, Ben Ceccarelli had six yards on eight carries, Jared Cantrell had five yards on three rushes, Jordan Pendleton rushed one time for one yard and Malik Whitfield had minus five yards on one carry.
Through the air, Ben Ceccarelli completed six of 14 passes for 45 yards. Michael Daniels had four catches for 21 yards, Tyler Elliott caught one pass for 14 yards and Levi Abrahamson had one catch for 10 yards.
The Tigers fell to 0-6 on the season and 0-5 in conference. They travel to Bishop Kelly Friday night to face the unbeaten Knights.
"We'll prepare for B.K. and do some of the same stuff and just keep going -- that's all we can do, is keep going," Rodney said.
"It's tough because we come into games and teams are much more athletic than us, and they're not more athletic because they're more gifted, but because they've been developed. We have a lot of young kids and we've got to develop them. If we keep doing the things we're doing and develop these young kids, we'll be all right."
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday night at Bishop Kelly High School.