Tigers' coach resigns
Last week saw a change on leadership of Mountain Home Tigers football as Aaron Rodney stepped down as head coach.
Both Rodney and district officials refused to comment on the situation, but it is believed Rodney had "lost the locker room" and team morale had plummeted over a season in which the Tigers had won only one game (and only one game last year as well).
Rodney cited "personal reasons" for stepping down. District officials stated it was a "personnel issue," but said Rodney was still teaching his classes. Tigers' assistant coach Tyrone Hutchings was appointed as head coach.
At Kuna on Friday, the Kavemen broke away from a 7-7 tie, scoring 49 unanswered points in a 56-7 win over Mountain Home.
The Tigers received the kickoff to start the game and started deep in its own territory at the seven-yard line. On third and 12 from the five, the Kavemen picked off a Jesse Cobos pass and returned it 12 yards for a touchdown. With the point-after try, Kuna led by seven just 68 seconds into the ball game.
The Tigers went three-and-out on their next possession and punted the ball back to the Kavemen. Kuna fumbled the ball, and the Tigers recovered in Kuna territory.
Mountain Home made it to the Kaveman 20, where Mariano Areco missed a 37-yard field goal. The Kavemen again fumbled the ball and Mountain Home recovered on the Kuna 19-yard line.
Jesse Cobos found Justin Lawrence in the end zone for a 19-yard score and with Mariano Areco's PAT, the Tigers had tied the game at 7-7, with 5:30 left in the first quarter.
Kuna quickly scored on a long run on its next possession to lead 14-7 with 3:43 left in the quarter.
The Kavemen scored again the next time they had the ball, getting into the end zone on the first play of the second quarter to up their lead to 21-7. Kuna penalties kept the Tigers' next series going, but they turned it over on downs at the Kavemen 37.
The Kavemen had a 57-yard touchdown pass called back by a penalty, but would go on to score on the drive anyway to go up 28-7 with 5:14 left in the half.
After the Tigers next drive stalled and they had to punt, Kuna scored on a 65-yard punt return to go up 35-7 with 3:04 left in the half. That would end the scoring in the first half.
Kuna received the ball to start the third quarter and moved down the field 63 yards in seven plays, scoring on a seven-yard pass play. With the PAT, they upped the lead to 42-7 with 8:39 left in the third quarter.
Mountain Home's first possession of the third quarter ended on the Kaveman 32-yard line when the Tigers turned the ball over on downs. Kuna then went 68 yards in seven plays for another score and increased the lead to 49-7 with 3:10 left in the third quarter.
The Kavemen's last score also came in the third quarter, after a Tiger fumble gave them the ball on the Mountain Home 29. Two plays later, they were in the end zone again, making it 56-7 with 57 seconds left in the quarter.
Mountain Home looked like they were going to score late in the game, when they had a first-and-goal from the Kuna five. But on third and goal from inside the one-yard line, the ball was fumbled into the end zone and recovered by Kuna. The Kavemen then ran out the clock for the win.
New Tiger head coach Tyrone Hutchings thought that, considering the circumstances, his Tigers played well.
"For the most part, the kids played well, with all the change and everything that was going on, you could see how," Hutchings said. "We always preach you've got to block out the outside noise, and that's a lot to ask a high school kid to block out that kind of stuff -- sudden change like that, with what's going on with the coaching positions, and then also having guys miss practice, that's another thing, because we've got to hold them accountable -- that's another thing I want to instill is accountability. The guys that we had that stepped up and filled in for those guys did a really good job."
Hutchings that the game was closer than the final score indicated.
"We were in the game, we just, at times you could see that we had a young guy playing for a guy that's been playing all season.
"They did a good job for what we asked them to do, but we couldn't ask for perfection, because they're not the unity of the front line or front five that's been the same for the most part of the season, and then all of a sudden one game, we have to change it in three days after the situations that we had happen."
Mountain Home had just 72 yards rushing on 29 rushes. Tanner Sessions picked up 52 yards on 13 rushes. Justin Lawrence had seven yards rushing on seven carries, Jesse Cobos had six yards on six rushes, Tyler Park, five yards on one carry, and Chris Smith carried twice for two yards.
Jesse Cobos completed three of 10 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. Tyler Park had one catch for 24 yards, Justin Lawrence had one catch for 19 yards and a touchdown, and AJ Daniels had one catch for 12 yards.
Defensively, Tyler Park led the Tigers with 10 tackles, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble. Tanner Sessions had nine tackles, Justin Lawrence had six tackles and a forced fumble and Josh Lawrence had a tackle and a pass interception.
The Tigers close out their football season Friday night at Caldwell against the Cougars. Coach Hutchings hopes the Tigers can end the season with a win.
"It would be a good way to send out these kids because they have worked hard, and with all the adversity that's going on and struggles that we've been having on the field, it would be nice to send those seniors and this entire team and our entire program to end on a win. That would be a positive note to build for next year."
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Friday night at Caldwell High School.