HS football: Marsh Valley collects first win over Snake River since 2011
THOMAS — Jeb Harrison noticed something special about Payton Campbell in 2011.
Then an assistant football coach at Pocatello High, Harrison saw potential in a fifth-grade Campbell at a Poky football camp. Harrison then spent three academic years hoping Campbell would attend high school at Poky, but he enrolled at Marsh Valley instead.
Seven years later, Harrison’s vision became a nightmare. Campbell ran for 227 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries Friday as the Eagles beat Harrison’s Snake River Panthers 40-14 on the road. It was Campbell’s third consecutive game with at least 200 yards rushing, propelling the Eagles to their first win over Snake River since 2011.
The senior has 673 yards rushing and 12 rushing scores in his last three games.
“He is a great running back, and I think he is faster than people give him credit for being,” Marsh Valley coach Doug Armstrong said. “All of our rushing yards come from a dedicated, feisty front line who battle every down for every inch.”
Campbell ran behind his imposing offensive line for 161 yards and three scores on eight second-half carries, helping the Eagles outscore the Panthers 27-8 during that span. The win also snaps Marsh Valley’s seven-game losing streak to its conference foe. During that stretch, the Panthers outscored the Eagles by an average margin of 38.6-8.1.
“That is the best Marsh Valley team I’ve seen in a while,” Harrison said.
After Snake River quarterback Mitch Lindsay’s 9-yard touchdown run with 5 minutes, 18 seconds to play in the third quarter cut the Panthers’ deficit to 20-14, Campbell came alive and Marsh Valley blanked Snake River the rest of the way. Campbell had touchdown runs of 61, 57 and 4 yards after the Panthers’ third-quarter score. Campbell complied 68 yards on nine carries in the first 24 minutes of play.
On the Panthers’ third-quarter touchdown drive, the team capitalized with three fourth-down conversions to stay alive. But the Panthers didn’t have such success later in the half.
On their ensuing two possessions after Lindsay’s TD, the Panthers turned the ball over on downs twice, once at their own 38-yard line and the other on the Eagles’ 46. The failures buried any chance of a Panthers’ comeback as the Eagles flipped momentum.
After the Panthers failed on fourth down from their own 38-yard line, Campbell converted his 4-yard touchdown run on the ensuing drive before adding a 57-yard score after the Panthers failed from the Eagles’ 46-yard line. Snake River also had two turnovers and two turnovers on downs in the first half.
“We missed a couple opportunities to score in the red zone,” Harrison said. “That is why we are 1-5. We do good things and then make some mistakes when it matters. Those are drive killers. We left some points on the board.”
The Eagles’ first two touchdowns of the game came from wide receiver Aaron Marshall, who ran in a 42-yard score on the team’s second drive of the first quarter before adding a 17-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter from quarterback Riley Lloyd.
“Aaron Marshall had a big game and really set the tone early with a rushing and receiving touchdown,” Armstrong said.
Marsh Valley notched 379 yards rushing in the win, including 73 yards from Zayne Damron. The Eagles’ ball carriers ran through holes all night as their offensive linemen controlled the line of scrimmage. The Eagles finished with 10.8 yards per carry.
The Panthers’ offense was paced by backs Treyton Young and Gunnar Ramsdell, who combined for 240 yards on the ground. Young led the team with 26 carries for 144 yards and one touchdown. His TD came on a 2-yard dash with 8:39 left in the first quarter to cut the Panthers’ deficit to 7-6.
Young slipped out of Marsh Valley tacklers all night, but the junior RB and the Panthers couldn’t overcome their mistakes or stop the Eagles, who scored a touchdown on five of their nine offensive possessions and punted once.
“The battle on the line was non-stop all night, and both teams were able to gain yardage,” Armstrong said. “Our defense gave up more yardage than I would like, but they stood strong and got the stops in the red zone when we needed them.”
The win puts the Eagles (5-2, 1-0 3A District 5) in the driver’s seat for their first district crown since 2011, while the Panthers (1-4, 0-1 3A District 5) have to go back to the drawing board.
Following the win, the Eagles celebrated with their supporters who filled the visiting bleachers at Harrison Field. It was a stark contrast to the other side of the field. Many Snake River players wiped away tears after a loss on senior night.
“This sucks,” Harrison said. “I told the young guys this is why you lift weights and get strong. When you run into a team like that, you need to be ready.”
The Eagles have a bye week and play their final game of the regular season Oct. 19 at home against American Falls. A win against the Beavers clinches a district title for Marsh Valley.
“If people don’t know it yet, this Marsh Valley team is for real, and we look forward to a great game against an improved American Falls team on senior night in two weeks,” Armstrong said.
Snake River plays Oct. 12 at American Falls, with the winner securing the district’s second seed at state.
MARSH VALLEY 40, SNAKE RIVER 14
Marsh Valley 7 6 20 7 — 40
Snake River 0 6 8 0 — 14
MV: Aaron Marshall 42-yard run( Kick good)
SR: Treyton Young 2-yard run (Failed 2-point try)
MV: Aaron Marshall 17-yard pass from Riley Lloyd (Kick failed)\
MV: Dane Wissenbach 87-yard kickoff return (Kick good)
SR: Mitch Lindsay 9-yard run (2-point try good)
MV: Payton Campbell 61-yard run (2-point try failed)
MV: Payton Campbell 4-yard run (Kick good)
MV: Payton Campbell 57-yard run (Kick good)
Passing: Marsh Valley: Riley Lloyd 1-5-17-1. Snake River: Mitch Lindsay 4-11-26-0-1.
Rushing: Marsh Valley Payton Campbell 17-227-3, Zayne Damron 8-73, Aaron Marshall 1-43-1, Tate Barker 6-32, Riley Lloyd 3-5. Snake River: Treyton Young 26-144-1, Gunnar Ramsdell 21-96, Boden Palmer 4-18, Mitch Lindsay 4-11-1.
Receiving: Marsh Valley: Aaron Marshall 1-17-1. Snake River: Boden Palmer 3-21, Trey Poulter 1-6.