Kendrick Tigers overwhelm Blue Devils in the opening round of playoffs

Nov. 4—MOSCOW — It was a pitched down-to-the-wire battle just under a year ago when the Kendrick Tigers overcame the Dietrich Blue Devils 42-34 in the Idaho Class 1A Division II state championship game to clinch their second consecutive title.

The teams' rematch in the opening round of this year's playoffs was nothing of the sort. Playing before a partisan home crowd at the University of Idaho's P1FCU Kibbie Dome, the unbeaten Tigers laid waste to the Blue Devils 90-0, scoring 48 within the first quarter alone.

Kendrick (8-0) next takes on either Mullan-St. Regis or Hagerman, depending on which team wins today at 1 p.m.

Taylor sets the pace

A 43-yard passing play from Ty Koepp to Sawyer Hewett within the first 30 seconds of play opened the scoring, after which the Knights quickly thwarted Dietrich's opening drive of the day. Senior wide receiver Hunter Taylor promptly made a 70-yard punt return touchdown that solidified the sense of an impending rout.

"I feel like this was one of my top performances, honestly," Taylor said after finishing with two more touchdowns off passing plays from Koepp totaling 116 yards. "Coming into this game, we were pumped up because they were in the championship with us last year."

An untouchable showing

Kendrick would score on every possession and convert every two-point play up through 70-0 midway through the second quarter, when a Koepp pass aimed for Wyatt Cook sailed just past the 6-foot-3 junior's fingertips to deny the Tigers their bonus.

Dietrich (6-4) would not so much as reach the 50-yard line until its final offensive drive of the opening half, by which time the Tigers had rested their starters. A safety seemed like a far more realistic possibility than a touchdown most any time the Blue Devils had the ball, though one never quite materialized, with Dietrich quarterback Connor Perkins once suffering a sack at the 1-yard line that was close enough to create doubt among spectators.

Having graduated a substantial class of seniors from last year's state finalist team and suffered multiple regular-season losses, it may be said that the Blue Devils were not quite the team this year they were in the '22 season. But Kendrick coach Zane Hobart believes the contrasting result with last year's meeting also reflects further improvement in his already-unmatched roster.

"I do think we're a little better on both sides of the football from last year," he said. "A lot of guys have been in the program and know what we're doing somatically, and they're able to perform those jobs just faster and with more discipline. ... Ty Koepp did a good job of commanding the offense. I think we were well-balanced, which is always something you strive for."

Already an established dominant program coming off back-to-back state titles, Kendrick still reached new heights with this outing — the Tigers' most lopsided victory through their previous two playoff runs was a 46-0 shutout of Camas County in last year's opener.

Dietrich 0 0 0 0 — 0

Kendrick 48 30 0 12 — 90

First quarter

Kendrick — Sawyer Hewett 43 pass from Ty Koepp (Koepp run)

Kendrick — Hunter Taylor 70 punt return (Wyatt Fitzmorris run)

Kendrick — Koepp 7 run (Lane Clemenhagen pass from Koepp)

Kendrick — Fitzmorris 1 run (Xavier Carpenter run)

Kendrick — Tanner Clemenhagen 22 interception return (Carpenter run)

Kendrick — Taylor 59 pass from Koepp (Koepp run)

Second quarter

Kendrick — Mason Kimberling 15 pass from Koepp (Ralli Roetcisoender pass from Koepp)

Kendrick — Taylor 57 pass from Koepp (Roetcisoender pass from Koepp)

Kendrick — T. Clemenhagen 30 run (pass failed)

Kendrick — Carpenter 15 run (Koepp run)

Third quarter

No scores

Fourth quarter

Kendrick — Roetcisoender 17 pass from Maddock Kirkland (pass failed)

Kendrick — Kirkland 21 run (run failed)

Individual statistics

Passing — Kendrick: Ty Koepp 5-6-188; Dietrich: 10-20-90. Rushing — Fitzmorris 3-31. Receiving — Taylor 2-116.