| March 22, 2018

Football: Shining Like Silver

April 25, 2016

Sophomore quarterback Jake Luton showcased his progression this spring by throwing for 591 yards during the Idaho football Silver and Gold game Friday.

The Silver team could not be contained in the latest annual competition at the Kibbie Dome, scoring on its first eight possessions en route to an 80-10 victory over the Gold squad.

“Overall, I thought it was a good way to end the spring,” Idaho head coach Paul Petrino said. “I thought it was our best spring since we’ve been here. We’ve just got to continue to get better.”

The Vandal football program was split into two teams for the matchup. The Silver team consisted primarily of the first-team offense and defense, while the Gold team possessed many of the Idaho backups.

Luton completed 32 of 47 attempts for 591 yards through the air. The sophomore also recorded five touchdown passes, including a 76-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Callen Hightower late in the second quarter.

Luton’s performance allowed the Silver offense to enter halftime with a 50-0 lead over the Gold team.

The Gold squad did not record a score until the third quarter, when sophomore quarterback Gunnar Amos connected with redshirt sophomore wide receiver David Ungerer for a 6-yard touchdown pass. The team’s only other points would come on a 29-yard field goal from redshirt freshman kicker Sam Fenlason.

The Silver offense benefited from a strong showing from junior Aaron Duckworth. The running back had 161 rushing yards on 13 attempts during the scrimmage, including two touchdown runs.

“It felt great going out there and just showing what I could do,” Duckworth said. “Showing how hard I’ve been working all spring.”

The junior’s highlight play came on a 24-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter, as Duckworth beat defenders to the sideline and used his speed to reach the end zone to provide Silver with an early 14-0 lead.

Duckworth said he felt honored to play exclusively with the first-team offense during the scrimmage.

“It shows how they like me and want me to take that leadership role as running back,” Duckworth said. “I still feel like that competition is still there. We’re still going to fight every day for that starting role”

Sophomore running back Isaiah Saunders collected 72 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 14 attempts, while redshirt freshman Denzal Brantley had eight attempts for 23 yards.

Hightower led the Vandal receiving core with five receptions for 167 yards and two touchdowns. Redshirt junior wide receiver Jacob Sannon finished with six receptions for 148 yards, while senior tight end Deon Watson recorded 87 receiving yards on six catches.

“I think it was a small portion of what we can do,” Watson said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do over the summer obviously, but we’ve got the key components to be a good team.”

The Silver team defense was led by senior safety D.J. Hampton, who took an interception from sophomore quarterback A.J. Woodin 35 yards for a touchdown in the second half.

Junior defensive back Jordan Grabski and sophomore cornerback Elijah Williams also recorded interceptions during the scrimmage.

Senior linebacker Emmanuel Jones led all defenders with nine tackles, including two tackles for a loss and one sack.

“I’m really proud of our team,” senior defensive lineman Tueni Lupeamanu said. “We committed for 15 practices a week giving it all we had.”

Watson said the Vandals have the talent to compete for a bowl game appearance in the fall.

“We’re explosive, we’ve got a lot of guys who can make plays,” Watson said. “We’re going to be a threat in the Sun Belt.”

Josh Grissom can be reached at arg-sports@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @GoshJrissom

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