KUNA — There was no one near Luke Selto. Not a soul.
If the junior receiver had cinderblocks attached to his ankles, the result might not have been any different.
Kuna senior quarterback Cole Luekenga reared back and fired a deep spiral into the middle of the field. Selto caught it without an ounce of resistance and sprinted into the end zone for the 85-yard touchdown in the Kavemen’s 48-35 win over Skyview (0-2).
“Never thrown an easier touchdown,” Luekenga said with a chuckle.
That bomb was Kuna’s go-ahead touchdown. It’s game-tying touchdown came a few minutes earlier, on the Kavemen’s previous drive. And it wasn’t quite as long. No, Luekenga only tossed an 81-yard touchdown.
Two passes. Two touchdowns. Now two wins for a Kuna team that sputtered to a 1-8 record last season.
And it was the second victory for the Kavemen program this week. A few days ago, a video circulated online of a woman who said a Kuna football player knocked on her door selling a local discount card for a fundraiser. She told him she wouldn’t have the money until she received her paycheck on Sept. 3. Come back then, she told the player, and she’ll buy two.
Instead, she said, the player came back to her house minutes later, handed her a discount card and $80 cash, telling her to “Go get groceries or anything you need.” As of Saturday evening, no Kuna player has come forward as the good Samaritan.
“The video, when I saw it — I’ll be honest, it almost brought me to tears,” Kuna coach Jeff Schank said. “I’m just crazy proud of our kids. And the fact he didn’t come forward, it makes me even more proud. Because that’s the expectation. That’s just being a good human being.”
Kuna has plenty of those. And plenty of talent on its football team.
Guys like Luekenga. Guys like linebacker Gus Austin, a 6-1, 220-pound Hulk who led the Kavemen with 10 tackles and three for loss. Guys like senior linebacker Logan Blades, who snatched a 10-yard pick-six late in the third quarter.
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“That turned the tide for sure,” Austin said of his teammates interception.
Yes, this was a game Skyview mostly controlled throughout the first half.
Kuna first tied the game just before halftime. Luekenga had thrown the ball just seven times before the Kavemen got the ball down eight with a minute and a half left in the half. All of a sudden, Luekenga looked like he was in an air-raid offense, doubling his pass attempts on one drive.
He hit Isaac Garcia. Then Selto. Then a 33-yard field-flipper to Luke Snarr. A few plays later, he fired a dart to the middle of the end zone and 6-foot junior Keyshawn Kelly came down with it in traffic. And, as if enough guys hadn’t caught a pass that drive, Luekenga found Kayden Hofier on an out route for the game-tying two-point conversion.
It was the first time Kuna’s offense looked like it had oil in the engine. To that point, it had been the Kavemen’s special teams keeping them in the game. With the clock expiring in the first quarter, Kuna junior Jason Monroe blocked a Skyview punt and returned it 26 yards to give the Kavemen their first lead of the night.
It was an advantage Skyview quickly took back.
Led by quarterback, Max Cutforth, who completed 31 of his 40 passes for 374 yards and three scores, the Hawks’ offense is phenomenal at misdirection. They run tons of crossing routes that fool defenses and leave receivers — like Thad Robinson — 14 catches, 193 yards, three touchdowns — wide open.
Cutforth hit Robinson on two 20-plus-yard touchdowns in the second quarter and another early in the third. But when Luekenga and the Kuna offense started chucking with bombs of their own, Skyview didn’t have an answer.
Now 2-0, Kuna will travel to face an Eagle team that beat the Kavemen twice last season by a combined 83 points.
“They’re always crazy talented,” Schank said of the Mustangs. “We’re going to focus on us. ... These kids, they’re hungry.”