Every football team begins the season with the goal of playing for a state championship. Only a few will get that chance if they survive this weekend’s semifinals. Here’s a look at the five District 6 teams vying for championship berths.
Rigby at Rocky Mountain, 7 p.m.
Rigby (8-1) has won eight straight games and comes off back-to-back impressive wins over Highland and Eagle.
The Trojans get their biggest test of the season tonight when they travel to Rocky Mountain (10-0), the state’s top-ranked team.
Rigby has been able to move the ball with dual-threat quarterback Keegan Thompson spearheading the charge with his legs and his arm. Brigham Youngstrom can also carry the load.
But Rocky Mountain is known for its defense, giving up just 11.7 points per game while scoring 39. The Grizzlies are riding a 22-game win streak.
Difference maker: Can the Trojans stop running back Jordan Erickson (15 rushing TDs, three receiving), Colby Jackson (14 passing TDs) and Kaden Birch (eight receiving TDs)?
Blackfoot at Nampa, 6 p.m.
Blackfoot has its own dynamic duo in quarterback Craig Young and running back Teegan Thomas. The Broncos (10-1) have won eight straight, including games late in the season in which Thomas was out with an injury.
The Broncos have averaged nearly 40 points their past three games, but they’ll face a Nampa (8-3) team that averaged nearly 40 points the entire season and is led by Donovan Estrada, one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the state.
Estrada has passed for 21 touchdowns and run for 24 more.
Difference maker: Nampa has given up some points, including 48 to Century in a wild win at Holt Arena. If the game gets into a shootout, the Broncos may have more weapons.
Sugar-Salem vs. Snake River, noon, Saturday (Holt Arena)
Sugar-Salem (8-1) has experience, talent and a state title to defend. The Diggers average nearly 44 points per game, overshadowing a defense that recorded five shutouts this season.
Snake River (8-2) meanwhile has battled through some close games, but got a big playoff win last week by avenging a loss to Teton.
Difference maker: Judging by common opponents, the Panthers may have a hard time holding down the Diggers’ offense. Snake River lost to Gooding 28-26 earlier in the season. Sugar-Salem defeated Gooding last week 47-20 after taking a 40-0 lead at the half. The Diggers also downed Teton 42-0, which beat Snake River 12-6.
North Fremont at McCall-Donnelly, 6 p.m.
The Huskies (10-0) have rolled over opponents all season, with their closest game being a 16-14 win over Teton in Week 2.
But the multi-faceted running game hasn’t faced a defense like they’ll see tonight.
McCall-Donnelly (10-0) has given up less than six points per game and has been a nightmare for opposing running backs. Offensively, they’re also more balanced, rushing for 2,454 yards and passing for 2,400.
Difference maker: The Huskies’ offensive line has been much heralded this season but have yet to be challenged. If they can move the ball and get McCall-Donnelly back on its heels, then they should have the advantage. North Fremont’s secondary will also have to step up.
1A Division 1
Lost Rivers vs. Wilder, 6 p.m., Saturday (Holt Arena)
Pirates’ coach Sam Thorngren said he saw something special about this new co-op team even before the season started. Since then, Lost Rivers has gone 10-0 and moved from ‘Who’s that?’ to No. 1 in the state media poll.
Lost Rivers has a variety of weapons on the offensive end and has yet to be stopped from running the ball.
Wilder (8-2) has plenty of postseason experience and advanced to the state semifinals last season.
Difference maker: This game is in Holt Arena, so the weather won’t be a problem. That could be an advantage for Lost Rivers, which has had to deal with wind and inclement weather over the last part of the season. Look for a potentially more wide-open offense from the Pirates.