Tiger Adolpho could have sworn he was ready. All day Friday, his decision made, he couldn’t wait to announce his college commitment. Let’s do this as soon as possible, he thought. The Rigby quarterback texted his friend Matt VanSteenkiste, who was creating the images Adolpho would post with his announcement. I just need to get it out.
Then Adolpho heard the piano riff. The custom ringtone he had set for VanSteenkiste — that way he would know when he had received the pictures — went off. So sitting in his parked car on his drive home, with the pictures downloaded to his phone, Adolpho pulled up Twitter and made the announcement: He was committing to Weber State.
Five hours later, all Adolpho did was help Rigby torch Thunder Ridge 51-12, racking up a stat line that backed the D-I commitment he made earlier that day: 16 of 23 passing for 264 yards and three touchdowns, leaving another team in his wake on one of the best days of his life.
“It’s been a big relief for me and my parents,” Adolpho said. “Today was the day — all my work, all the early mornings with my parents, everyone providing rides for me, it’s over. I get to play for the college I want to go to, and I can just focus on taking my team as far as I can from here on out. I’m just really relieved.”
Adolpho, who transferred to Rigby (5-0) ahead of the 2020 season, was long a top recruiting prize. He held offers from Hawaii — his birthplace — plus Kansas and Weber State. According to 247Sports, he’s the eighth-best recruit in the state of Idaho and the state’s second-best quarterback. A mobile signal-caller whose best trait is his passing ability, Adolpho just needed a college home.
So when he took the field Friday night with one in hand, he felt a weight lift off his shoulders. He could just play. The results spoke for themselves. In the second frame, Adolpho hit receiver Taylor Freeman on a seven-yard slant pattern for a touchdown. One series later, Adolpho scrambled for 12 yards. On the next play, he found tight end Con Dansie for a six-yard touchdown pass.
Even the play that forced a running clock and a speedy end to Friday’s proceedings came courtesy of Adolpho, who zipped a short pass to Sam Kunz, who outran everyone 50 yards to the end zone. From there, it was all a formality.
“It’s pretty sweet,” Freeman said.
Still, if you told Adolpho two years ago that soon he would be committing to play college football in Utah, he would probably give you a quizzical look. Adolpho hails from Kahuku, Hawaii, where he lived until 2020. His parents decided to move the family to the contiguous U.S., so they settled in the Boise area, where Adolpho briefly enrolled at 5A power Mountain View. There, coaches didn’t give Adolpho a shot at quarterback, insisting their guy would be the guy. No position battle. So Adolpho looked elsewhere.
He eventually got in touch with Rigby coach Armando Gonzalez, who also had a quarterback lined up for the 2020 season: Freeman. But Gonzalez was open to hosting a battle for the spot, so he invited Adolpho to become a Trojan.
Adolpho liked the sound of that. In the summer of 2020, he competed with Freeman for the starting quarterback spot, spending two-a-days alternating between receiver and quarterback: In the morning practice, Freeman would play quarterback and Adolpho receiver, and in the evening, vice versa.
When the summer started to wind down, the competition went with it. Coaches loved Adolpho’s development. They could see him fitting into the speed and complexity of the Trojans’ offense. They wanted to see where he could take it, not just in a summer, but in a fall. So Adolpho emerged the quarterback.
“It ended up working out,” Freeman said.
With that sentence, Freeman may win a competition for understatement of the year. Adolpho and Freeman have become one of the state’s most lethal quarterback-receiver combos. The former uses his surgical accuracy to find the latter on any type of pattern: Go route, slant, whatever. Single coverage is a death knell for opponents.
They’ve proven it time and again. Two weeks ago against Skyline, Adolpho saw the Grizzlies were playing Cover 0 with single coverage on Freeman. So he changed the play at the line and lofted a fade to Freeman, who hauled it in. Touchdown. Same thing happened later in the game, when Freeman came down with another score over a helpless Skyline defender. It was free money.
“We have a connection on the field where I know where he’s going to be, and he knows where I want him to be,” said Adolpho, who connected with eight different receivers in the win. “So it just works perfectly.”
As has this Rigby season. The Trojans are off to a sparkling 5-0 start, complete with four blowouts and one two-score win, the one over Skyline. Rigby has clearly played well, but ahead of Friday night, Gonzalez couldn’t shake one thought: Our offense, defense and special teams haven’t synced up like they can. We still haven’t played a complete game.
Well, what about a dismantling of Thunder Ridge?
“More complete,” he said.
Good luck finding a better way to capture the lofty standards the Trojans hold themselves to.
RIGBY 51, THUNDER RIDGE 12
Rigby 7 23 14 7 — 51
Thunder Ridge 0 6 0 6 — 12
R — Falevai 2 rush (PAT good), 0:30
R — Falevai 1 rush (2-pt good), 10:27
R — Freeman 7 pass from Adolpho (2-pt good), 7:14
TR — E. Johnson 56 pass from T. Johnson (PAT no good), 4:37
R — Dansie 6 pass from Adolpho (PAT good), 1:16
R — Falevai 1 rush (PAT good), 8:57
R — Mikkola 1 rush (PAT good), 3:39
R — Kunz 50 pass from Adolpho (PAT good), 11:18
T — Sautter 6 rush (2-pt no good), 6:08
RUSHING — Rigby: Falevai 8-11, Adolpho 5-8, Klinger 2-1, Mikkola 3-14, Burgess 2-11. Thunder Ridge: Johnson 5-55, Sautter 19-133, Brizzee 1 (-2), Koplin 1 (-10).
PASSING — Rigby: Adolpho 16-23-3 264, Flowers 2-2-0 13. Thunder Ridge: Johnson 12-20-1 150, Sautter 1-1-0 4.
RECEIVING — Rigby: Freeman 3-63, Dansie 4-37, Lords 1-40, Packer 1-15, Nield 1-8, Klinger 1-12, Kunz 4-92, Foster 2-9, Peck 1-4, Steffler 1-9. Thunder Ridge: Hall 1-0, E. Johnson 1-56, Brizzee 4-17, Sautter 1-3, Hanson 5-74.