POCATELLO — Rigby hasn’t become a football power by coincidence. The Trojans have built an empire of a program, in part, by being flexible at the line of scrimmage: What is the defense showing? Is it zone or man coverage? Are they blitzing?
Sometimes, though, the calculus looks more like simple addition.
On two occasions in Rigby’s 28-14 win over Skyline Friday night at Holt Arena, quarterback Tiger Adolpho scanned the field pre-snap and practically licked his chops: Star receiver Taylor Freeman, on the outside, against single coverage, without safety help up top.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist,” Rigby coach Armando Gonzalez said.
So both times, Adolpho took a shotgun snap, let Freeman pick up speed on a go route and lifted a fade downfield. Both times, Freeman leapt up, hauled it in and scored. The first touchdown, which covered 19 yards, trimmed Skyline’s lead to 14-13. The second, which spanned 20, handed Rigby the lead for good, highlighting the way the Trojans scored 21 unanswered points in the win.
“Taylor Freeman — best receiver in the state. I’ll put him on anybody,” Adolpho said. “Just take a drop, let him do his thing.”
Those two touchdowns, though, only underscored the theme that developed in the second half of Friday’s game. The Trojans held the Grizzlies scoreless in the second half, using a 15-0 second stanza to run away with what was a thriller for so long. In fact, Rigby took a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter, but Adolpho scored on a short touchdown rush midway through the frame. Down two scores with five minutes left, Skyline couldn’t answer.
The Trojans turned things around by cutting their defense loose, at least in one way. Like its offense, Rigby’s defense relies heavily on checks and adjustments at the line of scrimmage. In the second half, though, Gonzalez made a decision: Let’s stay in our base call for each play, but outside of that, just play football.
“That’s really what the difference was,” Gonzalez said.
The differences were hard to miss. Skyline quarterback Lachlan Haacke completed 13 of 24 passes for 148 yards, but in the second half, those numbers dipped to 6 of 12 for 55 yards. He ended the game with three straight incompletions. The Grizzlies’ ground game didn’t look any better: 19 carries for 61 yards, an average of 3.2 yards per carry.
More importantly, though, Skyline missed a couple opportunities later in the game. In the third quarter, the Grizzlies’ defense forced a punt, handing their offense the ball at midfield. On the first play of that series, Haacke lifted a pass downfield, only for Rigby’s Ryder Thompson to pick it off. In a matter of seconds, Skyline’s chances took a serious dent.
On their next series, the Grizzlies drove down to the Trojans’ 31, where they faced a third-and-7. Abrahn Silverio, who totaled seven carries for 26 yards and four receptions for 42 yards, gained four yards on the ground. On fourth down, Haacke zipped a pass downfield — incomplete.
Skyline’s offense looked like a shell of itself. In the first half, Haacke completed a pair of touchdown passes, the first a 15-yarder to Caden Taggart and the second a 27-yard score to Ethan Nottestad. If the Grizzlies could find a way to topple the Trojans, this was it: Through the air, to soft spots in zone coverage.
Instead, the team known so widely for its offense couldn’t keep it humming.
“We didn’t make as many calls,” Gonzalez said. “Just let the kids line up and play football.”
If that showed anything, it was that Rigby wanted to pressure Haacke — “make him feel the heat,” in Gonzalez’s words. He’s shown lots of promise as a junior quarterback, but Haacke is also starting at the varsity level for the first time this season. Rigby greeted him with an array of blitzes. Skyline countered by rolling Haacke out, affording him more time in the backfield, but it didn’t always work. On that third-quarter interception, Haacke had to make a quick decision, lofting a deep pass into what became double coverage.
Moments later, the Grizzlies lost the lead. Adolpho hit Freeman for his second touchdown reception of the night. The Trojans never trailed again.
“Give them credit — they got the matchup and made the play when they had to make the play,” Skyline coach Scott Berger said. “That’s what good teams do. That’s the way we play our game. You live by the sword, you die by the sword sometimes.”
RIGBY 28, SKYLINE 14
Rigby 0 13 0 15 — 28
Skyline 6 8 0 0 — 14
S — Taggart 15 pass from Haacke (PAT no good), 1:17
R — Falevai 1 rush (PAT good), 9:56
S — Nottestad 27 pass from Haacke (2-pt good), 6:26
R — Freeman 19 pass from Adolpho (PAT no good), 3:07
R — Freeman 20 pass from Adolpho (2-pt good), 11:23
R — Adolpho 2 rush (PAT good), 5:30
RUSHING — Rigby: Falevai 14-85, Freeman 1-9, Mikkola 6-42, Adolpho 72. Skyline: Silverio 7-26, Taggart 6-23, Haacke 6-12.
PASSING — Rigby: Adolpho 12-18-2 156. Skyline: Haacke 13-24-2 148.
RECEIVING — Rigby: Freeman 6-76, Falevai 2-19, Dansie 1-11, Lords 1-11. Skyline: Taggart 4-44, Sadiq 2-19, Nottestad 1-27, Silverio 4-42, Price 2-29.