In the last week of September football, here is a sampling of matchups and storylines to follow.
Can Shelley keep things rolling?
If by some chance you haven’t heard, Shelley is off to a fast 4-0 start, its best in five years. This week, the Russets will host winless Hillcrest, which has struggled in the first season of the Brennon Mossholder era.
Shelley has cruised through its schedule so far, reeling off wins by an average of 28 points. In last week’s win over Canyon Ridge, Russet running back Ryker Clinger logged 13 carries for 201 yards and a whopping four touchdowns. Even more impressive: Shelley held Canyon Ridge to negative-19 rushing yards.
For Shelley — which rose to Class 4A’s No. 2 team in the latest state media poll — the challenge this week will be doing something similar against Hillcrest, which is still looking for its first win of the season. Absent a one-score loss to Vallivue, the Knights have found themselves on the wrong ends of blowouts.
How will Skyline respond to an uneven start to the season?
We’re only in Week 5, so things can certainly change, but Skyline is in uncharted waters so far. A perennial powerhouse and the defending 4A state champions, the Grizzlies are just 1-3 this season, their latest setback a loss to Blackfoot last week.
It’s only surprising because Skyline is so consistently strong. The Grizzlies have won two state titles in the last four seasons, including last year, when they walloped Emmett in the state championship game. Skyline being good is like the sun rising in the morning.
Now, though, Skyline has taken a step back in some ways. The most noticeable is its offense, which torched opponents last season. In last week’s loss to Blackfoot, the Grizzlies logged just 219 total yards, and their best playmakers couldn’t do their usual damage.
This week, they get a chance to get back in the win column, facing a road matchup with Bonneville, which is still looking for win No. 1 this season. Whether Skyline can earn their second remains to be seen.
North Fremont vs. West Jefferson
It’s finally time for conference play, which means unbeaten North Fremont gets a test this week in West Jefferson.
It’s interesting for a few reasons, but partially because both made a cameo in the latest 2A media poll. North Fremont checked in at No. 4, while West Jefferson — fresh off a 38-0 trouncing of Malad — garnered a vote.
But this game will also go a long ways in the 2A District 6 conference, which will likely be a race between three teams: North Fremont, West Jefferson and Firth. Whoever gets a leg up Friday night may be a step ahead come postseason time.