“It’s just been a mess of a year,” Butte County football coach Sam Thorngren said Saturday, likely summing up what most coaches have felt over the first half of the 2020 season.
With COVID-19 overshadowing the season since Day 1, Thorngren has a more personal take on 2020, having tested positive for the virus last week and currently at home quarantining.
Butte County had to cancel its game Friday against Grace and this week’s practices and game are in limbo.
“It was pretty rough for a couple of days,” Thorngren said by phone, adding that two other Pirate coaches are quarantined and some players are suspected of being infected or at least coming in close contact with people who may have been infected.
“It was a big mess,” Thorngren said. “We thought they were going to shut down school on Monday.”
The game was officially canceled because no coaches were available and up to five players would have been out due to quarantine.
Thorngren said he’s been told if he’s symptom free by Tuesday he can return to practice. It’s not clear how many players may still be impacted by the virus or in need of quarantine.
“I think we’re going to try to give it a go this week,” he said. “But right now that’s even a little touch and go.”
Rigby holds off Idaho Falls
On those plays when yellow penalty flags weren’t soiling the grass at Ravsten Stadium, the Idaho Falls and Rigby football teams both had reason for optimism on Friday night.
For Rigby, a team fighting through injuries and working with a new quarterback this year, the end result — a 43-20 victory — was enough to keep the Trojans perfect on the season at 6-0.
For Idaho Falls, a team trying to get on track in the 5A District 5-6 conference and win its first game of the season, there were some bright spots with the 20 points being the team’s highest output in five weeks.
“Tonight we played way better,” Idaho Falls coach Marty Duffin said. “We forced turnovers, played really well ... we had some breakdowns in our coverages but other than that, the game would have been a lot closer.”
Rigby jumped out to a 14-0 lead but hurt itself with turnovers and penalties. Coach Armando Gonzalez said the game plan was to work on the passing game with quarterback Tiger Adolpho returning from a high ankle sprain.
Adolpho connected with Rysen Tyler for a 42-yard score to give Rigby a 24-6 lead just before the half, but the Tigers (0-6) responded with a 76-yard drive and took advantage of a key pass interference call to close the gap when Skyler Olsen lobbed a pass to to Jackson Baker for a touchdown with nine seconds remaining.
The Tigers’ Jayden Jones picked off a pass on Riby’s first drive, but the Trojans regrouped as Adolpho spearheaded an 88-yard drive on the next series, highlighted by a 39-yard run and then capped by a touchdown run by Gabe Mobley to extend the lead to 31-13 and all but seal the game.
Adolpho finished 19 of 29 for 275 yards with two touchdowns and also ran for 102 yards. Zheik Falevai totaled 104 rushing yards and two touchdowns while tight end Con Dansie added 10 catches for 100 yards.
Conversion lifts Blackfoot over Hillcrest
BLACKFOOT — It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t quite the high-scoring affair that many expected, but when the Blackfoot Broncos and Hillcrest Knights hooked up on Friday night, they gave the fans everything that they wanted — and then some.
In a game that started off with both teams running the ball exclusively until the final minute of the first half and was close throughout, it came down to a two-point conversion with 1:24 remaining in the contest by Blackfoot’s all-state running back Teegan Thomas, which pushed the Broncos to the one-point victory 15-14 over the hard-luck Knights on a cool night where the game was played under a full moon.
-Fred Davis/Bingham News Chronicle
Firth continues recent dominance over Ririe
RIRIE — For the Ririe Bulldogs, playing Firth this past decade has been a little bit like digging for obsidian up Kelly Canyon way.
Every so often you get a jewel, but for the most part, it’s a series of great expectations that disintegrate into gray dust and disappointment.
With a 28-0 win over the Bulldogs on Friday night, Firth has now won every meeting with Ririe since 2010, with the exception of the jewel of 2017 that saw Ririe win 27-12.
Friday night’s game was the final regular season home date on the Ririe schedule, and it had a difficult beginning for the blue and gold.
Firth standout sophomore Gage Vasquez took the opening kickoff from the west hash to the east hash and on into the end zone for an 87-yard kickoff return touchdown.
Firth added a 23-yard run from Sam Park on its first offensive possession, needing just six plays to cover 58 yards and take a 14-0 lead.
Having already scored on offense and special teams, the Firth defense got itself on the scoreboard when sophomore Burton Park picked off Ririe’s Gage Morgan for a 43-yard pick-six.
The Firth defense held Ririe to just 26 first-half yards, taking a 21-0 lead into the halftime break.
For Ririe senior lineman Steven Burtenshaw, the team disintegration started early.
“It felt like half of us gave up after that first play,” Burtenshaw said. “If we want to win (next week), we’ll win. It all comes down to how much we want to play.”
Firth added a second-half touchdown when senior Jason Tucker scooted 27 yards into the end zone late in the third quarter.
But it was Tucker’s reads on the defensive end that helped Firth post the shutout.
In all, Ririe managed just five first downs and 106 total yards, 44 of which came on a single toss sweep from Ririe senior Gabe Sommers.
-Paul Lambert/For the Post Register
Skyline dispatches Madison 46-15
At Madison, the Grizzlies, who bolted out to a 21-0 lead, won in part because quarterback Cade Marlow completed 16 of 20 passes for 217 yards and four touchdowns. He also carried twice for 18 yards.
Nine Grizzlies carried the ball, led by Eli Ames, who totaled eight carries for 75 yards and a touchdown. Bridger Swafford also posted five carries for 31 yards.
For that reason, Skyline took a 34-7 lead into halftime and moved to 5-1 on the season.
Madison (0-5), whose only first-half score came when Kieren Valora connected with Eli Randall for 15 yards, remains winless.
Skyline’s next matchup is a big one: Against Idaho Falls in the Emotion Bowl, set for 4 p.m. Oct. 10.
Madison will visit Thunder Ridge on Oct. 15.
Sugar-Salem downs Preston 34-22
At Preston, Sugar-Salem moved to a spotless 5-0 record with a 34-22 road win Friday night over Preston.
The Diggers raced to a 20-0 halftime lead, which gave them the luxury of allowing the Indians to record two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Quarterback Kyzon Garner completed 10 of 11 passes for 217 yards and three touchdowns for the Diggers, who also enjoyed running back Ryan Harris’ 14 carries for 118 yards and a touchdown.
For one of Sugar-Salem’s final scores, Garner found Kendle Harris for 65 yards and a touchdown, ballooning the visitors’ lead to 27-7.
Wyatt Harris capped the scoring for the Diggers, scoring on the ground from 20 yards out.
Preston responded with two passing touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough.
Sugar-Salem will kick off conference competition when it hosts Teton on Oct. 9.
Watersprings takes down Challis 54-8
At Watersprings, the Warriors had few issues taking care of Challis, cruising to a blowout win.
Watersprings, which led 34-0 at halftime, got 200 yards rushing from Matt Almgren and 100 passing from Jrew Plocher.
The Warriors (3-2, 1-0) will now turn their attention to an Oct. 16 home matchup with North Gem, which will decide the 1A-D2 Rocky Mountain Conference champion.
The conference is playing this year without Mackay, which had its season canceled over COVID-19 concerns, and Sho-Ban, which didn’t play a season because it couldn’t find a coach.
Butte County vs. Grace (canceled due to COVID-19)
Shelley 21, Bonneville 13
Snake River 12, Teton 7
Marsh Valley 27, South Fremont 19
North Fremont 30, Salmon 0
Thunder Ridge defeats Century
Halftime neared as Thunder Ridge’s impromptu quarterback, Kaysen Isom, called for the shotgun snap. He handed it to backfield mate Jaden Sautter, who identified a crease, burst through it and sprung into the open field, angling toward the right pylon.
Only one Century defender raced close enough for a tackle. He laid out around the 5 and tripped Sautter, who fumbled as he fell into the end zone. Sautter pulled the ball back into his body.
Touchdown. Fifty yards.
That’s the kind of scene that best captures Thunder Ridge’s 48-28 win over Century Thursday night. The Titans rolled, and even when the Diamondbacks showed signs of life, it never amounted to much.
Thunder Ridge has won two of its last three.
“We came out with a lot of energy,” Isom said. “And our defense. Our defense started off big with a couple turnovers, and that led to the offense with a lot of energy. We came out and made them pay for what the defense did to them.”
Thunder Ridge (2-4) won because it forced turnovers, but also because it capitalized on them. The Titans forced five in the first half alone. They turned all but one into touchdowns.
Isom, playing quarterback because the team’s first two options are both out with collarbone injuries, generated gaudy numbers: 17 carries for 188 yards and one touchdown. He completed 2 of 4 passes for 15 yards and a score, and he rarely needed to throw. The Titans faced little resistance on the ground, so they stuck to it.
Sautter, one of his team’s more unlikely stars, featured prominently. The junior carded 14 carries for 100 yards and three touchdowns.
All told, Thunder Ridge posted 429 rushing yards. Three different Titans scored on the ground. Their numbers dipped in the second half — they carried 20 times for 114 yards in the final 30 minutes — but only because they could afford to.
That Thunder Ridge allowed Century to score three touchdowns in the second half and still won by three scores illustrates just how thoroughly the Titans handled the Diamondbacks.
Greg Woods/Post Register