RIGBY — Say farewell to football in Rigby. Say goodbye to these Trojans. Wave adiós to the way this Rigby football team serenaded this town, which will have to travel hundreds of miles to see its team return to action this fall.

Football left Rigby for all the right reasons on Friday night, when the Trojans completed a 41-14 bloodying of Capital in the 5A state quarterfinals, the latest step in the group’s conquest of the state and its pursuit of a second state championship in three years. For reasons that mystify head coach Armando Gonzalez, when Rigby plays in next week’s semifinals, it will do so in the Boise area.

If there was ever a way to leave the area for the season, the Trojans pulled it off with this win, holding the Eagles scoreless in the second half.

“At this stage in the season, that’s what these kids know. Everybody’s got talent,” Gonzalez said. “Big time players got to make big time plays.”

Rigby earned a date with Meridian next week by making a zillion big plays. Quarterback Tiger Adolpho slung two touchdown passes to receiver Taylor Freeman, one a 55-yarder, the other a 25-yarder. Running back Zheik Falevai churned out 11 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns, one to open the scoring and one to give the Trojans a 20-point lead. More importantly, Rigby’s defense defended 95 Capital plays — and yielded just two touchdowns.

The Eagles made that possible by running offense at speeds that might register on an odometer. Running back Jacob Olson registered 21 carries for 111 yards, and quarterback Max Clark completed 21 of 45 passes for 236 yards for the Eagles, who did everything right on offense except find the end zone.

Boy did they come close. For most of the night, Rigby had trouble bringing down bruising, 6-foot-5 tight end Kody Walk, who totaled 16 carries for 50 yards. But late in the first half, on a critical fourth down, Rigby lineman Nic Fangupo burst through the offensive line and stuffed Walk.

Then, to open the second half, Capital engineered a long drive that chewed some six minutes off the clock. The Eagles registered first down after first down, including two from Walk. But on fourth-and-goal, Walk lined up to take the snap, prepared to run — then lofted a pass to the end zone, where Rigby safety Trevon Talbot flew in to deflect the ball away. Turnover on downs.

The Trojans just kept coming up with stops. The Eagles’ other second-half drive looked promising in the same way. Capital used several plays to drive inside the Rigby 30, but that’s where Walk was stuffed on a fourth-down try. He needed three yards. He got two. Another turnover on downs.

Rigby passed with flying colors, but it was unlike any test this group has faced this season. Capital looked like the Oregon Ducks, running play after play after play, doing it all at a dizzying pace. The Eagles shuffled personnel, rolling out groups for heavy packages and ones for speed looks. The Trojans did their best to match it.

“It’s more mental than it is physical,” Gonzalez said. “Because once you get mentally exhausted, it’s hard to do the physical. The mental toughness was good by our defense in the second half.”

Unfortunately, Rigby also had to battle physical toughness for the wrong reasons.

In the third quarter, Adolpho laced a pass over the middle to Freeman, who tried to keep his legs moving. Except Capital defender Ethan Castillo used a suplex move to tackle Freeman, lifting him into the air and slamming him into the ground, where Freeman hurt his arm trying to break his fall. He laid on the ground for several minutes. He walked back to the sideline with trainers, who couldn’t immediately tell the severity of the injury. So Freeman will get an x-ray on Saturday.

“We’re praying for a miracle,” Gonzalez said.

“I wanted to go and beat the crap out of the dude,” Adolpho said.

The Trojans calmed down before the situation got out of hand. Most of them, at least. The play incensed Falevai, who grew up playing with Freeman. “They both look out for each other,” Adolpho said. “It turned Zheik on.”

It showed on the field. Falevai registered 88 of his 102 yards in the second half. He’s always hard to tackle, to be sure, but his teammates saw something different in their star running back. The club is moving on in part thanks to him.

The group is also hoping Freeman can join a couple teammates in improving in health. Early last month, when starting linebacker Logan Fredericksen hurt his knee and starting cornerback Zxaeb Falevai hurt his hand, Gonzalez feared both would miss the rest of the season. Instead, both played on Friday night. Fredericksen played in spurts. Falevai played most of the way. The Trojans are starting to look more like the Trojans.

Only they don’t go by that anymore, not this time of year. Where Gonzalez grew up, in central California, Santa Barbara High uses the Dons nickname. But years ago, when the playoffs rolled around, the club adopted the nickname the Golden Tornadoes, which was their mascot in the 1940s. So this year, when Gonzalez learned that Rigby’s nickname used to be the Red Devils, an idea hit him.

For Rigby, the playoffs are here, so say goodbye to the Trojans as well.

Say hello to the Red Devils.

“The Red Devils are alive for another one,” Gonzalez said.


Capital 0 14 0 0 — 14

Rigby 14 14 0 13 — 42

Scoring summary

First quarter

R — Falevai 1 rush (PAT good), 6:36

R — Nield 20 fumble return (PAT good), 3:59

Second quarter

C — Olson 2 rush (PAT good), 11:55

R — Freeman 55 pass from Adolpho (PAT good), 10:44

R — Freeman 25 pass from Adolpho (PAT good), 4:02

C — Castillo 64 pass from Clark (PAT good), 2:25

Fourth quarter

R — Falevai 3 rush (PAT no good), 11:20

R — Adolpho 5 rush (PAT good), 4:24


RUSHING — Capital: Olson 21-11, Walk 16-50, Clark 8-9, Call 2-0, Downey 1-16, Garcia 1-6. Rigby: Falevai 11-102, Freeman 1-7, Mikkola 5-10, Adolpho 5-24, Klingler 1-7.

PASSING — Capital: Clark 21-45-1 236, Cherry 0-1-0 0, Walk 0-1-0 0. Rigby: Adolpho 13-17-2 271.

RECEIVING — Capital: Cherry 4-13, Garcia 4-31, Walk 5-63, Downey 3-39, Castillo 3-83, Olson 1-2. Rigby: Freeman 3-96, Falevai 1-18, Dansie 6-90, Lords 3-67.

Greg Woods is a sports reporter at the Post Register. Reach him 208-542-6772 and follow him on Twitter at GregWWoods.

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