Rigby Homecoming Football game (copy)

Rigby tailback Zheik Falevai cuts upfield during a win over Idaho Falls this season.

Across the past seven weeks, Rigby has piled up a spotless record by reaching its lofty standards. The Trojans like to say they don’t focus so much on playing opponents as much as they focus on playing themselves, ironing out issues to make sure they don’t surface come postseason time. They don’t mean to disrespect anyone. They just know they have bigger goals than regular-season wins.

Rigby’s next one, however, may be its most challenging. On Friday, the Trojans host perennial powerhouse Highland, which checked in as Class 5A’s No. 4 team in Tuesday’s media poll. It’s an interesting matchup on the surface — a top-five clash in the state’s largest classification — but as a district game, it will also strongly affect each team’s postseason outlook.

With a win, the Trojans put themselves one game away from securing a first-round bye in the 5A playoffs, which is important because they’ve sustained a few injuries at a bad time.

In the first half of Rigby’s win over Blackfoot last week, injuries hit starting cornerbacks Ryder Thompson and Zxaeb Falevai, plus outside linebacker Logan Fredericksen, who head coach Armando Gonzalez said suffered “some kind of knee injury,” which will likely sideline him next week against Highland.

Thompson went down on the first play of the game. He suffered back spasms and felt a strain in his groin/hip area, so coaches decided to hold him out for the rest of the game, especially because it was a non-conference affair. In the second quarter, Falevai tackled a receiver out of bounds and landed awkwardly on his hand, breaking a bone. Gonzalez said he’s hopeful Falevai can get a cast on his hand and continue playing — “but we’re not sure yet,” he said.

That’s not all, though. Rigby played Blackfoot without wide receiver Taylor Freeman, who had played two games through an ankle injury, which turned out to be more serious than the team previously believed. Gonzalez said he expects Freeman to play against Highland, but he won’t be 100% healthy either way.

So it goes at this time of year.

Elsewhere in the poll, Shelley dropped out of the 4A ranks thanks two its second straight loss, Sugar-Salem held at No. 4 in 3A, Firth and North Fremont stayed at No. 2 and No. 3 in 2A, respectively, and Butte County rose to No. 4 in Class 1A-D1.

Here is the full poll.

CLASS 5A

Team (1st-place votes) W-L Pts Pvs

1. Rigby (9) 7-0 53 1

2. Mountain View (2) 7-0 46 2

3. Rocky Mountain 6-1 33 3

4. Highland 6-1 20 4

5. Coeur d’Alene 5-1 10 5

Others receiving votes: Idaho Falls 2, Eagle 1.

CLASS 4A

1. Minico (11) 7-0 55 1

2. Emmett 6-1 44 2

3. Bishop Kelly 5-2 24 5

4. Sandpoint 3-2 19 3

5. Pocatello 5-2 13 —

Others receiving votes: Twin Falls 10.

CLASS 3A

1. Homedale (11) 7-0 55 1

2. Weiser 7-0 43 2

3. Gooding 6-0 34 3

4. Sugar-Salem 4-2 20 4

5. Kellogg 5-1 10 5

Others receiving votes: Timberlake 1, Marsh Valley 1, Kimberly 1.

CLASS 2A

1. West Side (11) 6-0 55 1

2. Firth 5-1 41 2

3. North Fremont 6-0 36 3

4. Nampa Christian 6-1 21 5

5. Melba 5-2 8 —

Others receiving votes: Declo 4.

CLASS 1A DIVISION I

1. Oakley (9) 6-0 52 1

2. Prairie (1) 6-0 41 2

3. Raft River (1) 6-0 39 3

4. Butte County 5-1 15 5

5. Notus 6-1 10 —

Others receiving votes: Lapwai 5, Genesee 3.

CLASS 1A DIVISION II

1. Carey (11) 6-0 55 1

2. Castleford 6-0 40 2

3. Horseshoe Bend 6-0 34 3

4. Kendrick 5-1 18 4

5. North Gem 5-1 11 5

Others receiving votes: Mullan 6, Dietrich 1.

Voters: Donn Walden, Lewiston Tribune; Mark Nelke, Coeur d’Alene Press; Fred Davis, Bingham News Chronicle; Brandon Baney, IdahoSports.com; Greg Woods, Post Register; Jordan Kaye, Idaho State Journal; Dave Nichols, Spokesman-Review; Michael Lycklama, Idaho Statesman; Brittany Cooper, KMVT; Pat Sutphin, Times-News; John Wustrow, Idaho Press.

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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