RIGBY — Across nearly two hours Friday night, Rigby did what head coach Armando Gonzalez said his team had not to that point: Play a complete game. The Trojans thoroughly dominated Idaho Falls, 42-19, scoring on all but two series and turning this 5A top-five matchup into a blowout.
That part of the game, however, will likely not be remembered as much as the way it ended.
When Idaho Falls got the ball back in the final minute, trailing by five scores, the Tigers elected to call two timeouts, including one with three seconds left. They kept their starters in while the Trojans took some of theirs out headed into the final quarter. So on the final play, Rigby responded by putting its starters back in, only for Idaho Falls quarterback Skyler Olsen to toss a touchdown pass as time expired.
Trojan linebacker Logan Fredericksen hit Olsen as he threw. Officials signaled for a touchdown, but because both sidelines were spilling onto the field and things were growing chippy, they decided to end the game there — no extra point. Olsen came up gimpy as the Tigers and Trojans began trash talking on the field.
The only thing clear about the final scene was that Olsen completed a touchdown pass, and even that wasn’t added to the scoreboard. Instead, the scene descended into chaos. Coaches and officials tried to separate players on the field as the game came to an end.
The differences in perspectives were striking.
“Just like anybody, we’re trying to score and be competitive,” Idaho Falls coach Marty Duffin said. “They didn’t like that. They brought all their guys in and loaded up on us. That’s OK. We’re just trying to get better.”
Duffin acknowledged that Rigby took issue with his decision to call two timeouts inside of one minute. “But so what?” Duffin said. “That’s football.”
Meanwhile, Rigby saw the timeouts as a sign of disrespect.
“Who does that?” Gonzalez said. “You can print it. Honestly, who does that? The game is over. At some point, it’s like, ‘Hey, let’s get out of here.’ You made your statement. If they had just kept going down and hadn’t called timeouts, whatever. But you start calling timeouts, I’m sorry, I’m not going to allow it to happen here. Not here at home.”
Relayed Duffin’s comments about trying to remain competitive, Gonzalez bristled.
“You’re trying to be competitive?” Gonzalez said. “You had your chance to be competitive when the game was still undecided, and you got shut out in the second half. You had a chance. That’s your chance. Not when we put the whole JV team in there to close the game out. You keep your starters in and called timeouts at the end. I’m sorry, that’s not being competitive.”
Both Gonzalez and Rigby quarterback Tiger Adolpho — who completed 21 of 32 passes for 299 yards, two total touchdowns and an interception — said Idaho Falls players were talking trash to Rigby players, saying things like “F off,” according to Gonzalez.
It appeared that players from both teams were exchanging words, especially at the end of the game, but Adolpho — who said Idaho Falls’ decision to call timeouts and try to score at the end of the game “was probably one of the most disrespectful things you can do” — added that things escalated beyond standard trash talk.
“After plays, they would say stuff to me. They’d hit me like, ‘Yeah, stay on the ground,’” Adolpho said. “All that kind of stuff. I just kind of laughed, like, ‘You guys can’t even talk. We’re blowing you guys out. You’re really going to talk trash when the score is the way it is?”
The final scenes of the affair overshadowed the rest of the game, which was all Rigby.
If the Trojans weren’t such a perennial powerhouse, perhaps this result would be more surprising. Both teams entered at 5-0. Rigby is Class 5A’s No. 1 team, while Idaho Falls checked in at No. 5, its first ranking in eight years. This figured to be one of the state’s best games this weekend.
But in their 6-0 start to the season, the Trojans have beaten teams with an overwhelming combination of bulk and talent — even on the rare occasion when plays look dead. Adolpho’s second-quarter score, when he scrambled and flipped off a tackle into the end zone, represents a prime example, but the truth is that Rigby is so effective because it rarely finds itself in situations that look similar.
On Friday, they were few and far between. The Trojans tallied 42 unanswered points to turn a top-five clash into a rout that was never close. After Olsen hit Hunter Miller for an 85-yard touchdown strike on the first play from scrimmage, Rigby proceeded to blow the game open.
So before the fourth quarter hit and garbage time began, Rigby scored on four of its five series. The highlights included a 38-yard touchdown pass from Adolpho to Taylor Freeman, capping an 80-yard drive, a six-yard rush from Zheik Falevai that ended a 55-yard drive and the scramble from Adolpho that put the icing on a 99-yard drive — which was more like 99 ½, for what it’s worth.
Meanwhile, Rigby’s defense stonewalled Idaho Falls’ offense. The Tigers, who didn’t record their first first down of the second half until the four-minute mark of the fourth frame, punted on five of their seven drives. Olsen completed 10 of 20 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns, but the Tigers didn’t have any more luck on the ground, where they averaged just 3.7 yards per carry. Idaho Falls never turned it over, but that’s mostly because it didn’t have the ball long enough.
“We didn’t move the ball like we thought we would,” Duffin said. “Hats off to them. They’re a really good team. We’ve just got to play better and execute, which we didn’t do.”
Still, this was less about Idaho Falls producing a disappointing game and more about Rigby generating another spectacular one. The Tigers have authored a magical season, turning a winless 2020 campaign to a — previously — unbeaten 2021 year, but the Trojans may be the best team in the state. They employ a D-I commit at quarterback, another on the offensive line, and so much talent across the field that beating them requires a series of puzzle pieces falling right where they should.
On Friday night, they fell scattered across the table.
“At some point, this just shows where they belong,” Gonzalez said. “Not in our class. Sorry.”
RIGBY 42, IDAHO FALLS 19
Idaho Falls 7 0 0 12 — 19
Rigby 14 7 14 7 — 42
IF — Miller 85 pass from Olsen (PAT good), 11:41
R — Freeman 38 pass from Adolpho (PAT good), 9:01
R — Falevai 6 rush (PAT good), 5:36
R — Falevai 5 rush (PAT good), 7:26
R — Falevai 4 rush (PAT good), 0:57
R — Mikkola 3 rush (PAT good), 4:16
IF — Jesperson 1 rush (PAT no good), 1:26
IF — Miller 33 pass from Olsen (no PAT), 0:00
RUSHING — Idaho Falls: Jesperson 20-95, Olsen 4 (-2), Anderson 1-0. Rigby: Falevai 18-94, Adolpho 11-30, Mikkola 7-45, Freeman 1-9, Klingler 6-50.
PASSING — Idaho Falls: Olsen 10-20-2 226. Rigby: Adolpho 21-32-1 299, Flowers 0-1-0 0.
RECEIVING — Idaho Falls: Miller 5-146, Turnage 1-11, Myer 1-15, Jesperson 1-3, Someson 1-45, Anderson 1-6. Rigby: Freeman 6-109, Dansie 7-114, Lords 2-22, Kunz 1-27, Falevai 5-27.