4A District 6 Championship Bonneville vs Hillcrest

File photo — Bonneville Head Coach Chantal McMurtrey and the Bees host the Bonneville Volleyball Classic Tournament this weekend.

The Bonneville Volleyball Classic Tournament is scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

The schedule was still in flux Wednesday evening with some teams dropping out and the school currently shut down by COVID-19 through at least Thursday, but the tournament is still a go.

The host Bees are off to an 8-0 start and could potentially play 3A state champ and current unbeaten Sugar-Salem in the tournament.

Round robin play begins at 4:30 p.m. on Friday and continues on Saturday morning with a modified double-elimination bracket to decide the champion.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions in Bonneville County, all spectators at the tournament will be required to wear a mask for entry.

Thunder Ridge defense on the mend

When Thunder Ridge dropped a 55-21 decision to Skyline on Sept. 4, the Titans realized they had a few issues to fix. One of the big ones: their defense.

The Titans didn’t just give up 55 points, they surrendered 246 passing yards, good for an average of 14 yards per completion, and they lost the third quarter 34-0. Tack on Skyline’s 104 rushing yards and you begin to really understand how deep Thunder Ridge’s defensive problems ran in the loss.

All that changed a week later. In Thunder Ridge’s 35-7 win over Idaho Falls on Friday, the Titans yielded just one touchdown. They allowed just 267 yards of offense. Take away the one big mistake Thunder Ridge made on defense — which allowed Idaho Falls’ Kyan Jesperson to jet 61 yards into the end zone — the Titans allowed just 70 rushing yards.

That was music to the ears of head coach Jeff Marshall.

“This is the best that the defense has played, no doubt about it,” Marshall said. “The consistency (impressed me), honestly. Pretty consistent.”

Tao Johnson back at quarterback for Thunder Ridge

Speaking of the Titans, they have their main man under center now.

Tao Johnson is back.

Against Skyline, backup Tayvin Oswald called signals. The result: He took five sacks, all in the first half, and while he did complete 10 of 19 passes for 188 yards and a score, he only passed so much because he had to. His team couldn’t get anything going on the ground.

A week later, Johnson returned to the field and helped Thunder Ridge dismantle Idaho Falls. He completed 8 of 11 passes for 118 yards and a touchdown, and he added five carries for 15 yards. He took most snaps out of the shotgun, using misdirection and fakes to keep defenders guessing. The best part for the Titans is that it worked — all night.

More volleyball

It might be hard to top last season’s success by District 6 volleyball teams, but this week’s early season coaches’ state poll looks good for area squads.

Thunder Ridge and Madison are the top two teams in 5A, while Bonneville comes in at No. 1 in 4A with Skyline tied for fifth and Shelley receiving votes.

Defending 3A champion Sugar-Salem leads 3A teams with South Fremont at No. 4.

Firth is No. 1 in 2A and Butte County moved up to third in 1A Division I.

Watersprings is fourth and Mackay is tied for fifth in the 1A Division II poll.

Speaking of state polls …

This week’s boys soccer coaches’ poll has Blackfoot second in 4A just behind Canyon Ridge. The Broncos received two first-place votes.

Teton received one first-place vote in 3A and is second behind Gooding. Sugar-Salem is fourth.

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