There’s a full slate of state playoffs and tournaments scheduled for the end of the week, but the Mountain Rivers Conference football teams already got a head start on the postseason action with Monday’s Kansas City tiebreaker.
Here’s how it went down as reported by the Standard Journal’s Koster Kennard.
The rest of the football, volleyball and cross country schedules follow.
Interception. Touchdown. Fourth-down Conversion. Touchdown. That was nearly the entire game, if you can call it a game, Monday in Sugar-Salem’s 6-0 and 6-3 Kansas City Playoff wins over South Fremont and Teton, respectively.
With the Mountain Rivers Conference finishing the regular season in a three-way tie, Monday’s Kansas City playoff format was implemented to determine playoff seeding. Each team started from the 40-yard line and was given at least one chance to score in each matchup. If neither team or both teams scored they would each be given another chance to score this time from the 25. But the Diggers didn’t need that contingency plan. They beat both teams in two possessions.
After South Fremont took out Teton, the Cougars faced off with the rival Diggers in the second phase of the playoff. South Fremont started with the ball and drove about 30 yards down the field as Kaimen Peebles connected with his receiver for a long pass.
Plays later, Peebles threw an interception to the Diggers’ Brigham Lee ending the Cougars’ possession. Sugar-Salem quarterback Kyzon Garner eventually hit tight end Lee for a long touchdown up the seam ending the second phase of the playoff.
“It is what it,” said South Fremont head coach Chad Hill. “You have to make plays to win it and we threw an interception and Sugar made a play. But, we were able to make a play against Teton so we ended up second and we’re in the playoffs and we survived to play another day.”
To claim the district crown, the Diggers then had to take on Teton. The Timberwolves took the first possession about 30 yards down the field before the Digger defense held them to force a field goal.
When Sugar-Salem received the ball they found themselves in fourth down with seven yards to go. After a Digger timeout, Diggers wide receiver Jonah Schulthies ran about a 10-yard out route and Garner hit him along the sidelines to keep the drive alive.
After a couple run plays, Sugar-Salem threw the ball once again this time to the corner where Lee reeled it in for a touchdown. That score ended the game and gave Sugar-Salem the district title they thought they had lost weeks ago.
“After losing to South, we were a little bit down,” Sugar-Salem coach Tyler Richins said. “It’s always a goal to win the district championship. We didn’t know that we would still have the opportunity to win the district. So we were kind of preparing them to move in a different direction. With Teton beating South, it opened up that opportunity again. In football you don’t get a redemption opportunity very often.”
South Fremont won 7-0 over Teton to earn the conference’s second seed into the state playoffs.
Richins believes that all three teams have earned a playoff berth.
“They’re a good football team,” Richins said of Teton. “They’re fairly highly ranked. They have a winning record. It’s unfortunate that a good team like Teton has to stay home. I wish the state would look at adopting some other opportunities. Teton’s in a heck of a conference. It’s brutal. In my opinion, they’re better than several of the teams who are going to qualify for the tournament. They deserve to be there as much as us or South. For them to have to stay home is kind of heartbreaking for everybody.”
Here’s this week’s football state playoff schedule for area teams.
5A: Thunder Ridge at Eagle, Friday at 7 p.m. Rigby with a bye.
4A: Skyline vs. Twin Falls, Friday at 7 p.m. at Madison HS; Hillcrest at Sandpoint, Friday at 7 p.m.; Vallivue at Blackfoot, Friday at 7 p.m.
3A: South Fremont vs. American Falls, Saturday, 1 p.m. at Madison HS
2A: Malad at Firth, Friday at 5 p.m.; West Jefferson at Bear Lake, Friday at 1 p.m.; North Fremont with a bye.
1AD1 Butte County with a bye
1AD2 Hansen at Watersprings, Friday at 3:30 p.m.
STATE VOLLEYBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Friday and Saturday
Friday’s opening matches
5A at Skyline HS
Madison vs. Skyview, 10:30 a.m.
Thunder Ridge vs. Timberline, 1 p.m.
4A at Kimberly HS
Bonneville vs. Twin Falls, 1 p.m.
Shelley vs. Middleton, 3:30 p.m.
3A at Twin Falls HS
Sugar-Salem vs. Timberlake 10:30 a.m.
2A at Buhl HS
West Jefferson vs Nampa Christian, 1 p.m.
Firth vs. Bear Lake, 3:30 p.m.
1AD2 at Burley HS
Watersprings vs. Deary, 8 a.m.
Mackay vs. Tri-Valley, 3:30 p.m.
CROSS-COUNTRY STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Friday and Saturday at Portneuf Wellness Complex in Pocatello
3A girls, 9 a.m.
3A boys, 9:45 a.m.
4A girls, 11:30 a.m.
4A boys, 12:15 p.m.
5A girls, 2 p.m.
5A boys, 2:45 p.m.
1A girls, 9 a.m.
1A boys, 9:45 a.m.
2A girls, 11:30 a.m.
2A boys, 12:15 p.m.