Game of the Week
Hillcrest vs. Skyline tonight at Ravsten Stadium.
Both the Knights and Grizzlies are chasing Blackfoot in the 4A District 6 race.
Skyline and Hillcrest meet up with the winner likely having the inside track at the No. 2 spot in the conference, but anything can happen with three more weeks to play. Idaho Falls already has two conference wins but the toughest part of its schedule is coming up with games against Blackfoot and Hillcrest.
“Last week would have helped to be the No. 1 seed but it didn’t work out that way,” Skyline coach Scott Berger said of the team’s 27-20 loss to Blackfoot. After a slow start last week, the Grizzlies rallied against the Broncos to tie the game, but gave up a late touchdown in the loss.
The Skyline defense was challenged to stop Blackfoot running back Teegan Thomas last week and gave up more than 200 yards on the ground. The Grizzlies get another shot when they face a Knights team that also likes to run and features one of the top backs in the state in Tre Kofe, whose 1,096 yards are second in the state amongst 4A runners.
“That’s the biggest nightmare of defensive coaches,” Berger said. “You can’t stop the run.”
Skyline’s offense may have more options, with quarterback Cruz Taylor throwing downfield or running on his own, the game could come down to whoever sets the tone early.
Skyline fell behind last week and spent the rest of the game clawing back. Against Idaho Falls, another team that runs the ball, the Grizzlies were able to jump out to a 19-0 lead in the first quarter and held on for the win despite Spencer Moore rushing for 201 yards.
Making the most of a bye week
Sugar-Salem comes off a bye week and faces Teton on Friday.
The Diggers, the top-ranked team in 3A, had beaten its previous two opponents by a combined score of 111-0, so the timing for a week off might be precarious for most teams.
Coach Tyler Richins noted the down time is good for the players, many whom work during the harvest, and it’s also good to reflect on how the team’s playing after five games.
“It gives us an opportunity to heal up from some injuries and it’s kind of a nice opportunity to reset and evaluate ourselves,” Richins said, noting the defense, which was a question mark heading into the season, has played well with four shutouts in the five games.
The game at Teton is also special for Richins, who was quarterback on the 1999 Teton team that won a state title.
“It’s surreal to go out there,” he said, adding whenever he goes to Teton he and the family check out the trophy case and the hardware from 20 years ago.
“It was neat to be part of that as a player,” Richins said. “There are a lot of good memories.”
What a difference a year makes
Clark-Watersprings, with a roster of underclassmen, finished without a win a year ago.
This year’s team is off to a 3-2 start and is coming off an impressive 70-0 win over Challis. Last year Challis won the matchup 50-0.
“The kids are a year older, and we’re bigger,” coach Chris Strahm said. “The foundation was laid last year.”
Welcome to No. 1
Lost Rivers’ dramatic win over No. 1 Oakley moved the Pirates to the top of the state 1A Division 1 rankings this week, but things don’t get any easier for the Pirates.
They play at Grace (4-1) on Friday and have a date with Raft River (4-1) on Oct. 25.