POCATELLO — On this side of the Continental Divide, all rivers flow to the Mighty Pacific.
All rivers, that is, except Lost Rivers.
With 11 wins in as many games this season, the Lost Rivers Pirates have flowed directly into the 1A Division 1 state championship game.
The Pirates (11-0) earned their spot in the title bout with a 36-6 win over Wilder (8-3) at Holt Arena on Saturday, and will face Prairie (10-0) in the state final Friday at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow.
Averaging 52.6 points per game coming into the semifinal against Wilder, the raging Lost Rivers scoring torrent was expected.
What was less expected was how long it took that tide to rise, as the two teams went into the halftime break knotted at six.
While the Pirates did roll up 195 first half yards, two lost fumbles and solid Wilder tackling kept Lost Rivers from doing its traditional damage.
In fact, if it were not for a one-play defensive stand at its own one-yard line to end the first half, Lost Rivers would have been on the short end of the halftime score.
The Pirates’ halftime locker room was, well, energetic.
“We didn’t play good at all, and there was a lot of yelling. A lot,” senior lineman Dakota Anderson said. “We’d been practicing a 5-man front all week, and we finally figured out (in the second half).”
More than that, the Pirates figured things out on both sides of the ball and flat dominated the third quarter.
Lost Rivers scored on all three of its first three possessions of the second half, and forced Wilder into two 3-and-outs, and a 4-and-out en route to a 28-6 lead.
On those first three drives of the second half, the Pirates ran 11 plays (all runs), got seven first downs, and scored three touchdowns.
After giving up 228 to the Wildcats in the first half, Lost Rivers stoned the Wilder offense in the second half to the tune of 68 yards, if you discount 60 garbage time yards on the final drive of the game.
“Our mental state changed in that second half,” senior lineman Bryson Gunter said. “We had to change our focus, and once we did, we started playing our kind of football.”
Bridger Hansen ran for two scores and threw to Sereck Peterson for another, and Brady McAffee and Keyan Cummins each had rushing touchdowns for the Pirates.
But as Gunter said, that is all behind us.
Next week is for immortality.
“We know Prairie is good, but so are we,” he said. “We’re going to go there and work, and bring home that state championship.”
LOST RIVERS 36, WILDER 6
Wilder 0 6 0 0 — 6
Lost Rivers 0 6 22 8 — 36
W — Moises Perez 30 pass from Pablo Martinez (pass failed) 6:40
LR — Sereck Peterson 24 pass from Bridger Hansen (pass failed) :28
LR — Hansen 20 run (Chase Green from Hansen) 8:40
LR — Keyan Cummins 78 run (Green run) 6:51
LR — Brady McAffee 1 run (run failed) 4:35
LR — Hansen 8 run (Cummins run) 3:08
RUSHING: Wilder, Martinez 10-28, Anthony Ortivez 2-16, Cody Walker 8-14, Brandon Aguilera 3-6. Lost Rivers, Hansen 15-129, Cummins 10-118, McAffee 13-73, Jacoda Whitworth 3-33.
PASSING: Wilder, Martinez 21-38-2-286. Lost Rivers, Hansen 9-16-1-94.
RECEIVING: Wilder, Norman Gonzalez 9-182, Aguilera 5-53, Perez 2-30, Diego Rodriguez 1-10, Ortivez 2-7, #13 1-4, Marco Martinez 1-3. Lost Rivers, Peterson 2-35, Sage Cummins 2-26, McAffee 2-20, Chase Green 1-7, K. Cummins 2-6.