A month ago the Rigby football team may have been under the radar.
All the Trojans did was keep winning games. They took down rival Madison, and then really opened some eyes when they knocked off perennial conference power Highland.
Winning the 5A District 5-6 title and then easily handling Eagle in their playoff opener was just the continuation of a journey that started after the season opener when the Trojans lost at Couer d’Alene.
“We were content to fly under the radar knowing we had a good football team,” coach Armando Gonzalez said.
Rigby is no longer flying under the radar. The Trojans went on the road Friday and beat defending state champion Rocky Mountain 31-9, snapping the Grizzlies’ 22-game win streak and earning a date in the 5A championship against Couer d’Alene.
Gonzalez said there’s no better ending to the story of this season than facing the team that beat the Trojans in Week 1.
“We learned a lot about ourselves,” Gonzalez said of the loss, noting Couer d’Alene was more physical and Rigby played shorthanded with star lineman Tanoa Togiai missing that game.
The Trojans dominated on both sides of the ball against Rocky Mountain, rushing for 207 yards and holding Rocky Mountain quarterback Colby Jackson to just two yards on 1-of-9 passing. Rocky Mountain gave up a season-high 403 total yards to the Trojans (9-1) and were held to a season-low 142 total yards. The nine points scored was the lowest by a Rocky Mountain team since their last loss in the 2017 semifinals.
“At some point as coach you hand over the team to the upper-classmen,” Gonzalez said. “If the kids don’t buy in it doesn’t matter what you want. They’ve taken the reigns … I think our kids are ready to finish the mission.”
Blackfoot defense shines in 4A win
Be it statewide print or national television, Donavon Estrada received a lot of attention this week.
The Blackfoot Broncos were definitely paying attention.
The Broncos came in looking to slow down the Nampa High quarterback in their 4A semifinal Friday, and it showed as Blackfoot advanced to the state championship game with an impressive 35-14 victory.
“Oh yes, we saw what he could do,’’ longtime Blackfoot coach Stan Buck said. “He is definitely capable of making big plays. We wanted to try and contain him as well as we could, and I think we did that.
“Our perimeter defense did an exceptional job containing him tonight. He can throw, he can run, he’s got great speed and quickness. I’m very proud of the way our defense responded tonight.’’
Buck and his staff had seen tape of Estrada’s postseason heroics (including Estrada’s highlight on ESPN’s “You Got Mossed’’ segment on Monday Night Football) and prepared all week. But all the practice in the world won’t do anyone any good if you don’t have the horses, and Buck’s got the horses this year. He’s got players on the defensive side of the ball — a defense that was only giving up 16.6 points per game during the Broncos’ 10-game win streak, dating back to a September loss to Wyoming perennial power, Star Valley.
Blackfoot (10-1) held Nampa’s offense in check early, forcing Estrada into two interceptions in the first half while holding the Nampa quarterback to 69 yards on the ground and 74 yards in the air to lead 14-7 at intermission.
Estrada finished with 77 yards rushing and 154 yards passing, his last completion was a 50-yard scoring strike to Jace Mann. On the year, Estrada was responsible for 4,037 yards and 46 touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the Broncos’ offensive attack was clicking behind running back Teegan Thomas, who finished with 224 yards and four touchdowns against the Bulldogs.
-GREG KILMER/For the Idaho Press
Season ends for North Fremont
Host McCall-Donnelly jumped out to an early lead on the way to a 23-12 win over North Fremont in a 2A state football semifinal.
The Huskies trailed 20-0 in the first quarter and 20-6 at the half. They eventually closed within 20-12 in the third quarter, but would get no closer.
North Fremont, which reached the 2A championship game a year ago and was No. 1 in the state media poll, finishes its season 10-1.
McCall-Donnelly improved to 11-0.