rigby football

Rigby players celebrate after Friday's win over Highland.

RIGBY — By the time 'We are the champions' finished blaring through the loud speakers and all of the postgame mingling and photo taking was wrapping up on the field, Rigby quarterback Keegan Thompson was already looking ahead.

"This is the year we can take state," he said. "We have that confidence."

After the Trojans' performance Friday night, it's hard to argue that Rigby isn't at least in the discussion of 5A title contenders after knocking off perennial power Highland 32-13.

The win earned the Trojans the 5A District 5-6 title and a first-round bye in the upcoming playoffs. Highland enters the playoffs as the No. 3 team out of the conference. Madison is No. 2.

Friday's win was the first time Rigby has beaten the Rams, who have been among the winningist programs in Eastern Idaho for decades. After falling to Madison last week, Friday's loss to Rigby is believed to be the first time Highland has lost two conference games since 1992.

"The way we prepared this year we knew we were a different team and not afraid of Highland," Thompson said. "We knew this was a game we could win."

The Rams (6-3, 1-2) came in averaging nearly 28 points and kicked a field goal on their first possession. Rigby (7-1, 3-0) put together an 80-yard drive on its next possession and Brigham Youngstrom scored on a 1-yard run for the lead. The Trojan defense made the lead stand up for the rest of the game.

Highland was held to a pair of field goals in the first half and the Trojans added to their lead when Thompson found Christian Fredricksen for a 4-yard touchdown on the last play of the half.

Thompson put the Trojans up 20-6 with a 4-yard touchdown run in the third and it was clear Rigby was in control.

"When we lost to them last October this team was pretty focused on getting us to where we are tonight and they made it happen with a lot of hard work," coach Armando Gonzalez said, adding that when they scouted Highland during last week's loss to Madison, they saw a team that wasn't invincible.

"We knew we were the better football team," he said. "We just had to go show it. There's a difference between knowing you can match up and that you can play at a high level, but then you have to actually do it on Friday night."

Rigby built its lead to 26-6 before Highland running back Kaleb Demuzio scored the first and only touchdown for the Rams with a scoring run with 4:46 left.

The Trojans responded on the very next play as Thompson broke loose for a 69-yard touchdown run to all but seal the game.

"We knew we had to keep our foot on the pedal," he said. "High caliber teams can always come back."

Thompson finished 11 of 18 for 170 yards and also ran for 168 yards.

Easton Durham was 11 of 22 for 93 yards and Demuzio tallied 71 yards on 19 carries for Highland.

RIGBY 32, HIGHLAND 13

Highland 3 3 0 7 — 13

Rigby 0 14 6 12 — 32

First quarter

H - FG 32 Ian Hershey, 3:29

Second quarter

R - Youngstrom 1 run (Brendan Behunin kick), 11:27

H - FG 37 Hershey, 3:27

R - Christian Fredricksen 4 pass from Thompson (Behunin kick), 0:00

Third quarter

R - Thompson 4 run (kick fail), 2:58

Fourth quarter

R - Fredricksen 25 pass from Thompson (kick fail) 9:27

H - Demuzio 3 run (Hershey kick), 4:36

R - Thompson 69 run (pass fail), 4:28

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Highland, Demuzio 18-71, Durham 13-54, Josh Potter 2-10, Mason Fullmer 3-16. Rigby, Youngstrom 15-65, Thompson 15-168, Zheik Falevai 2-14.

PASSING: Highland, Durham 11-22-93-1. Thompson, 11-18-170-0.

RECEIVING: Highland, Potter 5-72, Hunter Huelsman 1-7, Cooper Duffin 1-(minus-2), Demuzio 2-4, Braxton Wilhelm 1-4, Mason Mickelsen 1-6. Rigby, Brycen Uffens 3-53, Colton Edwards 1-11, Fredricksen 5-94, Trajen Larsen 1-8, Youngstrom 1-4.

Allan Steele is Sports Editor of the Post Register. Reach him at 208 542-6772 and follow on Twitter at asteele12000