RIGBY – One look at the Rigby football team’s 4-0 record and it might seem the Trojans are again loaded with talent and on course to challenge for another 5A state title.
But look deeper and the team’s run through the first month of the season has actually been more impressive than at this point a year ago.
Herniated disc. High ankle sprain. Fractured fibula. Foot ligament injury. The list of ailments to the Rigby offense is daunting.
“I’m just glad to finally get back,” said offensive lineman B.J. Madsen, who missed three weeks recovering from a back injury.
Madsen is undergoing physical therapy, which might be the overwhelming theme for the Trojans so far this season.
Coach Armando Gonzalez said he’s had to juggle the lineup and the team’s depth has been tested almost to the breaking point.
But not quite.
Even with an injury-riddled lineup, the Trojans are riding a 14-game win streak dating back to last season and averaged nearly 45 points through their four games this year.
“Everyone’s had to step up and do their job,” said Taylor Freeman, who typically plays receiver and is also the No. 2 quarterback behind Tiger Adolpho.
Adolpho, who earned the starting job in the summer after transferring in from Hawaii, is limited with a high ankle sprain, so Freeman is expected to start on Friday as the team opens conference play against Thunder Ridge. Having Adolpho out isn’t a big blow to the offense, Gonzalez said, noting that Freeman, a junior, has taken snaps at the varsity level and knows the offensive system.
The concern is that taking Freeman away from the receiving corps leaves a void with Trajen Larsen and Colton Edwards already sidelined with injuries.
It’s been a weekly dilemma dealing with injuries, but Gonzalez said the move to hold out Adolpho is precautionary while some other moves were more serious.
“I’d like to play this week but I’m not mad or upset if I don’t,” Adolpho said, adding that it’s ultimately a coaching decision.
Rigby’s schedule is loaded at the back end with games at Blackfoot, at Highland, and then the regular-season finale against rival Madison.
While the Blackfoot game is a good matchup, the nonconference tilt is essentially meaningless for the playoff push, while the Highland and Madison games will likely determine the 5A District 5-6 champion.
On the way to the state title a year ago, the Trojans knocked off Madison and then took down perennial power Highland to win the conference crown.
Gonzalez said he’s hopeful the team can manage to get through the next few weeks, and the good news is that everybody that’s currently out should eventually be back and healthy to play down the stretch.
In the meantime, everyone and anyone can be called upon to see some playing time.
“In our program the underclassmen help us a lot and when people need to step up they step up and they’re ready to go,” Madsen said.