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  The 11th Annual Rocky Mountain Rumble

The 2018 High School Football season kicks off in a big way at Holt Arena this weekend.

By: Matt Harris
Published: 8/23/2018 2:01:23 AM

"Where did my summer go?"
Every year I ask myself this question seemingly. I love the summertime and being able to enjoy the weather, play golf, hit up the lake, go on family vacations, and much more. I'm sad to see it go every year.
But it's time to get down to business.
The new school year is underway and that means high school sports are back as well. I think I can safely say that the staff here at are very excited for the new school year and everything that is in store. We've been busily preparing for the new sports season and we hope that you enjoy the coverage we provide. (Speaking of which, have you seen our state-wide football previews?)
High school football kicks off at Holt Arena on Friday with the 11th annual Rocky Mountain Rumble. We are proud to be able to be associated with this showcase of high school football once again this year. Of course, we will have live streaming coverage of all six games from the Dome, along with the other games being streamed from around the state.
This year's edition of the Rumble will have six games featuring Idaho teams going up against schools from Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Canada. Tickets to the event cost $10 per person and admits you to all six games, played on both Friday and Saturday. 
Here's a quick preview of the matchups at Holt Arena this weekend:
Game #1: Minico vs. Kirtland Central (NM) | Friday at 5:30 pm | Click HERE To Watch Live
The defending 4A state runner-up gets the action underway on Friday against Kirtland Central out of Kirtland, New Mexico. Minico will be tasked with replacing a large senior class that pushed them to their best season in school history last year. Colter May, Rylan Chandler, and others are back and they will be counted on to lead a new-look team, with head coach Keelan McCaffrey taking the reigns of the program following Tim Perrigot's decision to step down.
Kirtland Central, on the other hand, will look to improve on their 6-4 record from a year ago. Head coach Greg Jenks is familiar with southeast Idaho - he played football under Tom Harrison at Snake River High in the mid-90's. Kirtland Central brings back quite a few starters from last season, including six on offense and nine on defense. They should provide a solid test for the Spartans.
Game #2: Century vs. Orem (UT) | Friday at 8:30 pm | Click HERE To Watch Live
Believe it or not, but Orem has more appearances in the Rocky Mountain Rumble than Century does. The Tigers have participated in the Rumble twice (2012, 2014) and sport a record of 1-1, with both games being played against Highland. Orem enters this contest as the heavy favorite to repeat as 4A state champions in Utah and features a plethora of talent including Puka Nacua (USC commit), Cooper Legas, and Noah Sewell, among others. Following a tough loss to powerhouse Bingham last week, the Tigers will be fired up.
Century will also be fired up for this contest and are looking to get their season off on the right foot. The Diamondbacks went 6-5 a year ago, but many believe they have an opportunity to be special this season with 17 returning starters back in the fold. Century will have to shake off and eliminate the first game jitters as quickly as they can in this one. With Orem having already played a game, the Diamondbacks margin for error will be much thinner.
Game #3: Hillcrest vs. Star Valley (WY) | Saturday at 10:00 am | Click HERE To Watch Live
Hillcrest drops down to the 4A classification this season following the opening of Thunder Ridge High in Idaho Falls, but the Knights return almost all of their talent from a year ago and hope that they can put it altogether this year. Jordan Neuerburg, Oakley Hussey, Ed Carle, and more are back for Hillcrest this season, along with new head coach Kevin Meyer. Get ready for plenty of running from Hillcrest in this contest.
Star Valley makes their first appearance ever at the Rumble in this contest and bring their tradition of success to the Dome. They are led by former Malad coach McKay Young and have won two state championships in the last three seasons at the 3A level in Wyoming. But the Braves lost a lot of senior talent to graduation, including 8 All-State selections, and will have plenty of new faces filling starting roles. Wyatt Moore is Star Valley's leading returning rusher and will be leaned on for offensive production.
Game #4: Blackfoot vs. Lethbridge Collegiate Institute (AB) | Saturday at 1:00 pm | Click HERE To Watch Live
The Blackfoot Broncos didn't have the season they wanted in 2017. They started 1-6 last year, but ended on a high note with two straight wins. Now entering 2018, the Broncos will look to get back to the playoffs in the competitive 4A High Country Conference. Blackfoot brings back quite a few players with experience and could be a dark horse contender for a berth to state. Longtime head coach Stan Buck will have his team ready for their second ever appearance at the Rumble.
As for Lethbridge Collegiate Institute, or LCI, the Rams make the long journey down from southern Alberta for their first appearance at the Rumble. LCI will also adjust to playing 11-man American football, compared to 12-man Canadian football. However, the Rams have played competition from the United States, including Idaho, anywhere from one to two times each of the last few seasons (they will also play Sandpoint later on this year). The Rams lose John Evans, their league MVP and offensive superstar, to graduation, but bring back a talented defense, including Isaiah Bagnah.
Game #5: Skyline vs. Skyline (UT) | Saturday at 4:00 pm | Click HERE To Watch Live
Be prepared to call the teams by their mascot names in this one. The two time defending 4A state champion Skyline Grizzlies come into the Rumble for the first time sporting an even larger target on their backs compared to last season. The Grizzlies will have to replace 8 All-State players from a year ago, but will lean on Easton Taylor, Cruz Taylor, and more to try and get the job done. There is plenty of young talent waiting in the wings for their opportunity at Skyline.
The other Skyline, Skyline of Salt Lake City, Utah, already has a game under their belts with a thrilling 47-40 win over Granger (UT). Quarterback Chris Dudley threw for 401 yards and five touchdowns in the contest while also running for two more scores. Mosese Tauteoli snagged 104 yards rushing and Isaac Campbell torched Granger's defense for 219 yards receiving and three touchdowns. The Eagles, led by head coach Zac Erekson, pose a tough test for the Grizzlies to open the year.
Game #6: Highland vs. Shadow Ridge (NV) | Saturday at 7:00 pm | Click HERE To Watch Live
Highland, the only team to have played in every single Rumble event, kicks off their season as the defending 5A state champions and are looking to bring home another blue trophy. The Rams return Kobe Tracy and Landon Demuzio on offense, but are tasked with replacing plenty of talent from their stingy defense a year ago. But Highland is confident with the players who have been waiting their turn for their time to shine. The Rams have only lost three times in the Rumble's history. 
Out of Las Vegas, Nevada, the Shadow Ridge Mustangs make their first appearance at the Rumble. This will be the Mustangs second game of the season; the first was a 55-22 blowout victory over Mojave (NV). Shadow Ridge rushed for 440 yards in the win and threw two passes total. Kody Presser and Anthony Wheaton are the players to watch out for, but don't overlook the defense either - Jordan Parker and Chris Owens both came away with interceptions last week.


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