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Paul's Picks: State Football Championship Games
Paul's back to pick the winners and losers for every championship game this Saturday
Published: 11/19/2020 1:09:20 PM
Paul Kingsbury
General Manager/Broadcaster

FULL Tournament Coverage Information

After a couple of upsets in the semifinals, I went 8 out of 12 which makes me 25 out of 36 in the playoffs overall. The championship matchups look pretty even for the most part, so picking a few of them was pretty hard. The weather is expected to be a full 180 from last week. A little chilly, but sunny and no rain/snow at every location. This will give teams the chance to use the weapons that got them here to their full potential on both sides of the ball.

Like last week, I feel pretty good about this week's picks, but feel free to let me know what you think down below in the comments.

5A State Championship: Rocky Mountain Grizzlies (8-0) vs Rigby Trojans (10-0)
Nov. 10, 2017; the date Rocky Mountain lost to Highland in the state football semifinals. Since that cold night (I was there) the Grizzlies have dominated the 5A classification, racking up an impressive record of 30-1. It’s that “1” that Rocky Mountain is looking to avenge Saturday afternoon at Madison High School. That lone loss came in last year’s state football semifinal game against Rigby, who went on to win their first football state championship in school history. 

After Saturday afternoon, Rigby will have their second state football championship and Rocky Mountain will be 30-2.

Paul’s Pick - Rigby defeats Rocky Mountain in a close one, 35-32

4A State Championship: Skyline Grizzlies (11-1) vs Emmett Huskies (10-2)
This is a championship game that features two teams that didn’t even make it to the quarterfinals in 2019. The one and only time Emmett has won was in 2015 when the Huskies were one of the biggest schools in the 3A classification. Skyline has had more recent success, winning back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017. The Huskies have the weapons to get the job done, but not if Skyline’s stingy defense comes to play. The nice weather and turf field give a slight advantage to the Grizzlies and that tilts the scales in their favor in this week’s picks. 

Paul’s Pick – Skyline defeats Emmett in a high scoring battle, 45-32

3A State Championship: Sugar-Salem Diggers (9-1) vs Homedale Trojans (8-1)
They say it’s hard to beat a good team twice. Sugar-Salem has done it two years in a row, title-blocking the Homedale Trojans on their way to becoming the most dominant team in the 3A classification. There isn’t much about this game that hasn’t already been said so I’ll just leave you with this: The Trojans will not be denied a fourth time. 

Paul’s Pick – Homedale defeats Sugar-Salem 28-24

2A State Championship: West Side Pirates (10-0) vs Firth Cougars (8-3)
A few years ago, the saying was, “If you aren’t Firth, your second.” Best t-shirt I ever saw. But that was at the boys state basketball tournament. This is football, where the last time the Cougars made it to the championship was 2017. Their last title was in 2006. 

North Fremont was riding high on an undefeated season coming in to last weekend’s semifinal game against Firth, a team they had beaten three weeks earlier 22-6. Then the snow started falling in Ashton, and with it the hopes of the first state football championship since 1989 for the Huskies. Firth scored on a 70-yard fumble recovery in the fourth quarter and as the PAT sailed through the uprights, the dream season for North Fremont came to an end. 

West Side is 31-2 since the beginning of the 2018 season. They lost the title game in 2018 to Declo and then won it all last November beating McCall-Donnelly 14-13. The Pirates are back and better than ever, outscoring their opponents this fall by an average of 32-5. 

Will Firth continue the Cinderella story and beat West Side Saturday at Madison High School? No. No they won’t. 

Paul’s Pick – West Side defeats Firth 48-12

1AD1 State Championship: Raft River Trojans (9-1) vs Oakley Hornets (10-1)
You don’t often see a state championship game also be a rubber-match, but that’s what we have on tap this Saturday in Twin Falls. The last time these two teams played was for the SRC championship. Raft River beat Oakley, but only by two points 40-38. Before that, Oakley beat Raft River to open the season 22-8. This game features two teams that average over 50 points per game and give up around 15 points each. Two high-powered offenses against two stingy defenses. 

Oakley is coming off a huge win against No. 1 ranked Prairie in Moscow last Saturday. Raft River has had it relatively easy on the bottom side of the bracket, beating Kamiah and Lighthouse 76-14 and 66-22 respectively. Does that make Oakley sharper coming in to the title game or has the easy road given Raft River a chance to heal from any injuries and give the Trojans more rest?

This is a game that will come down to penalties and mistakes. The team that makes the fewest wins. Since I am contractually obliged to pick a winner I am going to flip a coin. Heads it’s Raft River, tails it’s Oakley. 

Heads it is. 

Paul’s Pick – Raft River defeats Oakley 32-28

1AD2 State Championship: Carey Panthers (8-0) vs Dietrich Blue Devils (10-0)
This is another championship game that features two conference rivals. The difference is that this will be the first time they have played each other all year. Due to strict Covid rules, Carey’s last regular season game was played September 25th, right when most other teams were just getting warmed up. 

Carey had to turn their bus around on the way to Moscow last weekend to play Kendrick in the semifinals because of bad weather. The games was rescheduled for Monday night at the Kibbie Dome so the Panthers packed everything back up and made the long trip again. After going in to the locker room tied up with Kendrick 14-14, the Panthers came out strong in the 2nd half beating the Tigers 40-14. 

Dietrich and Carey are coming in to the game undefeated so something has to give. I have seen both teams play and they are both scary-good. I know they say kids are like Rubbermaid and bounce back quickly, but that was a lot of driving combined with a short week before a championship game. Dietrich was looking really good on Saturday when they beat Mullan-St Regis with a running clock in the second-half 64-0. 

Like I said in the 1AD1 picks, I am contractually obliged to pick somebody. The longer week off and fewer road miles has to favor the Blue Devils. 

Paul’s Pick – Dietrich defeats Carey 50-44



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