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1ADII State Championship Preview
At long last, the Panthers and Blue Devils are squaring off and the stakes couldn't be higher
Published: 11/19/2020 5:05:11 PM


Since 2006, three teams have dominated the 1ADII landscape. 

Carey, Lighthouse Christian and Salmon River account for the last 14 state championships. The three-team dynasty has stood the test of multiple challengers, but not since Mackay has Idaho’s smallest classification crowned a champion from outside the dominant trio. 

But 2020 has torn the dynasty apart. Salmon River’s fall from grace gave way to a three-year run by Carey and Lighthouse. And last summer’s classification realignment elevated the Lions to 1ADI, giving Carey a clear shot to a seventh championship. 


That clear path promptly became hazier as the season began. Strict COVID-19 regulations in Blaine County kept Carey off the field down the stretch. The Panthers, after a 5-0 start, shuttered the stadium for more than a month, not hitting the gridiron until November's playoffs. Carey hadn’t taken the field against a conference opponent all year, but their record alone earned them a ticket to state, despite not having a top seed. 

That coveted spot was given to the Dietrich Blue Devils, the other representative out of the 1ADII Sawtooth Conference. The Devils look to be the heir to Lighthouse’s legacy, challenging the Panthers in this year’s championship. 

Dietrich stands as the only other undefeated 1ADII squad left, winning 10 matchups by an average of 38 points, the best margin in the classification. 

Brady Power’s offensive intuition has propelled Dietrich to its best season in four years. Power leads the offense at quarterback, throwing 29 touchdowns while averaging 12 yards per rush. Wes Shaw also makes his presence felt in the backfield, gaining 756 yards on the ground while hauling in 253 receiving yards. Out wide, Jett Shaw leads in pass-catching, both on the offense and defense. Shaw has 13 touchdowns on the year, while also tabulating three interceptions. 

But the Blue Devils are deficient in sustained playoff experience, something Carey knows all too much about. 

The Panthers have very few weaknesses, especially on the offensive end. Dallin Parke, Ashton Sparrow, Riley Morey and Connor Simpson all have at least 200 yards rushing on the year. Quarterback Hunter Smith compliments the dynamic run game with smart, efficient passing. Smith has just one interception on the year, throwing for 21 scores and 1,291 yards.

The difference Saturday in a matchup between two talented teams might come down to rest. Because of hazardous road conditions last weekend, Carey’s semifinal game against Kendrick up in Moscow had to be postponed until Monday, giving the Panthers just four days off before the biggest game of the season. 

Carey and Dietrich have waited a long time for this pairing, with both teams earning top-two votes in the coaches and media polls are year long. And with COVID-19 restrictions eased for the playoffs, fans should keep an eye on what could be the state’s most electrifying game this weekend. 

Saturday’s 1ADII state championship kicks off 1 p.m. (MST) at Twin Falls High School. will live audio broadcast the game. Click here to listen. 


Fan Comments
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Mr. Doubtfire
11/19/2020 6:58:51 PM
Go Dietrich
They won a six man game against Acequai I believe in 1949. That was before Minidoka County schools consolidated. Then won in 1952 against Council. Story I heard was Idaho Statesman or Press Tribune gave Council the game but Dietrich won. Don’t know there record in ensuing years but do to low enrollment dropped football in 1974. Picked up soccer a few years later. One of first schools to do. Co op option became available in 80,s several students went to Shoshone to play. Killed soccer in Dietrich and enrollment increased and football returned. Did not win too many games at first. But last several years dominant. Had two unbeaten regular seasons only to lose in semi or quarter finals. Time to dethrone Panthers. Dietrich should have decent team next couple years. Camas and Hansen ma6 have upcoming talent equal to Carey next few years to dethrone them.

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