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1AD2 Semi-Final "Milk Bowl" Game Previews
Published: 11/11/2015 3:06:42 PM

My thoughts and predictions on this weekend's 1AD2 State Semi-Final games


Either one of this year's state 1AD2 Semi-Final match-ups would have made a fantastic state championship game. Deary, Carey, Lighthouse and Salmon River. With only three losses between them, they are the top 4 teams, in that order, in the Power Rankings. They are the top 4 teams in the final regular season IdahoSports.com and Media Polls. The 1AD2 classification has been whittled down to the best four teams with the big winner being the fans of 8-man football in Idaho. It's going to be a fun weekend.

Carey Panthers (9-1) vs Deary Mustangs (10-0)
11/13/15 @ Carey HS 3:00pm - Watch it live here

A state tournament without Carey is like Christmas without snow. It just doesn't feel right. It's been so long since it's happened that I was too lazy to keep doing the research after looking clear back to 2008. First person to comment below when Carey last missed the state tournament wins.

This year the Panthers didn't get an overwhelming amount of love from the voters, but they did get enough to hang out in the top 5 all season. Despite finishing the regular season 7-1, their lone loss to the defending state champions, Lighthouse Christian, in September was enough to cast a shadow of doubt on the Panthers ability to go all the way this year. Their road to the championship would undoubtedly go through the Lions. Now, sitting just two days away from their semi-final game against undefeated Deary from up north, the Panthers can't help but look down at the bottom of the bracket and see their conference rival also just one game from the state championship.

Deary, like most teams in north Idaho, enjoy a certain sense of anonymity to the rest of the state. It wasn't until October that the voters in the media started noticing the Mustangs racking up big win after big win. They really weren't challenged all year until last week in the quarter-finals when Deary was finally tested by a very stout Council team who they eventually beat 36-28 to remain the only undefeated 1AD2 team in Idaho.

Deary is a well-balanced team that can beat you on the ground and in the air. Heading in to last week's quarter-final game, senior QB Morgan Beyer had completed over 65% of his passes for 26 TD's while rushing for 3 more on the ground. Senior RB, Tyler Anderson, had rushed for over 1,000 yards with 19 TDs. Their defense had almost 30 sacks on the season. A very tough team to beat.

The Deary Mustangs haven't won a state championship since 1997, almost to the day that I got married. While the last 18 years have been the best of my life (right, honey?) it's been a long couple of decades for Mustang fans. The end of the drought is one game closer after this weekend.

Deary over Carey 46-38.

______________________________________________________________________

Lighthouse Christian Lions (9-1) vs Salmon River Savages (8-1)
11/13/15 @ Carey HS 3:00pm - Watch it live here

The 2014 1AD2 state champs are back in the semi-finals, ready to defend their title. The only blemish on their record is a 32-14 loss to Dietrich in September. In every game besides that loss, the Lions crushed their opponents by an average of 46-23 (not including their 2-0 forfeit win over Watersprings to open the playoffs). The extra week off did't do them any good though as they came close to getting bounced from their own party last week, narrowly defeating Clark County 34-32 in Dubois. Led by seniors Josh Fadness on offense and Ty Giardina on defense, the Lions are going to be tough to beat.

Salmon River - another team that is synonymous with state tournaments in Idaho. The Savages won state championships in 2009, 2012 and 2013 all under head coach Charlie Shepherd. Last season had people hoarding food and digging bunkers as Salmon River went 3-5 and failed to qualify for post-season play. The boys, as they say, are back in town this year going 8-1, their only loss to 1AD1 powerhouse Prairie in week two, 58-24. In contrast to past Salmon River teams that were led by one or two standout players that had a supporting cast, this year's teams is made up of several different weapons. Nearly every player on the roster contributes each and every game, but keep your eye on Fab Freshman #21 Canyon Harper. His play on both sides of the ball will be key in how far the Savages go.

Temps at game time look to be in the mid 40's with the wind whipping in from the south right up the canyon.

Salmon River edges the defending state champs in a close one, 36-28.



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