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  Idaho HS Football: Week 1 Rewind

Breaking down some of the noteworthy happenings in week one of high school football in Idaho.

By: Sven Alskog
Published: 8/28/2017 10:40:07 AM
67 games are now in the books for the high school football season in the state of Idaho. Let's take a look at some of the things that stood out in week one.

(Note: I will be away for week two of action, so the weekly rewind will have a one week hiatus before returning for week three)

-If there was any question regarding how fun the SIC will be to follow this year those doubts were quickly removed on Friday. A tight matchup between Eagle and Mountain View saw the Mavericks come out on top in a 21-19 contest. Both teams lost stellar senior classes from a season ago, with defending state champion Mountain View hoping to keep pace with teams throughout the state including Rocky Mountain, Highland and Coeur d'Alene. The two-headed running back tandem of Caden Hansen and Jaymon Barrus each ran for over 90 yards on a combined 47 carries to pace Mountain View.

-The most exciting action featuring conference foes however took place at Meridian, as the Warriors held off a valiant effort from Centennial, which at one point trailed 24-0, to squeak out a 46-45 win. Nate Weddle showed why he is expected to be one of the top quarterbacks in the SIC this season for Meridian, tossing five touchdowns and throwing for 338 yards on the night.

-Capital, Columbia and Rocky Mountain all also came away victorious in their openers, highlighted by Rocky shutting out Spanish Springs (NV) 43-0 in the Rocky Mountain Rumble.

-Not to be overshadowed by their western Idaho counterparts, members of the High Country Conference in eastern Idaho had some impressive performances to begin 2017. Hillcrest defeated defending 4A champion Skyline, Madison knocked off Lake City 34-10, an upstart Bonneville team held on 28-27 against an improving Idaho Falls squad, Rigby lit up the scoreboard at Holt Arena in a 56-32 win over Douglas (NV) and preseason conference favorite Highland showed why in a 36-10 thumping of Galena (NV) in the Rocky Mountain Rumble. 

-This might be the most balanced Hillcrest offense we have seen in some time. With Dalton Clark at the patrols on Friday the Knights offense was firing on all cylinders on its way to 41 points. Offense is a staple of Jeff Marshall football, with Hillcrest hoping this is the season it all comes together for the program. Clark threw for 252 yards and ran for 36, reaching the end zone a total of five times. 

-Up north, Post Falls came out of the gates hot against Sandpoint, handing it to the Bulldogs early and often in a 56-12 win. The Trojans, led by quarterback Nate Buer, put up a 30-point third quarter. Post Falls didn't have to throw it much, with Buer finishing 8-12 for 153 yards and three touchdowns.

-Skyline lost a lot of talent from the state championship team last year, especially on the offensive end of the ball, with quarterback Bridger Taylor and receivers David Ames III and Carson Lott all graduated. The Grizzlies offense still showed glimpses in the 41-28 loss to Hillcrest, mostly when the ball was handed to Kyler Morgan behind a big and experienced offensive front. Morgan ran 32 times for 143 yards, reaching the end zone twice on the ground and once through the air.

-Is this going to be a turnaround season for Century? Regarded throughout Idaho as one of the top coaches in the state following his work at Shelley, Travis Hobson is trying to bring the Diamondbacks some similar success. His Century team blew out Burley 42-12 in the opener on Thursday at Holt Arena, a good sign for the offense after putting up just seven points in that same win against the Bobcats a year ago, which was also the lone victory for the Diamondbacks in 2016. We'll know a lot more about this team after a road battle at Minico this week.

-Similar to its 5A counterpart, the 4A SIC is stacked. Wyatt Storer and DeMonte Horton at Skyview are a lethal one-two combination. Storer threw for 333 yards on 21 completions, 11 of which went to Horton, who had 187 yards receiving in a 47-21 defeat of Lakeland. Good luck to opposing defenses trying to slow down either of those Hawks moving forward.

-Vallivue was equally impressive in a 40-7 win over Twin Falls. The Falcons, Emmett and Bishop Kelly all took away week one wins as well. Until one team separates itself from the field, it looks to be a four-team race for the top in conference action.

-Ridgevue is on the right track. The Warhawks played stingy defense in a 14-10 opening victory at Boise. Tom DeWitz has got this program to a point of being competitive in a hurry. It will be fun to see how far along that progression is in 2017 for Ridgevue in what is a tough conference.

-The Great Basin Conference had a tough opening week. Jerome was the only team in the conference to start 1-0, knocking off Mountain Home 41-6. After arguably the best season in school history a year ago, Wood River lost a standout senior class and is in full rebuilding mode, with Pocatello making a statement against them in a 49-7 win. 

-Moscow was the only Inland Empire victor, 21-14 over 2A Grangeville. Lakeland and Sandpoint each had tough first week opponents in Skyview and Post Falls.

-Weiser at Buhl was a thriller, with the Indians escaping a great road effort from the Wolverines in double overtime after a failed two-point conversion try following a Weiser touchdown. Not a lot of points were put up in the 21-20 contest, including a scoreless first half, but both teams can take away plenty of positives from the opener between a couple of teams on the rise in 3A. Quarterback and linebacker Austin Azevedo was a standout on each side of the ball for the Indians, who will look to secure a playoff spot this season.

-Fruitland is back. In a 35-20 win over Middleton, the Grizzlies made it clear that they should again be the favorite in the 3A SRV, one year after a state championship. 

-Homedale will be the primary challenger for Fruitland in the SRV, with the Trojans getting 2017 started right with a 33-12 road win at physical New Plymouth. Drew Deal and Carson Brown is going to be a difficult duo to slow down for teams throughout the state. Brown caught touchdown passes of 68 and 80 yards on Friday, as Deal showed he has good accuracy in the long game.

-The Mountain Rivers Conference had a gauntlet of a week one schedule, with South Fremont taking on perennial power Gooding at home, Sugar-Salem hosting 2A juggernaut Declo and Shelley battling Green Canyon (UT) in the Rocky Mountain Rumble. It was a 1-3 week for the conference, with Teton the only team coming away with a win, 44-27 over Jackson (WY). 

-The Intermountain League also had a 1-3 week, as a 36-12 Priest River victory over Thompson Falls (MT) was the only win for the conference.

-The favorites look like they should be favorites again. Aberdeen, Declo and St. Maries have all won a lot of football games in recent history. If week one is any indication that should happen again this year. Aberdeen sunk the tree holding the American Falls Beavers on it in a 52-6 rivalry game win. Declo had one of the more impressive week one victories on the road at 3A Sugar-Salem, burying the Diggers 28-21. St. Maries had the task of a road game to get things started at Kellogg and first year head coach Dan Lucier. Any time you have to go against a team in the first game of a new era for a coach it is a challenge, and the Lumberjacks responded well in a 36-14 defeat of the Wildcats.

-Multiple other teams state-wide stood out and could be contenders this season, including North Fremont, Bear Lake and McCall-Donnelly. Although Grangeville lost to Moscow to begin the campaign, the Bulldogs won't hang their heads due to a 21-14 loss to a 4A school. The 2A Central Idaho Conference with Grangeville, St. Maries and Orofino will be a brawl on a weekly basis, with Grangeville boasting one of the top players in the state in Noah Kaschmitter, who bulked up over the offseason and is more powerful than ever.

-The Nuclear Conference is wide-open. Between North Fremont, West Jefferson and Firth it should be a weekly battle for supremacy in the Nuke. Firth could not get any offense going in a 6-0 loss to West Side, while North Fremont and West Jefferson had no issues in that regard themselves, each putting up more than 40 points in opening victories.

-Preseason number one Oakley was on a mission to show that ranking was warranted on Friday, picking apart a quality Grace football team 62-22. The Hornets will again be a run-heavy offense, although the team has more of an ability than ever to get things moving via the air behind the strong arm of Tate Cranney, who went 9-10 with four touchdowns. With 436 yards of total offense, the Hornets don't look to be missing a beat from a season ago when the program was the state runner-up.

-Valley is expected to be one of the primary challengers for Oakley in conference play this season, and the Vikings had a huge win of their own, 50-20 over Challis. As expected, quarterback Jason Hardy was outstanding all night long. He was efficient through the air, going 26-35 for 435 yards and four touchdowns. Combined with receiving core threats Zane Mussmann and Victor Lopez, the Valley offense will be almost impossible to slow down this year. Add in a stingy defense and it is clear why the Vikings are expected to make a playoff appearance this season.

-Things might be a little more interesting than originally thought in the 1AD1 Western Idaho Conference. Preseason favorite Notus was picked apart by Garden Valley in a 64-14 loss at home, while Wilder blanked Cascade 59-0. Rimrock picked up a win, while Horseshoe Bend and Idaho City each lost to open the season.

-Genesee, Wallace and Lapwai each had strong starts to the year. The Bulldogs in particular look to be a force to be reckoned with, dominating a Kendrick team that went to the 1AD2 state championship last season 60-14. 

-The opening week schedule was a tough road to hoe for teams in the 1AD2 ranks. Nine teams came away with wins (Kootenai, Carey, Sho-Ban, Rockland, Salmon River, Butte County, Watersprings, Garden Valley and Clark Fork). Of those teams, Carey, Salmon River, Rockland and Butte County all appear to be right in the mix for a trophy this year.

-Canyon Harper is on his way to State Player of the Year recognition this season. The junior ran for 357 yards and six touchdowns to lead defending state champion Salmon River over Horseshoe Bend, 50-22.

-Garden Valley opened plenty of eyes with a 64-14 thumping of Notus. This is a Notus team that returned plenty of talent from a season ago, but the Wolverines did themselves as well and could be a primary challenger for Salmon River in the Long Pin this year. The two teams meet on October 6 in Riggins.

-Carey's Houston Hennefer sliced through a quality North Gem defense, completing 30-37 passes for 501 yards and six touchdowns. The 501 yards is a Carey High School record for a single game. The Panthers should be favorites in conference this year.

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