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Football Playoff Preview (Quarterfinals)
Which teams will advance to the Final Four?
Published: 11/3/2021 4:03:38 PM


Home teams did not fare well in first round competition which led to plenty of playoff upsets.  Those upset hopefuls now prepare to face much more challenging competition that will stand in their way of a potential Cinderella run through the playoffs.

There are also some exciting showdowns between top teams coming in the quarterfinals, which should make for another exciting week during the most exciting time of the year in high school football, playoff season.


West #4 Meridian (7-3) at West #1 Mountain View (9-0)
7:00 PM Friday
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When these teams met to open the season back in August, Meridian was in a great position to win, but Mountain View ultimately came away with the 14-13 victory.  That narrow loss should give the Warriors plenty of motivation heading into a showdown with their crosstown rival and SIC champion.  Coming off of a convincing 47-28 win over Madison, the team that knocked off state title contender Rigby, the Warriors are are looking to pull off a shocking upset.  However, the Mavericks have already shown that they are scary in a rematch situation as they narrowly defeated Rocky Mountain in the regular season 26-20, followed by an easier 26-6 win in the SIC Championship Game.

West #5 Capital (7-3) at East #1 Rigby (8-1)
7:00 PM Friday
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Even after closing out the regular season with a loss to Madison, Rigby still earned a first round bye and now hosts a Capital team that is coming off of a road win that came easier than anyone imagined over Lewiston 44-13.  Capital coach Todd Simis will retire after this season so every game he coaches could be his last at the helm of the Eagles.  Capital went up north and dominated an opponent with a better record last week, and will hit the road for a long trip yet again, this time for a much stiffer challenge.  The Trojans have had two weeks to work on the issues that cost them against Madison and they can show those improvements by beating Capital as convincingly as they have done to most of their other competition this season.

West #3 Eagle (8-2) at North #1 Coeur d'Alene (6-2)
7:00 PM Friday (Pacific Time)

Eagle is coming off of a 31-15 win over Borah in a game that was much closer than the final score indicated.  The Mustangs' statement win this year came against Meridian in a narrow 24-23 victory, while their two losses came to Rocky Mountain and Mountain View, the two participants in the SIC Championship Game.  They now make the long trip north to face a Coeur d'Alene team that has looked great some weeks, and average other weeks.  The Vikings went 2-1 in one possession games this season, including a head scratching loss to Post Falls.  That loss forced a three-way tie for the Inland Empire League title between the Trojans, Vikings and Lewiston.  Coeur d'Alene was able to win a Kansas City Tiebreaker and win the top seed from the north, good enough for home field advantage in the quarterfinals and a first round bye.  The Mustangs will provide a stiff challenge for the Vikings, but will still have to play their best game if they hope to pull off the road upset.

East #2 Highland (8-2) at West #2 Rocky Mountain (7-2)
7:00 PM Friday

Believe it or not, but these teams already played each other once this season.  It's easy to forget, as they met in a Week 0 matchup way back on August 20th in Holt Arena.  Rocky Mountain came away with a narrow 12-7 win that raised eyebrows, both for how competitive Highland was, and how vulnerable Rocky Mountain looked.  Those vulnerabilities were exposed as the Grizzlies failed to win the SIC for the first time since 2016.  Highland now travels west for the rematch of that early season defensive grudge match.  They are hoping to return the favor on the road and put the final dagger into what has been a down season by the standards of the proud Rocky Mountain program.  The Rams showed some weaknesses against Skyview in their playoff opener last week, as it took two turnovers and a 17 point burst in just four minutes of action to put the game out of reach for the Hawks in the 45-28 victory.  They'll need to play a much more complete game against one of the state's most storied programs.


#8 Shelley (7-3) at #1 Sandpoint (6-2)
7:00 PM Friday (Pacific Time)
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Sandpoint cruised to a 46-0 win over Mountain Home to open the playoffs.  They'll try to deliver a similar result when Shelley visits on Friday night.  The Russets rebounded from a 1-3 finish to the regular season with a resounding 36-13 win over Preston last week.  That game served as a rematch of a regular season meeting between the two teams (a narrow 15-6 win for Shelley.)  The Bulldogs are perfect against 4A competition this season, but have losses to 5A Coeur d'Alene and 3A Homedale that came early in the season.  Since that 38-21 defeat at Homedale, Sandpoint has been in a single possession game just once, a 42-41 victory over 5A Lewiston.  With home field advantage secured throughout the playoffs, there is plenty of excitement that the Bulldogs can bring home their first state title since 1997.

#13 Nampa (6-4) at #5 Blackfoot (5-5)
Friday 7:00 PM
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The Nampa Bulldogs found success in the tough road environment that is Emmett, as they came away with a victory over the Huskies 37-29.  The Bulldogs delivered one of the more shocking first round upsets with that victory and must now head east to face Blackfoot.  While the Broncos rolled in their first round game against Middleton 52-24, there have been times this year where Blackfoot has failed to play to their full potential, which has cost them dearly at times.  Their 5-5 record is just four points shy of being a 9-1 mark, as losses to Thunder Ridge, Idaho Falls, Preston and Shelley all came by a single point.  They even remained more competitive than most teams against 5A Rigby, losing 24-13.  This team will be a dangerous out in the playoffs and a serious contender for the title, but they must first take care of business against Nampa.  They would then have to likely get past a semifinal road trip to Sandpoint to advance to the championship game.

#7 Bishop Kelly (8-2) at #2 Pocatello (8-2)
5:30 PM Friday (in Holt Arena)
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Many believed that Bishop Kelly deserved a higher playoff seeding than their #7 mark, and the Knights showed that with a convincing 49-21 win over Twin Falls last week.  Bishop Kelly's two losses this year came against 5A Eagle (35-33) and eventual 4A SIC champion Emmett (21-0).  While the Huskies' first round exit form the playoffs hurts the Knights' resume, they can show how far they've come since that loss by upsetting Pocatello on the road.  Pocatello has also looked great despite two losses, but in their case, both came against 5A opponents (Highland and Idaho Falls.)  Don't be fooled by the seeding, these two teams should provide a more-than-entertaining quarterfinal matchup that should come down to the wire.

#14 Vallivue (6-4) at #6 Skyline (6-4)
7:00 PM Saturday (in Holt Arena)
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While it was a surprise to the one top-four seed go down in the first round, seeing two top-four teams fall was completely unexpected.  Vallivue delivered the more shocking upset in 4A, and possibly the entire state, when they handed Minico their first loss of the season 28-12.  That final score is a testament to how much the Falcons controlled the game against the third-seeded Spartans.  It won't get any easier for the Falcons, however, as they hit the road once again to face the defending 4A state champions.  If they can continue their hot streak, either another trip to eastern Idaho (Pocatello) or a visit to another familiar conference foe (Bishop Kelly) awaits.  Skyline was set for a road game in the quarterfinals before Vallivue's upset guaranteed the defending champs at least one more "home" game inside Holt Arena, roughly 45 minutes from Skyline's campus in Idaho Falls.  There is still some work to be done by the Grizzlies to win back-to-back titles and it starts by holding off a Vallivue team that has continued to build momentum since their 8-7 win over Emmett in the regular season finale.


#8 South Fremont (5-4) at #1 Homedale (9-0)
1:00 PM Saturday

A rematch of a semifinal game from last year's playoffs will take place Saturday when Homedale welcomes South Fremont.  The 48-28 Trojan win was a sign of things to come.  South Fremont has been a slight disappointment this season with a four-game losing streak at one point this year.  Homedale came up just short in overtime against Sugar-Salem in last year's 3A championship game, but they have crushed nearly all competition this season.  The only game that's been decided by single digits was the 14-6 win over Weiser.  The Trojans know that they cannot overlook any opponent and while they have never been in serious trouble this season, they are well aware that they must play their best game every week, especially as they look for their first state title since 1997 and first 3A state title after three consecutive runner-up finishes to Sugar-Salem.

#5 Marsh Valley (4-4) at #4 Sugar-Salem (6-2)
7:00 PM Thursday (in Holt Arena)
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After an 0-2 start, there was plenty of speculation that Sugar-Salem just didn't have the elements to win a fourth consecutive state title.  However, they have responded with six consecutive wins that has quieted those critics and culminated with yet another conference title.  They'll meet Marsh Valley for their first playoff matchup and despite being the higher seed (and theoretically having home field advantage), they'll travel further to reach Holt Arena than the Eagles will.  Arimo is only a 30 minute drive away, while Sugar City sits about an hour and 15 minutes from Pocatello.  While the Eagles have twice as many losses as the Diggers, and are considered the underdog in this matchup, they will be seeking revenge from a 28-14 defeat to Sugar-Salem at home earlier this year.

#7 Timberlake (6-2) at #2 Gooding (8-0)
6:00 PM Friday (Mountain Time)
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Many observers think Gooding is one of the only teams that has a realistic shot of contending with Homedale for the state title .  If the Senators are to prove that, they will need a convincing win in their first playoff game.  The only game that was remotely close for Gooding this year was a 14-9 win over Jerome in the season opener.  Since then, they have dominated all competition.  The Tigers enter with two losses.  One came to a 4A team (Lakeland) and the other came to 3A semifinalist South Fremont on the road.  This is the same round that Timberlake exited last season after dropping a 55-19 decision at Homedale.  While a win is the goal, even a competitive loss can give Timberlake some confidence heading into the offseason.

#6 Snake River (5-4) at #3 Weiser (9-1)
7:00 PM Friday
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Snake River will play its second consecutive game against a Snake River Valley Conference opponent when it heads west to face Weiser.  The Wolverines and Panthers both dispatched their first round opponents with ease, as Snake River defeated McCall-Donnelly 32-0 and Weiser moved past Buhl 62-20.  Weiser is seeking their first semifinal berth since 2011 while Snake River last advanced to the semis in 2019.  Weiser has dominated nearly all competition this season, but will face a stiff test from Snake River.  Weiser is led by coach Tom Harrison, who has won ten state championships in his career, including eight at Snake River.  He will face his son on Saturday, as Jeb Harrison is the coach at Snake River.


#8 Grangeville (3-5) at #1 West Side (8-0)
1:00 PM Saturday (Mountain Time)
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The clear expectation is that West Side will roll in their quarterfinal playoff matchup as the Pirates believe they are more than capable of achieving the rare three-peat.  Grangeville actually did not win their conference until last week (as the playoffs were in full swing) because COVID issues plagued the St. Maries program, which did not allow them to play Grangeville until last week.  The Bulldogs narrowly edged the Lumberjacks 21-14 to represent the Central Idaho League in the playoffs.  It doesn't get any harder than having to play the two-time defending state champions and #1 seed west Side right off the bat.  Such is life for the #8 seed in an 8-team bracket.

#5 Nampa Christian (8-1) at #4 Bear Lake (6-3)
1:00 PM Saturday

While Bear Lake was soundly beaten by powerhouses West Side and Firth earlier this year, there is plenty for the Bears to be proud of this season.  They'll welcome their second straight Western Idaho Conference opponent as league champion Nampa Christian visits Montpelier.  The Trojans have the advantage of coming off of a first round bye and have a great opportunity to make a statement despite being the lower seed.  Like Bear Lake, Nampa Christian also comes in with a high list of accomplishments.  The only loss on their 8-1 record came at 3A Fruitland (47-18) and the Trojans have statement wins over Declo and Melba as well.  While the Trojans might feel they deserve to be the home team, they are ready to prove that they belong in the conversation of elite teams at the 2A level.  If they can pull out the win here, they will likely face another trip to eastern Idaho next week as West Side will likely await the winner of this contest.

#7 Melba (7-3) at #2 North Fremont (8-0)
1:00 PM Saturday
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Defense was the name of the game in Melba's first round win last week over West Jefferson 18-12.  The Mustangs will face yet another Nuclear Conference opponent when they travel to North Fremont on Saturday for the quarterfinals.  North Fremont enjoyed a first round bye after defeating Firth 22-21 in one of the most exciting games of the year to end the regular season.  As long as they take care of business against Melba, they could set up a rematch of that classic against Firth, assuming the Cougars beat Declo in their quarterfinal game.  But first, North Fremont has to navigate through a rematch against Melba.  These two met in the regular season and North Fremont won 48-38.  Despite the loss, Melba showed that they can contend with just about anyone they go up against.  Now, the Mustangs will try to avenge that loss and pull of the road upset when they travel to Ashton on Saturday afternoon.

#6 Declo (6-3) at #3 Firth (7-2)
8:15 PM Friday (in Holt Arena)
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Two traditional powers are meeting rather early in the playoffs.  Firth's loss to North Fremont relegated them to a first round game where in which they made short work of Aberdeen in a 43-8 win.  That earned them the #3 seed when the quarterfinalists were re-seeded.  Besides North Fremont, Firth's other loss came to West Side 26-20 in overtime.  For Declo, three losses on the record is a disappointment.  While two of the Hornets' three losses came to 3A Filer and Gooding, the home loss to Nampa Christian was the real stunner.  Since 2015, Declo has only missed the state semifinals once (in 2019).  They will need to play their best game of the season if they are to knock off Firth and earn their sixth semifinal trip in seven seasons.


#8 Potlatch (6-3) at #1 Raft River (7-0)
1:00 PM Saturday (in Holt Arena) (Mountain Time)
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Raft River was expected to be the only team out of the Snake River Conference that could really challenge defending champion Oakley and their regular season finale showed why many thought that as the Trojans earned a 22-16 win.  That gave them the #1 overall seed and a first round bye.  Potlatch comes in as the #8 seed after a dominant 46-8 win over Grace in the first round last week.  The Loggers will look to deliver a shocker by upsetting Raft River when the teams meet on Saturday afternoon in Holt Arena.

#5 Lapwai (7-2) at #4 Prairie (8-0)
6:00 PM Friday

The Whitepine League rivals meet in a quarterfinal matchup on Friday night.  The conference champion Prairie Pirates soundly defeated the Lapwai Wildcats 58-26 in the regular season, and will look to do so again in their quarterfinal matchup.  While the winner will most likely have to hit the road for the semifinals, Prairie's blowouts of several opponents this season shows that they will be able to compete with just about anyone regardless of where the game is being played.  The closest any opponent has gotten to Prairie has been 32 points.  The team to accomplish that feat?  Lapwai, which should give the Wildcats confidence that they can pull off the upset.

#7 Genesee (7-2) at #2 Oakley (8-1)
6:00 PM Friday (Mountain Time)
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Despite a regular season finale loss that denied Oakley a conference title, they showed that they are more than capable of defending their state title by crushing Wallace 64-8 in a first round neutral site game that was actually played closer to Wallace than Oakley.  They will get to play their quarterfinal game at home, however, and they'll play yet another team from northern Idaho when Genesee visits.  The third place finishers in the Whitepine League are more than confident that they have a shot to pull off the upset, but the Hornets' loss to Raft River likely provided some additional fuel to go on a run in the playoffs and get back to the state championship game once again.

#6 Notus (7-1) at #3 Butte County (6-1)
4:00 PM Saturday (in Holt Arena)
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It's been a great season for the Butte County Pirates, but that's also true for the Notus Pirates.  These two conference champions will go at it Saturday evening in Holt Arena.  The blemish on both teams' records aren't terrible.  Butte County lost to the #1 seed Raft River, while Notus' loss came against the undefeated Horseshoe Bend Mustangs at the 1A Division II level.  While Notus may be the #6 seed, they are more than capable of delivering an upset and will look to derail what has been a great season for Butte County in a showdown of Pirates.


Horseshoe Bend (8-0) at Kendrick (6-2)
7:00 PM Friday (in Lewiston) (Pacific Time)
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Despite Kendrick entering this quarterfinal matchup with two losses, the pre-determined bracket has made the Tigers the de facto home team.  They sit just 35 minutes from where the neutral site game will be played, compared to Horseshoe Bend, which is four and a half hours away from Lewiston.  Give credit to Kendrick, though, as both of their losses came to 1A Division I foes.  While the 52-0 setback versus Oakley early on in the year may seem like a bad loss, the Hornets are the defending state champion and one of the best teams at that level.  The 24-22 setback in the regular season finale versus Genesee is what hurts more.  While the Mustangs have not tasted defeat this season, they know they will not be able to win a state championship unless they run the table, and they won't overlook Kendrick in the slightest.

Rockland (6-3) at Castleford (8-1)
7:00 PM Friday

Castleford has shown what they are capable of, as they gave Carey a competitive game they ultimately dropped by ten points.  Outside of that loss, no opponent has been within 16 points of the Wolves, a feat that was accomplished only by defending state champion Dietrich.  Three-loss Rockland enters with blowout losses to Butte County and North Gem, as well as a 17-point loss to Grace.  Rockland has soundly defeated the teams they needed to, including last week's first round opponent in Garden Valley, but a much tougher test awaits as they travel to Castleford, a team seen by many as the second best at the 1A Division II level.

Mullan-St. Regis (7-1) at Carey (9-0)
1:00 PM Saturday (Mountain Time)
Watch Live

Mullan-St. Regis enters their quarterfinal date with Carey sporting a perfect record against Idaho schools.  The lone loss was a 44-26 defeat at the hands of Thompson Falls, Montana.  The Tigers were able to defeat the rest of their opponents this year with ease, but Carey will be unlike any opponent Mullan-St. Regis has faced this year.  If they hope to continue their season, they will need to play their absolute best.  Carey has shown that they are far from perfect, earning narrow wins over Castleford and Dietrich.  However, the Panthers showed that they were able to clean up some of their mistakes from those close encounters by dominating Timberline in the first round last week 54-6.

Camas County (3-6) at Dietrich (6-3)
6:00 PM Friday

Camas County had what might have been the biggest upset of the first round in the entire state when they pulled off a 42-36 shocker over the Rocky Mountain Conference champion North Gem Cowboys.  Dietrich, Castleford and Carey have show clear separation from the rest of the Sawtooth Conference, but the Mushers will not let that stop them from continuing their own Cinderella story.  Dietrich has shown that they are firmly in the conversation for another state title, as they took Carey to the wire on the road, losing 24-22 in the regular season finale.  The Blue Devils beat the Mushers 38-14 in their regular season meeting, which was a closer result than Dietrich's matchups with a lot of other teams this year.

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