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Weekly Rewind (Football Semifinals Edition)
Every game featured drama, intrigue and high stakes performances
Published: 11/13/2021 8:46:56 AM
Brandon Baney
Managing Editor/Broadcaster



Rigby 55, Meridian 49 (3OT)

Like a heavyweight boxing match, these two offensive juggernauts traded blows all night.

Rigby (10-1) struck first on a 5-yard run by Zheik Falevai.  Meridian (7-4) answered with a 13-yard run by Rylie Byington, and the score was tied 7-7 after one quarter of play.

In the second, Rigby quarterback Tiger Adolpho scored on a 1-yard plunge to put the Trojans on top 14-7.  Meridian answered with a 1-yard score of their own, from running back Kross Antonnachi.  Tied at 14, Rigby scored one last time before the half, as Adolpho threw a 9-yard score to Sam Kunz.  Falevai ran in the two-point conversion, and Rigby led 22-14 at halftime.

The lead was short lived, as Meridian scored on a 62-yard pass from Malakai Martinez to Quentin Riley.  Martinez then found Marco Del Rio for the two-point conversion, and the game was tied in the third quarter at 22-all.  

On the next drive, Adolpho threw a 19-yard score to tight end Con Dansie, and Rigby led again 29-22.  Once again, Meridian responded.  Martinez scored on a 21-yard run, and the teams headed to the fourth quarter tied at 29-29.

Rigby struck first in the fourth quarter, as Falevai scored on a 2-yard run.  The extra point was blocked though, and Rigby's lead was only 35-29.  When Antonnachi scored on a 5-yard run with just 1:50 to play, the Warriors only needed to convert the extra point to take the lead.  But Rigby's line came through with the block, and the teams headed to overtime tied at 35-35.

In the first OT, Byington scored for Meridian on a 3-yard run, while Adolpho answered for Rigby with a 5-yard score.  Neither team converted their PAT, though, so they headed to a second overtime tied at 41-41.

In the second OT, Rigby got the ball first.  Adolpho scored on a 1-yard run, and then threaded the needle to Sam Kunz for the two-point conversion.  Rigby led 49-41.  But again, Meridian responded.  Martinez threw a 9-yard score to Antonnacchi, and then found Riley on the two-point conversion.  Tied at 49-49, the teams headed to a third overtime period.

In the third overtime, Rigby's defense finally forced a stop, as Martinez's fourth down pass was batted away.  Rigby then got the ball, and finished the game off with a 2-yard touchdown dive into the end zone by Adolpho on a fourth-and-2 play to send the Trojans to their third consecutive 5A state championship game.

Highland 29, Eagle 27

Highland (10-2) raced to a 20-7 lead in the first quarter, as Jack Whitmer threw three touchdown passes early (two to Raimon Barela, one to Fischer Anderson).  Eagle's first score came on a 67-yard pass from Jack Benson to Ian Duarte.

Then, just before halftime, Roy Hull scored on a 2-yard run, and Highland's lead was only 20-14 at halftime.

Eagle (9-3) continued its strong play into the third quarter, as Benson and Duarte hooked up again, this time from 90 yards out, as Eagle took their first lead at 21-20.

Highland remained calm, and turned to its best offensive weapon: senior kicker Ian Hershey.  Hershey drilled a 21-yard chip shot to put Highland back in front 23-21.  He then added a 52-yarder with 6:32 left to extend the lead to 26-21.

Once again, Eagle answered.  Benson took off on a 42-yard touchdown run, and Eagle jumped back in front 27-26 with just 3:18 to play.

Highland then mounted one final drive.  The Rams ran the clock all the way down, and Hershey trotted out for a 40-yard field goal.  His kick went through as time expired, giving Highland the walk-off win as they advanced to an all-East Idaho championship against Rigby.


Sandpoint 29, Blackfoot 28 (OT)

A pair of Lasse Kuhn field goals gave Sandpoint (8-2) a 6-0 lead at halftime.  But Blackfoot responded on their first drive of the third quarter, as Austin Ramirez scored on a 12-yard to put Blackfoot (6-6) ahead 7-6. 

The score remained that way until Sandpoint quarterback Parker Pettit scored on a 1-yard sneak and threw a two-point conversion pass to Connor Hindberg with 9:40 to play in the fourth. 

That gave Sandpoint a 14-7 lead, but Blackfoot again answered on their ensuing drive, as Carson Trejo scored on a 25-yard reverse to tie the game at 14-14. 

Following a Sandpoint three-and-out, the Broncos struck again, as Ramirez scored on a 10-yard run to put Blackfoot in front 21-14 with 2:24 remaining. 

With their season on the line, the top-seeded Bulldogs mounted a drive and tied the game on a 3-yard pass from Pettit to Nathan Robere.  That sent the game to overtime tied at 21-21.

Blackfoot had the ball first in overtime, and Ramirez found the end zone on a 4-yard run.

Trailing 28-21, it was Sandpoint's turn on offense.  Pettit found Arie VanDenBerg for a 14-yard score to bring Sandpoint within one point.

That's when head coach Ryan Knowles decided to go for the two-point conversion and the win.  Pettit kept the ball on an option play and dove into the end zone to give Sandpoint the 29-28 win.

Sandpoint advanced to their first state championship game since 2015.  They will attempt to win their first title since 1997 next week at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow.

Skyline 36, Pocatello 31

The Thunder (9-3) got off to a blazing start, as Julian Caldwell intercepted the first pass of the game, just five seconds in.  That led to a 36-yard field goal from Kade Jensen, and Pocatello led 3-0.  They extended the lead when Ryken Echo Hawk ran in a 10-yard score.  A two-point conversion left Pocatello with an 11-0 lead after one quarter of play.

But the cold Skyline offense began to warm up, as the Grizzlies (8-4) outscored Pocatello 22-7 in the second quarter.  Lachlan Haacke threw a 5-yard touchdown to Caden Taggart to cut the gap to 11-7.  Pocatello answered with an 86-yard bomb from Ryan Payne to Julian Bowie and in the blink of an eye, Pocatello was back in front by multiple scores, 18-7.

But instead of folding, the Grizzlies got angry.  Taggart (1-yard) and Haacke (2-yards) scored rushing touchdowns, and despite all of the first half hiccups, Skyline led at the half 22-18.

In the third, Skyline went up by two scores, as Haacke found Kenyon Sadiq for a 30-yard touchdown.  Trailing 29-18, Pocatello fought to stay in the game, as Echo Hawk scored on a 13-yard run.  A two-point conversion would have cut the deficit to just 3 points, but it failed, leaving the Thunder at a 29-24 deficit heading into the fourth quarter.

Skyline kept the pressure on to start the fourth quarter, as Haacke found Sadiq again, this time from 17 yards out.  Skyline led 36-25.  But Pocatello wasn't finished, as Payne threw another long bomb to Krue Hales for an 82-yard touchdown.  Pocatello was within striking distance at 36-31. 

A key stop on defense gave the Thunder the ball back with about four minutes to play.  But Pocatello's hopes were quickly extinguished, as Isaac "Joker" Farnsworth came away with an interception.  From there, the Grizzlies ran out the clock and returned to the 4A state title game for the second year in a row.


Sugar-Salem 16, Homedale 7

The Trojans (10-1) marched 80 yards down field on the opening drive of the game, as Jaxon Dines threw a 20-yard touchdown to Mason Strong to put Homedale in front 7-0.  They would not score again, as Sugar-Salem (8-2) put the clamps down on defense.

The Diggers, meanwhile, were able to find some offensive success in the first half.  Carson Harris ran in a 10-yard touchdown, and Daniel Neal also scored on a two-yard plunge to give Sugar-Salem a 13-7 lead at halftime.  

Sugar-Salem finally got some breathing room in the second half, as Kyle Brunson drilled a 20-yard field goal to put the Diggers up by two scores at 16-7.  It turned out that the two-score advantage wasn't needed, as Sugar-Salem's defense turned away Homedale time and again.

Weiser 49, Gooding 27

Weiser (11-1) struck first, on an 8-yard pass from Brett Spencer to Evan Haggerty.  That gave the Wolverines a 7-0 lead with 3:29 to play in the first quarter.  Gooding (10-1) answered with a 5-yard run from quarterback Kurtis Adkinson.  The two-point conversion failed, and Weiser led 7-6 at the end of one quarter.

In the second quarter, Brett Spencer found his brother Brock Spencer for a 47-yard strike, then scored on a 10-yard run to push the Weiser lead to 21-6 at halftime.

Gooding struck back on their opening drive of the third quarter, as Adkinson punched it in from 2 yards out.  Once again, their two-point conversion attempt was unsuccessful, which left the score at 21-12 in favor of Weiser with 10:06 to play in the third.

Spencer responded with a 22-yard touchdown to Michael Youngberg, and a 33-yard dart to Haggerty, to give Weiser a 35-12 lead.  Gooding remained close, though, as Adkinson scored again on a 1-yard plunge.  The two-point conversion was successful this time, and Gooding cut the deficit to 35-20 heading into the fourth quarter.

Spencer struck again in the fourth, finding Brock Spencer from 14 yards out, and extending the Weiser lead to 42-20.  Tayt Gillette answered for the Senators with a 17-yard touchdown run, leaving the deficit at 42-27.  Weiser then put the game away with a 1-yard sneak by Spencer to send the Wolverines to the 3A state championship game.


West Side 47, Bear Lake 8

West Side (10-0) extended its Idaho-best winning streak to 31 in a row, and qualified for their third consecutive 2A state championship with a dominant win over district rival Bear Lake (7-4).  

Cage Brokens scored on a 55-yard run, while Cristian Plancarte found the end zone from 2 yards out, giving the Pirates a 14-0 lead at the end of one quarter.

In the second quarter, Bryler Shurtliff recovered a fumble for West Side, and on the next play, Blaize Brown threw an 18-yard strike to Shurtliff to extend the lead to 20-0.  Bear Lake's score came just before halftime, on a 10-yard run from quarterback Tayson Neal.  His score cut the deficit to 20-8 at halftime.

West Side's defense wouldn't allow a single point after halftime, though.  Parker Moser scored on a 5-yard run and Brokens added to the lead with a 2-yard run.  West Side led 34-8 after three quarters of play.  

The Pirates bled the clock in the fourth quarter, as Blaize Brown scored on a 9-yard QB keeper, and Owen Nielsen tallied the final score on a 1-yard plunge. 

Firth 12, North Fremont 8

For the second year in a row, the Cougars (9-2) avenged a regular season loss to North Fremont (9-1) with a win in the semifinal round. 

Firth struck first, as Gage Vazquez threw a 9-yard touchdown to Burton Park.  That gave the Cougars a 6-0 lead that stood after both the first and second quarters. 

The Cougars extended the lead in the third quarter, as Vazquez scored on a fourth-and-goal play from the 1-yard line.  That gave the Cougars an important two-score lead at 12-0.

The Huskies scored in the fourth quarter on a fourth-and-goal play from 17 yards away, as Jordan Lenz threw a jump ball to AJ Hill.  North Fremont also converted the two-point try to bring the Huskies to within 12-8.

North Fremont's defense got the ball back two separate times, with 4:56 and 1:25 remaining, but both times the Huskies offense couldn't capitalize.


Raft River 51, Lapwai 6

The Wildcats (8-2) struck first on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Titus Yearout to Kross Taylor.  Then Raft River (9-0) scored the next 51 points in a runaway semifinal win.

Tegan Whitaker started the scoring binge, as he scored on a 65-yard run.  Thaine Loughmiller ran in the two-point conversion and Raft River led at the end of the first quarter 8-6.

A 33-yard run from Alex Murillo, a 49-yard pass from Tate Whitaker to Gabe Briggs, and a 16-yard pass from Tate Whitaker to Loughmiller extended the lead to 30-6 at halftime.

In the second half, Kole Spencer, Benny Smith and Kai Ward all scored touchdown runs to round out the scoring for Raft River.

Oakley 52, Butte County 22

The special teams units for both sides made several outstanding plays to start the game, but Oakley's explosive offense eventually settled in and proved to be too much for Butte County.

With 5:09 to play in the opening quarter, Oakley lined up to punt from their own end zone.  Boone Gammet broke through the line, blocked the punt, and scooped it up from two yards away to give the Pirates an 8-0 lead.

But on the very next kickoff, the Hornets successfully executed a handoff between the two returners, and Bridger Duncan took the kick back 80 yards for a game-tying score.

Then, it was Oakley's turn to come away with a blocked punt.  It gave the Hornets the ball deep in Butte County territory, and quarterback Payton Beck finished the drive with a 3-yard run to give Oakley a 16-8 lead after the first quarter.

Butte County answered the call, scoring on their first drive of the second quarter on a 23-yard pass from Tyler Wanstrom to Braxton Gammet.  The two-point conversion failed, and left the score at 16-14 Oakley with 11:11 to play before halftime.

Then came the Oakley onslaught.  Ethan Toribau scored twice on the ground, from 15 and 10 yards out, and also hauled in a 57-yard touchdown pass from Beck.  Oakley led 36-14 at halftime.

The two sides traded scores in the third quarter.  Beck scored on a 6-yard keeper for Oakley, while Butte County answered with a 7-yard connection from Wanstrom to Ethan Smith.  The Hornets maintained the lead at the end of the third quarter, 44-22.  Finally, in the fourth, Beck threw a 50-yard score to Dace Jones to complete the scoring.

Oakley now faces Raft River in the 1AD1 championship game.  The Hornets lost to the Trojans 22-16 in the regular season finale, and will have payback on their minds.


Kendrick 46, Castleford 30

The first quarter featured lots of points, as Castleford (9-2) struck first on a 5-yard run from Gabe Mahannah.  Quarterback Eric Taylor ran in the two-point conversion, and the Wolves led 8-0.

Kendrick (8-2) answered with a quarterback run of their own.  Ty Koepp found the end zone from 4 yards away, but the conversion failed, leaving the Tigers down 8-6.  But Kendrick took their first lead with a 15-yard connection from Koepp to Hunter Taylor.  Again, the conversion failed, but the Tigers led 14-8.

Just before the end of the first quarter, Castleford found the end zone again, this time on a 47-yard run from Taylor.  Gus Wiggins ran in the conversion and the Wolves led 16-12 at the end of one.

The two teams traded scores in the second quarter.  Kendrick struck first, as Koepp hooked up with Lane Clemenhagen on a 31-yard score.  The two-point pass was good, and Kendrick retook the lead at 20-16.

But Castleford responded again, as Taylor scored from a yard out.  The two-point run was unsuccessful, but Castleford held the lead at halftime 22-20. 

Kendrick then scored three unanswered touchdowns in the second half.  Koepp's 2-yard run and conversion pass to Jagger Hewett put the Tigers in front 28-22 after three quarters of play.  They then started the fourth quarter with a 3-yard run from Wyatt Fitzmorris, and a 9-yard pass from Koepp to Hewett, as the Kendrick lead ballooned to 40-22.

Castleford hung tough, as Taylor found Ethan Roland for a 30-yard touchdown, but Fitzmorris' 15-yard touchdown run sealed the win for Kendrick.

The Tigers will host Carey in the 1AD2 championship game on Saturday at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow.  Carey defeated Kendrick last year in the semifinal round.

Carey 54, Dietrich 20

In a rematch of last year's championship game, Carey's (11-0) high-powered offense led the way in a semifinal win over district rival Dietrich (7-4).

Carsn Perkes threw a 35-yard touchdown to Chase Bennion to open the scoring for Carey.  Trailing 8-0, Dietrich responded with a 9-yard connection from Cody Power to Jett Shaw.  The two-point conversion failed, and Carey's lead was 8-6 at the end of one quarter.

Carey scored three consecutive touchdowns in the second quarter.  Perkes had a 3-yard run, Colton Larna had a 27-yard run, and Perkes fired a 23-yard score to Riley Morey to give the Panthers a 32-6 lead.

Just before halftime, Dietrich put together a late drive, and Power threw a 16-yard touchdown to Case Robertson as time expired to make the score 32-14 at the half.

In the third quarter, Bennion scored on a 1-yard plunge, Conner Simpson scored on a 33-yard run, and Morey returned an interception 20 yards for a touchdown to give Carey a 54-14 lead.  Dietrich scored their final touchdown in the third quarter, as well, as Power found T-Bo Hendrix for an 80-yard strike, and the final margin of 54-20.

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