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Weekly Rewind (Football Championship Edition)
Six Idaho high school football teams stand above the rest
Published: 11/19/2021 9:56:56 AM
Brandon Baney
Managing Editor/Broadcaster



Rigby 27, Highland 12

Rigby (11-1) claimed its second state championship in three years with a complete victory over their rivals from Highland (10-3).

After a scoreless first quarter, Rigby struck within the first thirty seconds of the second quarter.  Tiger Adolpho threw a 10-yard pass to Coleman Lords, then Lords took it an additional 38 yards for the touchdown.  The 48-yard strike gave Rigby a 7-0 with 11:36 to play before halftime.

The Trojans extended the lead with 5:06 to play in the second, as Adolpho delivered a rocket to Taylor Freeman for a 23-yard touchdown.  Freeman, who missed the Trojans' semifinal win over Meridian with a wrist injury, was playing with a large cast on his forearm.

Trailing 14-0, Highland got on the board with a 42-yard field goal from Ian Hershey just before halftime to cut the deficit to 14-3.

Adolpho showed off his rushing prowess in the third quarter, as he scored on a 15-yard read option that left several defenders in their shoes.
Trailing 21-3 after three quarters of play, Highland finally found the end zone on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Jack Whitmer to Colton Sneddon.  It cut the gap to 21-10 with 11:54 to play.

But Rigby responded, as Adolpho threw a 32-yard touchdown to Brady Packer.  Forrest Uminski's kick missed, leaving the Trojan lead at 27-10.

Highland was given a brief gift from Rigby, as a punt snap sailed out of the back of the end zone for a Rams safety.  But, trailing 27-12, Highland was twice thwarted by Ryder Thompson, who came away with a pair of interceptions to put the game on ice.


Skyline 20, Sandpoint 6

The Grizzlies (9-4) won the 4A state championship for the second consecutive year, and the fourth time in the last six years, with a dominant defensive performance.

After a Sandpoint (8-3) fumble in the first quarter, the Grizzlies struck on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Lachlan Haacke to Kenyon Sadiq.  Skyline led 7-0 with 3:19 to play in the opening period.

In the second quarter, Sandpoint again fumbled.  Gerrit Cox lost the ball, and Skyline returned the fumble all the way to the Bulldogs' 6-yard line.  Caden Taggart scored on a 6-yard run, and the Skyline extended their lead to 14-0 with 11:00 to play before halftime.

Sandpoint finally found the end zone on their next drive, as Cox scored on a 32-yard run.  Lasse Kuhn's extra point try was missed, though, leaving the Skyline lead at 14-6 with 6:41 to play in the second quarter.  It was the last time Sandpoint would score.

Skyline responded to the Bulldog score.  On a fourth-and-16 play, Haacke found Sadiq again, this time from 27 yards out, to give the Grizzlies a 20-6 lead with 1:03 to play before the half.

Neither team scored in the second half, as both defenses settled in.  Fortunately for Skyline, they had build up a big enough lead to close out the 20-6 victory.


Weiser 34, Sugar-Salem 33 (2OT)

The Wolverines (12-1) claimed their first state title since 1997 with a heart-stopping double overtime win over the three-time defending state champion Sugar-Salem Diggers (8-3).

The championship is the 11th in Weiser coach Tom Harrison's storied career.  He's won eight state titles at Snake River, and now one apiece at Raft River, Pocatello and Weiser.

The Weiser offense flexed their muscles early, as quarterback Brett Spencer scored on a 1-yard plunge to give the Wolverines a 6-0 lead with 8:23 to play in the first quarter.

They added to their lead on a 56-yard touchdown pass from Spencer to Michael Youngberg.  After missing his first point-after kick, Ryndon Olson nailed his second to give the Wolverines a 13-0 with 6:44 to play in the first.

Just before the first quarter ended, Sugar-Salem finally got on the board.  Daniel Neal threw a 19-yard score to Jonah Schulthies to bring the Diggers to within 13-7.  After a scoreless second quarter, the Weiser lead remained at 13-7 at halftime.

Weiser scored on their opening drive of the third quarter.  Willie Shirts capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to push the Wolverine lead out to 20-7 with 6:19 to play in the third quarter.

Sugar-Salem answered, though, as Daniel Neal found Cooper Porter for a 12-yard touchdown.  With just one second remaining in the third, the Diggers' deficit stood at six points, 20-14.

After Cooper Butikofer intercepted a Spencer pass in the fourth quarter, Carson Harris scored on a 2-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 20 with 1:43 remaining in regulation.  But Kyle Brunson's point-after kick was blocked by Braden Phillips, and the two teams headed to overtime knotted up at 20.

In the first overtime period, Sugar-Salem scored first.  Carson Harris' 8-yard run and Brunson's point-after kick gave the Diggers the 27-20 lead.

Weiser's possession in the first overtime wasn't as smooth.  On third down from the 11-yard line, Spencer was sacked, leaving a fourth-and-15 situation for the Wolverines.  On Weiser's fourth down attempt, Sugar-Salem was called for pass interference, which moved the ball to the 7-yard line.  On a fourth-and-7 and their season on the line, Brett Spencer found his brother Brock Spencer for the touchdown.  Olson's kick tied the game again, and the two sides headed to double overtime tied at 27.

In the second overtime, Weiser got the ball first.  Shirts scored on a 4-yard run, Olson drilled the PAT, and Weiser led 34-27.

Sugar-Salem responded on their possession.  On the first play, Neal found Carson Harris on an out route for a 10-yard touchdown.

And that's where Sugar-Salem coach Tyler Richins decided to go for the two-point conversion and the win.  Sugar-Salem attempted the same exact play.  Neal completed the pass to Harris.  But Brett Spencer made the tackle inches from the goal line, giving the Wolverines the 34-33 win.


West Side 33, Firth 13

West Side (11-0) became the first time in IHSAA history to achieve a three-peat at the 2A level as they raced past Firth (9-3) to win their eighth state title in school history.  They also extended their Idaho-best winning streak to 32 games in a row, a streak they will carry into their season opener in 2022.

The Pirates wasted no time.  On the first play from scrimmage, Cage Brokens took a handoff and sprinted for a 70-yard touchdown run.  Following an encroachment penalty on Firth, West Side tried to go for two.  Their attempt failed, but the tone was set early: just 20 seconds into the game, the Pirates held a 6-0 lead.

Firth's defense dug in after that early score, as it took West Side wouldn't score again until 1:04 remained in the first.  Bryler Shurtliff came away with his first of two fumble recoveries on the night at the Firth 13-yard line, and from there, Parker Henderson scored on a 1-yard touchdown run.  Again, the two-point try failed, and West Side held a 12-0 lead after one quarter of play.

Firth finally found a little momentum, as Sam Park scored on a 5-yard touchdown run with 4:53 to play before halftime.  Cooper Leslie's extra point kick was good, and the Cougars trailed 12-7.  With Firth receiving the ball to start the second half, one final stop by the Cougars defense would ensure that the deficit remained at just one score.

Alas, West Side put together a great four-minute drive.  It was capped off by Henderson's second TD run of the night, this time from 3 yards out.  Cristian Plancarte kicked the extra point, and West Side took a 19-7 lead into halftime.

Firth's hopes were extinguished early in the second half.  On their opening drive of the third quarter, Gage Vasquez threw a pass that was intercepted by Owen Nielsen and returned 30 yards for a touchdown.  Just 42 seconds into the third, the Pirates extended their lead to 26-7.

The Pirates then put the exclamation point on the proceedings with an 89-yard touchdown pass from Blaize Brown to Bryler Shurtliff on their first play of the fourth quarter.  Just 13 seconds into the period, West Side led 33-7.  The 89-yard bomb marked the third touchdown for West Side within the first minute of play in a particular quarter.  The second quarter was the only quarter where West Side didn't score within the first minute of play.

Firth capped the scoring with a 25-yard touchdown pass from Gage Vasquez to Austin Jacobsen with 3:18 to play.  Their onside kick attempt, failed, though, and from there, the West Side celebration was on.


Oakley 42, Raft River 14

For the second year in a row, the Hornets (11-1) avenged a regular season loss to their rivals from Raft River (9-1) with a win in the championship game.

Oakley struck first as quarterback Payton Beck scored on a 47-yard run.  Oakley's two-point try failed, though, and the Hornets held a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

In the second, Raft River responded with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Tate Whitaker to Seth Tracy.  Whitaker then threw a pass to senior offensive linemen Lad Hansen for the two-point conversion, and with with 10:19 to play in the second quarter, Raft River led 8-6.

From there, Oakley took control.  Beck threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Bry Severe.  He attempted to find Severe for the two-point conversion as well, but Severe was injured on the play and would not return.  The failed two-point try left the score at 12-8 in favor of Oakley.

Then, with just 46 seconds to play before halftime, Oakley struck again.  Beck found Dace Jones for a 6-yard touchdown.  Beck's two-point pass to Ethan Toribau was successful, and Oakley led at halftime 20-8.

Raft River received the ball to start the third quarter, but their drive quickly unraveled, as Dace Jones came free on a blitz.  He sacked Tate Whitaker as he dropped back to pass and forced a fumble.  Hayden Hunter scooped up the live ball and returned it 45 yards for a defensive touchdown.  Beck hit Houston Bingham for the two-point conversion and Oakley's lead was extended to 28-8.

On Raft River's ensuing drive, the Trojans turned the ball over once again, as Whitaker tried to force a pass into tight coverage.  Beck came away with the interception on defense, and then threw a 33-yard screen pass to Bingham for a touchdown on offense.  Oakley led 34-8 after three quarters of play.

At the start of the fourth, Raft River scored for the final time on a 1-yard run by Kole Spencer to bring the Trojans to within 34-14.  Oakley capped their championship off with a 13-yard pass from Beck to Briggs Sagers.  Beck ran in the two-point conversion, and Oakley won the 1AD1 state championship for the second consecutive year with a 42-14 win.



Kendrick 30, Carey 24

The Tigers (9-2) set the tone early, as Kendrick went for an onside kick during the opening kickoff.  Although they didn't recover the football, that aggressive attitude would pay off in spades.  

After stopping Carey (11-1) on a fourth down play on the first drive of the game, Kendrick took that momentum and cashed in on a 2-yard touchdown run from quarterback Ty Koepp.  Koepp's pass on the conversion was offline, but Kendrick led 6-0 at the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, a costly fumble from Carey running back Conner Simpson gave Kendrick the ball at the Panthers' 13-yard line.  Koepp again found the end zone from 2 yards out, and fired a pass to Jagger Hewett for the two-point conversion.  All of a sudden, Kendrick led by two scores, 14-0.

As bad as trailing by two scores would seem, things actually got worse for Carey.  Following a Panthers punt, Koepp threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Hewett.  Koepp also ran in the conversion and the Kendrick lead widened to 22-0.

Carey fought back, though.  On their next possession, Simpson burst through the line for a 66-yard touchdown.  Quarterback Carsn Perkes ran in the conversion and Carey's deficit stood at 22-8.

As quickly as Carey seized the momentum, Kendrick stole it right back.  The Tigers responded to the Panthers' first score of the day by finding the end zone again.  Koepp found Hewett for a 35-yard touchdown, Koepp again ran in the two-point conversion, and Kendrick led 30-8 at halftime.

That halftime lead would stand.  Carey made things interesting with a Simpson 55-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and a Perkes 20-yard touchdown run in the fourth.  But a last gasp onside kick attempt went out of bounds, and Kendrick celebrated with their first title since 2001.

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