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Idaho High School Football Playoffs: Quarterfinals Preview
Which teams will advance to the final four?
Published: 11/4/2022 8:40:23 AM


Tristan Gilbert also contributed to this preview


West #3 Rocky Mountain (9-1) at North #1 Post Falls (7-2)
7 p.m. Friday (Pacific Time)
Post Falls HS

Senior defensive lineman Parker Weatherly scooped up a fumble and ran it in for a touchdown 42 seconds into Rocky Mountain's opening-round playoff game against Kuna last Friday and the Grizzlies never looked back, pounding the Kavemen 51-10 and earning their 11th consecutive quarterfinal appearance. Rocky Mountain, which has been ranked No. 1 or 2 in 5A for the entire season, will now travel up to Post Falls Friday night to take on the No. 1 seed from the North. The Trojans are riding high coming into the playoffs after winning four straight games to end the regular season, including all three of their 5A Inland Empire League (IEL) contests. After falling to Lewiston and Coeur d'Alene in a Kansas tiebreaker and barely missing the playoffs last season, Post Falls picked up huge home wins over the Bengals and Vikings in consecutive weeks this year, which earned the Trojans their first outright league title since 1995. Post Falls has been powered by senior running back Jake Bustamante and a strong defense that allowed less than 19 points per game. The Trojans will have a tough task trying to slow down the potent Grizzlies attack, however. Rocky Mountain averaged nearly 38 points per game this season. Led by Head Coach Blaine Bennett, Post Falls is searching for its first playoff victory since an opening-round win over Skyview in 2018, while Head Coach Chris Culig and the Grizzlies are hoping to return to the 5A semifinals after missing out last season. Friday's winner will advance to take on the winner of Rigby versus Eagle next week.

East #2 Rigby (8-2) at West #2 Eagle (6-3)
7 p.m. Friday
Eagle HS
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Defending state champion Rigby had no trouble last week in a 49-14 victory over Owyhee to begin their 2022 playoff run. Since losing a shocker 43-42 to District 5-6 rival Highland back on Oct. 7, the Trojans have looked dominated, winning their final two regular season games and Friday's contest against Owyhee by a combined 132-28. Rigby has been aided by the emergence of junior quarterback Luke Flowers, who completed 24 of 29 passes against the Storm for 312 yards and five touchdowns. The Trojans will look to continue their hot play Friday night as they travel to Eagle to take on the Mustangs. Eagle was a 5A semifinalist last season and hopes to make another semifinal appearance this year after winning the Southern Idaho Conference (SIC) River Division and earning a first-round bye. The Mustangs' only losses this season came against SIC Foothills Division frontrunners Meridian and Rocky Mountain. Eagle is coming off a 35-0 shutout loss against No. 1-ranked Meridian in the SIC Championship game two weeks ago, but with the extra week of rest and preparation, Head Coach John Hartz will have his team ready to go. Either the Mustangs or Trojans will punch their ticket to a semifinal showdown with the Post Falls-Rocky Mountain winner next weekend.

#11 Middleton (7-3) at West #1 Meridian (9-0)
7 p.m. Friday
Meridian HS

Middleton drove nearly five hours up to Lewiston last weekend and held 5A's highest-scoring offense to a touchdown in a big 14-7 win. In their first-ever season in 5A, the Vikings proved that they have what it takes to compete at the highest level of competition in the state. Now, Middleton and 23rd-year Head Coach Bill Brock will get to stay closer to home Friday, but the opponent will not get any easier as the Vikings prepare to do battle with 5A's top-ranked squad. Meridian has been nothing short of dominant this season. With a vicious defense that has forced a state-leading 28 turnovers and allowed less than a touchdown per game, the Warriors claimed their first SIC title and undefeated regular since 2007. Meridian made a Cinderella run to the 5A semifinals last season, falling in overtime to eventual champion Rigby, and Head Coach John Zamberlin's team picked up right where they left off this season. The Warriors have regular season wins over five of the seven remaining teams in the 5A bracket, including Middleton, whom they dismantled 56-7 on Sept. 10. Meridian seems to have the makings of a championship-caliber team, and an intriguing matchup with either Mountain View or Highland looms next week. But first, the Warriors cannot overlook the Vikings this Friday.

West #5 Mountain View (6-4) at East #1 Highland (6-3)
5:30 p.m. Friday
Holt Arena
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West No. 5 seed Mountain View avenged an Oct. 14 loss to Nampa last week by blowing out the Bulldogs 44-0 to open the 2022 5A state playoffs. Just one year removed from an undefeated regular season that concluded with a shocking quarterfinal defeat to Meridian, the 2022 Mavericks appear to be legitimate state championship contenders once again. Mountain View did struggle against the top competition during the regular season, losing games to Meridian, Rocky Mountain, Eagle and Nampa en route to a 5-4 record and a third-place finish in the SIC River Division. This week, the Mavericks will need another big performance from senior quarterback Dawson Wahl, who totaled 256 yards and three touchdowns against Nampa, if they hope to win on the road against a talented and experienced Highland team. After starting the season 0-2, the Rams won six of their last seven games — only losing 14-6 at Meridian during that stretch — to win the District 5-6 title over defending state champion Rigby. Highland finished as the runner-up in 5A last year, making an impressive run to the State Championship Game before falling 27-12 to the Trojans. The Rams have been battled tested this season, playing six one-score games and winning four of them. Friday's victor will advance to likely play Meridian next week in the 5A semifinals.


#8 Pocatello (5-4) at #1 Bishop Kelly (10-0)
7 p.m. Friday
Bishop Kelly HS

Pocatello kicked two field goals, scored two touchdowns, forced three turnovers and slowed down Lakeland's potent rushing attack just enough to edge out a 20-14 opening-round win last Friday. Now the Thunder find themselves back in the 4A state quarterfinals and facing a familiar opponent from last season in this round in Bishop Kelly. In 2021, No. 2 seed Pocatello fended off the seventh-seeded Knights 28-17 to advance to the state semifinals where the Thunder eventually fell to champion Skyline. This year, however, the tables have turned. The 2022 Thunder had to win in the regular season finale just to finish 4-4, and their first-round game was no cakewalk either. And that is not to mention Bishop Kelly, that looks like the clear-cut favorite to win the 4A championship this season after annihilating Canyon Ridge 70-0 at home last Friday in a game where the Knights allowed just 49 yards of total offense. Bishop Kelly has not played less than a three-score game this year, pummeling opponents by an average of 46-9. So, Head Coach Dave Spillett and his Thunder are going to need to have some tricks up their sleeve if they hope to repeat last season's quarterfinal results and pull the upset against the unbeaten Knights. The winner of this 1-versus-8 matchup with advance to play either No. 5 Blackfoot or No. 4 Minico next week.

#5 Blackfoot (6-4) at #4 Minico (9-1)
7 p.m. Friday
Minico HS
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The Blackfoot Broncos raced out to a 28-3 lead last week at home against No. 12 Hillcrest and glided to a 35-17 win for their third straight victory. After coming up one point shy of a 4A State Championship Game appearance in 2021, Blackfoot has been a streaky team this season. The Broncos opened the season 3-0, then lost four straight games, and now they are once again on a three-game winning streak. The experienced and battle-tested Broncos will look to keep that momentum rolling as they travel down to Rupert for a quarterfinal matchup with Minico. The Spartans overcame their playoff demons last Friday, knocking off Vallivue 20-14 in overtime to notch their first playoff win since 2019. Led by efficient junior quarterback Carson Wayment and a talented stable of running backs spearheaded by senior Jafeth Bendele, Minico believes it has what it takes to make a deep playoff run this season. To get there, the Spartans will first need to take down another quality opponent at home. Minico and Blackfoot last met in the 2019 quarterfinals in a game that the Broncos won 42-14 at home en route to a runner-up finish. Whoever reigns victorious Friday night will move on to the semifinals for a likely matchup with No. 1 Bishop Kelly.

#7 Twin Falls (8-2) vs. #2 Skyline (7-3)
4 p.m. Saturday
Holt Arena
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In another exciting Great Basin Conference (GBC) versus High Country Conference (HCC) matchup, the Twin Falls Bruins and Skyline Grizzlies will meet at Holt Arena Saturday afternoon. Twin Falls was powered by senior running back James Noorlander's 212 yards and five touchdowns last Friday in a 47-36 shootout win against Burley. The win gave the Bruins their first taste of playoff victory since 2009 and provides a big confidence boost to a team that went 7-2 during the regular season. The challenge ahead will be a big one for Head Coach Ben Kohring and his team, however, as Skyline appears to be peaking at the right time. The two-time defending champion Grizzlies are seemingly using their Oct. 14 loss to Bonneville as motivation, uprooting Shelley in the regular season finale to claim the HCC title and then swatting the Bees 42-0 last week in the first round. Just like last season when Skyline took a few lumps in the regular season before going on a six-game winning streak to finish the year and repeat as champions, the Grizzlies have looked like the No. 2 team in 4A over the past two weeks. Head Coach Scott Berger's group is going to need to continue playing that level of football if they want to defend their title once again. Next up for the Skyline-Twin Falls winner will be a semifinal showdown with either Shelley or Sandpoint.

#11 Shelley (5-5) at #3 Sandpoint (5-3)
7 p.m. Friday (Pacific Time)
Sandpoint HS
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Just like the Pocatello-Bishop Kelly matchup, the bottom of the 4A bracket features another rematch of the 2021 4A quarterfinals. The Shelley Russets will once again be making the long journey north to do battle with a talented Sandpoint squad that has state title aspirations. The weather could also play a big role in Friday's game, as the current forecast looks like rain and snow are in the cards for a contest that will be played on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille at the Bulldogs' Barlow Stadium. Both Shelley and Sandpoint had rocky starts to each team's season, but the Russets and Bulldogs have each bounced back nicely and put themselves in a position to compete for the 4A championship. After going on a four-game winning streak in the middle of the season, the Russets lost to Hillcrest and Skyline in back-to-back weeks to fall to the No. 11 seed and lose their shot at a home playoff game. But give Josh Wells' team credit, as Shelley came out firing and took down No. 6 Emmett 37-13 on the road last week. Sandpoint, meanwhile, began the year 1-3, but have since won four straight games, including a 63-35 victory at home against Skyview last week. Bulldogs junior Max Frank led the charge for Sandpoint in that game, accumulating 160 yards on the ground and five touchdowns. Sandpoint will need continued production from Frank and senior quarterback Parker Pettit if they hope to return to the 4A semifinals for the third straight season. Whoever wins in Sandpoint Friday night will advance to take on either Skyline or Twin Falls next weekend.


#8 Fruitland (5-5) at #1 Sugar-Salem (8-0)
6 p.m. Friday
Madison HS
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After an 0-3 start to the 2022 campaign, many around the state counted Fruitland out this season, but the Grizzlies responded by winning four straight and earning a state playoff berth. Led by 1999 Fruitland graduate and former Carolina Panthers offensive lineman Jordan Gross, who is in his first season as the Grizzlies head coach, Fruitland showed a lot of grit this year. That grit was on full display last Friday when the Grizzlies went on the road against the 3A South East Idaho Conference champion Snake River and popped the Panthers 27-14. With the victory, Fruitland now advances to play the best team its faced all season in unbeaten Sugar-Salem. The Diggers have the best offense in all 3A this season (nearly 50 points per game) while simultaneously allowing less than 10 points per contest. Sugar-Salem lost by one point in the 3A State Championship Game last season, and the Diggers have been out for blood in 2022 as they are looking to win their fourth state title in the last five seasons. Whoever wins Friday night will advance to play either Buhl or Teton in the semifinals.

#5 Buhl (9-1) at #4 Teton (7-2)
7 p.m. Friday
Teton HS

The last time Buhl lost a game was all the way back on Aug. 26 to defending 3A champion Weiser. Since then, the Indians have rattled off nine consecutive victories, including a 12-6 win last Friday in a slugfest against McCall-Donnelly. Defense has been Buhl's strength all season, as the Indians have allowed opponents to score merely 11 points per game. However, as the Indians prepare for a challenging road test against Teton, their offense is going to need to step up if they want to keep pace with the Timberwolves. Teton, which averages 41 points per game this season, flexed its muscles last Friday, marching up and down the field in a huge 56-13 win over Marsh Valley. After last week, the Timberwolves appear to be getting back to the form that allowed them to open the season 6-0. Both teams will put their 2022 seasons on the line Friday night in Driggs with the winner advancing for a likely matchup with No. 1 Sugar-Salem next week.

#7 South Fremont (7-3) at #2 Homedale (8-1)
7 p.m. Friday
Homedale HS
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Aside from a 28-21 loss on the road at 4A Sandpoint on Sept. 16, No. 2 Homedale has essentially breezed through their 2022 schedule, outscoring opponents by an average of 41-8. Head Coach Matt Holtry and the Trojans have been knocked out of the playoffs by Sugar-Salem for four consecutive seasons, and Homedale has its sights set on a potential rematch again this year as the Trojans vie for its first state championship since 1997. But first, after a bye last week, the Trojans will be facing another talented team from the 3A Mountain Rivers Conference as No. 7 South Fremont comes to town Friday night. The Cougars started the season 5-0, then lost three of their final four regular-season games, but Head Coach Chad Hill's team responded nicely, righting the ship last week in a dominant 48-14 home win over Kimberly to open the playoffs. But winning at Homedale will be a much greater challenge. The Cougars and Trojans faced off last year in the 3A quarterfinals in a game that Homedale won 35-10. Whoever wins this rematch will play the winner of Weiser and Bonners Ferry next week.

#6 Bonners Ferry (9-0) at #3 Weiser (9-1)
1 p.m. Saturday (Mountain Time)
Weiser HS
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In the strange — and often confusing — world of MaxPreps and the IHSAA state playoff brackets, Bonners Ferry was 3A's No. 3 seed last week, and defending state champion Weiser was No. 6. One week and two home victories later, and the Wolverines and Badgers find themselves having swapped rankings, with the advantage going to one-loss Weiser, which accumulated the third best MaxPreps ranking in 3A during the regular season. Last week, the undefeated Badgers hosted Wood River and forced four turnovers in a 21-7 victory that marked the program's first playoff win since 2003. Bonners Ferry has had its best season since 1975, and the team is not ready for it to be over yet. The Badgers win games with ball control thanks to their stellar power rushing attack and the best scoring defense in 3A, which has allowed less than seven points per game. If Bonners Ferry wants to go on the road and upset the defending champions, the Badgers may want to take notes from Intermountain League rival Timberlake, who came within a touchdown of beating Weiser last week. Last Friday's nail-biting 34-27 win over Timberlake was not something the Wolverines have been accustomed to this season. Aside from a 21-7 loss to Homedale and a 13-8 win over LaGrande (Oregon) early in the season, Weiser had not played any close games during the regular season. Much like the Badgers, the Wolverines have a stout defense that accumulated five shutouts during the regular season. If Bonners Ferry can establish its run game, expect this to be a low-scoring game with few possessions for either team. Either the Badgers or Wolverines will move on to the semifinals for a matchup with Homedale or South Fremont next week.


#8 Kellogg (6-3) at #1 Bear Lake (7-1)
6 p.m. Friday (Mountain Time)
Bear Lake HS

The Kellogg Wildcats are making the nearly 600-mile trip to take on the Bear Lake Bears this Friday. The 6-3 Wildcats are looking to ride the momentum of the two game winning streak they are carrying into this year's playoffs. Between those two wins they outscored their opponents by an impressive 100 points (112-12). This will be no easy feat though, as this Bear Lake team has rattled off seven consecutive wins since being upset by North Fremont in the first game of the season. Both teams received a bye in the first round which can be crucial for teams this late in the year. Expect both teams to come out firing on all cylinders Friday night.

#5 West Side (8-1) vs. #4 Declo (4-4)
11 a.m. Saturday
Holt Arena
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West Side handled Cole Valley Christian in the first round 61-14, a game in which their trio of running backs in Crew Sage, Easton Shurtliff, and Parker Moser all scored three touchdowns. The Pirates will likely continue to lean on the ground game and hope to replicate their 21-6 win when they played Declo earlier in the season. As for the Hornets, they have rebounded nicely from that October 7th loss to West Side, winning their final two games of the regular season, scoring 42 points in both games, and holding their opponents to a combined 35 points in those games. Declo has the advantage of receiving the first round bye last week. The Hornets are hoping that extra time to heal up and game prep against the Pirates will pay off this Saturday in Holt Arena.

#7 North Fremont (7-2) vs. #2 Firth (6-2)
8:15 p.m. Friday
Holt Arena
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When these teams faced off on October 14th it was all Cougars. Firth shut out North Fremont 28-0 on that night. If the Huskies are hoping for better results on Friday, they will need their star players - Carson Packer and Hank Richardson - to make their presence known. In North Fremont’s 60-30 win over Soda Springs last weekend Packer ran for 246 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 60 yard touchdown on the first play of the game. Richardson had a monstrous game in which he had five sacks and a fumble returned for touchdown, and earned Player of the Game honors for his performance. North Fremont will need a big game from both of those guys if they want to avenge their defeat from earlier in the season. As for Firth, they come into this game with arguably the best defense in all of 2A. They finished the season with three shutouts and never allowed more than 22 points in any game. The Cougars ended the season on a five game winning streak in which they only allowed 25 TOTAL points. This game has all the makings to be the most competitive in the 2A bracket this weekend.

#6 Aberdeen (6-3) at #3 Melba (8-1)
6 p.m. Friday
Melba HS
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Aberdeen took care of business in the first round, winning 52-8 over St. Maries. This Tigers team is very battle tested, as five of their eight regular season games were against teams that made the 2A State Tournament. Melba comes into this game with a more impressive record, but questions persist about whether they faced as tough a schedule as Aberdeen. Melba faced two opponents that made the tournament, when they defeated Cole Valley Christian and fell to North Fremont. Worth mentioning is that these teams shared one common opponent in North Fremont this year. Melba fell to the Huskies 26-6 while Aberdeen won their meeting 24-0.


#8 Lighthouse Christian (3-6) at #1 Oakley (7-1)
6 p.m. Friday
Oakley HS
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Lighthouse Christian was able to avenge their loss to Murtaugh last week, winning 34-26. This came only five days after playing Murtaugh the first time. Could the Lions avenge two losses in a row with a win this week? Oakley and Lighthouse Christian faced off on September 30th, a game in which Oakley won 46-22. However, this is a much different LC team since then. The Lions have won three out of four and have seen a huge uptick in offensive production. However, this Oakley team will be a much harder out than Murtaugh. The Hornets come into this game on a six game winning streak. They feature a prolific offense that has scored no less than 34 points in any game this season.

#5 Carey (7-2) at #4 Notus (7-1)
6 p.m. Friday
Notus HS
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If you are looking for fireworks then look no further. This is a game that could see either team score into the 40’s, 50’s, or even more! Neither of these teams scored less than 50 points throughout all of October. Ironically, both teams were shut out in the first week in the season. Since that point Carey has scored no less than 34 in any of their games. And, since their Week Four loss to Oakley they have averaged well over 50 points per game on their current five game winning streak. As for Notus, the Pirates too have averaged well over 50 points per game on their seven game winning streak. In fact, the Pirates have only been held below 60 one time since their week one loss to Kendrick. And while they didn’t score 60, they still managed to put up 58 in their win over Council. Expect a basketball score in this one folks.

#7 Raft River (6-3) vs. #2 Grace (7-1)
6:30 p.m. Saturday
Holt Arena
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The Raft River Trojans took care of Clearwater Valley last week, 54-22, ending their two game losing skid. A big part of that being the return of quarterback Tate Whitaker. In the win, Whitaker threw for 178, ran for 76, and threw five touchdowns on his way to being named Player of the Game. Whitaker may provide the Trojans with the jolt they need to overcome one of 1AD1’s best in the Grace Grizzlies. Grace enters the game on a five game winning streak and their only loss came against one of the best teams in all of 1AD2 in Castleford. One point of interest is that these teams shared three common opponents this season. Both teams faced Carey, Butte County, and Lighthouse Christian. Grace went 3-0 in those games and Raft River went 1-2.

#6 Butte County (6-2) at #3 Kamiah (8-1)
7 p.m. Friday (Pacific Time)
Kamiah HS

Butte County looked tough in their 72-28 win over Lapwai last week. The Pirates ran for 438 yards in the win, and will hope for similar success against Kamiah on Friday, though that is probably easier said than done. Kamiah is currently on a seven game winning streak and has not allowed more than 22 points throughout that streak. This has been the hardest game in this round of the 1AD1 to get a pulse on. This really just feels like two high quality teams that are about to enter a slugfest for four quarters. It will be exciting to see how this one turns out.


4C Camas County (7-2) at 2A Kendrick (9-0)
2 p.m. Saturday (Pacific Time)
Lewiston HS
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Camas County looked good in their 66-32 win over Watersprings last week. They’ll hope to keep that offensive production up against Kendrick, which may have the best defense in the entire state. In nine games, Kendrick has seven shutouts and held another opponent to only six points. However, if there is anyone that could put up points against this team it may just be the Mushers. They have gone over 50 points six times this season. The issue is that this Kendrick team can also score points. Look no further than their 104-0 win over Genesee earlier this season. This is a game that features two tough teams, and many are eager to see how this one plays out.

4B Castleford (8-1) at 3A Council (7-2)
6 p.m. Friday
Council HS

Castleford continues to look like one of the best teams in this tournament. They shut out Clark Fork 56-0 last week. The Wolves were led by quarterback Ethan Roland who accounted for six touchdowns in the win. However, respectfully this Council team should be a much tougher test. The Lumberjacks enter this contest on a five game winning streak and have scored no less than 44 points in any of those wins. This game has all the potential to be a high scoring affair, as both teams’ offenses have seemed to come into their own over the last month of the season.

4A Dietrich (9-0) vs. 5-6A Rockland (4-4)
1:30 p.m. Saturday
Holt Arena
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Dietrich continues to look dangerous. They handled Horseshoe Bend last week, 54-20. Quarterback Cody Power had himself a day. He threw for 212 yards, ran for another 182 and accounted for five total touchdowns on his way to being named Player of the Game. Though it should be noted that the 20 points they allowed is tied for the second most points they’ve allowed in a game all season, especially when you look at how Rockland closed out their season. The Bulldogs started the season 1-4, but since then have been nothing short of dominant. They won their last three games by a combined score of 194-26. It will be exciting to see if Rockland can keep the offensive firepower going, and how Dietrich would respond if put into that position.

3B Garden Valley (8-1) at 1A Mullan/St. Regis (8-2)
1 p.m. Saturday (Pacific Time)
Mullan HS
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Tacoma Kelly accounted for six total touchdowns in Garden Valley’s 47-8 win over Lewis County last week. They’ll need similar results from Kelly as they take on a very tough Mullan-St. Regis team. There are only three combined losses between these two teams and all sixteen wins shared between the schools have been in blowout fashion. So it is hard to gauge exactly how this game will go. It will be close, and it will be interesting how both of these teams handle that, given it is unfamiliar territory for both teams.

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