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Idaho High School Football Bracketology (Two Weeks Remaining)
The playoff field will really begin to take shape after this week's slate of games
Published: 10/12/2023 1:34:49 PM
Brandon Baney
Managing Editor/Broadcaster

Follow @Brandon_Baney on Twitter


When we began this exercise last week, things appeared mostly set in stone, but nothing officially had been clinched.  That's still mostly the case as we approach the final two weeks of the regular season.  Eagle and Meridian officially clinched playoff berths at the Class 5A level....and that's pretty much it.

So while there aren't many official playoff bids wrapped up yet, we can start to look ahead and examine what teams need to do to make postseason plans at the end of the month.

Several tiebreaker scenarios are still prevalent amongst the Idaho football landscape.  In those scenarios, I will defer to the team with the higher MaxPreps ranking.

All opinions listed below are my own.  Disagree?  Send me an email at


District 1-2 (2 bids)

Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls

District 3 (7 bids)

Eagle, Meridian, Rocky Mountain, Boise, Owyhee, Middleton, Mountain View

District 5-6 (2 bids)

Highland, Madison

At-Large (1 bid)



E1 Highland (5-1)
W1B Meridian (4-2)
W1A Eagle (6-0)
N1 Coeur d'Alene (4-2)


W5 Owyhee (6-2) at W4 Boise (6-1)
W7 Mountain View (4-3) at N2 Post Falls (5-2)
W6 Middleton (5-2) at E2 Madison (4-3)
At-Large Rigby (3-4) at W3 Rocky Mountain (4-3)

Up north, Coeur d'Alene and Post Falls each won their Inland Empire League openers last Friday.  The Vikings defeated crosstown rival Lake City, while Post Falls went to Lewiston and dealt the Bengals a blow.  For Lake City and Lewiston, the impetus is clear: win out or sit out.  Coeur d'Alene hosts Post Falls this Friday, and the winner will have the inside track on the league title.  Lewiston appears to have a narrow path to a playoff berth, but they would need to win against Lake City and Coeur d'Alene in their final two games to achieve it.  And even if they run the table, a Vikings win over Post Falls could still create a three-way tie that would need to be decided.

In the east, Highland defeated Rigby with a come-from-behind rally in the fourth quarter last week.  The Rams now host Madison Friday on  A win by the Rams all but wraps up the District 5-6 title.  Rigby, meanwhile, can't lose again.  The Trojans will travel to Thunder Ridge and Madison for their final two games.

A change this year to the 5A bracket revolves around the at-large bid.  In years past, the at-large slots were awarded based upon winning percentage against 5A opponents.  This year, it will be awarded based upon MaxPreps ranking.  Right now, according to our projections, Middleton, Rigby, Borah, Post Falls and Madison (in that order) would be the teams fighting it out for the at-large bid.  Treasure Valley fans should want Rigby and Post Falls to win out.

District 3 will once again use the final week of the regular season to hold a series of cross-divisional playoff games.  Essentially, the Foothills Division has six teams, while the River Division has seven.  The top team from each division will play in the Southern Idaho Conference Championship Game, and both will automatically receive top-four seeds and first round byes into the 5A playoffs.  The rest of the cross-divisional games will play out like this:

River 2 vs. Foothills 6
River 3 vs. Foothills 5
River 4 vs. Foothills 4
Foothills 3 vs. River 5
Foothills 2 vs. River 6

The winners of those five games will receive the District's auto bids.  One lucky loser may grab the at-large bid, but it's no guarantee.  The SIC Championship Game has already been set: River Division champ Eagle will host Foothills Division winner Meridian.  The Mustangs defeated the Warriors 36-33 way back at the start of the year, so the rematch should be entertaining.

If the season ended today, here's what the rest of the cross-divisional matchups would look like:

Boise (River 2) vs. Centennial (Foothills 6)
Owyhee (River 3) vs. Timberline (Foothills 5)
Mountain View (River 4) vs. Capital (Foothills 4)
Middleton (Foothills 3) vs. Borah (River 5)
Rocky Mountain (Foothills 2) vs. Kuna (River 6)

It sure looks like Centennial, Capital and Timberline will all finish with 1-4 records in the Foothills Division, with all three beating each other (Centennial beat Capital, Capital beat Timberline and Timberline beat Centennial).  The Southern Idaho Conference has four different tie-breaking parameters in place in the case of a three-way tie, but after all four, the three would still be tied.  Based upon my interpretation of the SIC handbook, the tie would eventually be broken by a three-way coin flip.  For our projections, we've awarded Capital the tie-breaker win only because they have beaten Lewiston out-of-conference, while Centennial and Timberline don't have any other victories.

We are projecting the winners of these games based upon which team has the higher MaxPreps ranking.  Using this data, all of the higher seeded teams would win.


District 1-2 (1 bid)


District 3 (2 bids)

Bishop Kelly, Skyview

District 4 (2 bids)

Minico, Twin Falls

District 5 (1 bid)


District 6 (2 bids)

Hillcrest, Shelley

At-Large (8 bids)

Pocatello, Skyline, Bonneville, Emmett, Canyon Ridge, Lakeland, Idaho Falls, Burley


#16 Burley (2-5) at #1 Hillcrest (7-0)
#9 Pocatello (3-2) at #8 Preston (3-4)
#13 Canyon Ridge (6-1) at #4 Twin Falls (6-1)
#12 Emmett (4-3) at #5 Shelley (4-3)
#15 Idaho Falls (2-5) at #2 Bishop Kelly (7-0)
#10 Skyline (4-3) at #7 Skyview (5-2)
#14 Lakeland (3-4) at #3 Minico (6-2)
#11 Bonneville (3-4) at #6 Sandpoint (4-3)

The bracket will once again be divided up by auto bids and at-large spots.  The eight auto bids will automatically receive the top eight seeds, and will be ranked according to their MaxPreps ranking.  That's why Sandpoint, despite being a conference champ, would only be the six seed overall.  Likewise, the eight at-large teams will then be seeded 9-16 based upon MaxPreps ranking.

The playoff field itself hasn't changed from last week to this week, but where the 16 teams are slotted has changed.

Our projections have Preston winning District 5 for the moment, only because the Indians are 1-0 while Pocatello is 0-0.  That will change, starting with Friday's matchup between Preston and Pocatello on   Now, common sense would tell you that Pocatello will win this game handily.  Yet, the last time we saw the Thunder, they struggled to score 10 points against Shelley, and had made a quarterback change at halftime.  Anything can happen in this crazy game, but if Pocatello wins over Preston like I think they will, it would send the Thunder to the #3 seed overall.  Seeds 3-7 would all move down one slot, and Preston would fall all the way to the #15 seed.

In terms of teams on the bubble and possibly on the outside of the playoff picture, there just isn't much to discuss.  When 16 of 24 teams in the classification make the playoffs, you'll have sub-.500 teams that qualify.  Any team that doesn't clinch a playoff spot only has themselves to blame.  For reference, the winless Blackfoot Broncos (0-7) would be the first team out of the playoffs using MaxPreps rankings.

Of course, there is always the possibility of a team like Moscow (currently outside of our projections) stealing an auto bid by winning their conference. Moscow will play both Lakeland and Sandpoint to wrap up the year, so we'll keep an eye on the Bears.


District 1 (1 bid)


District 3 (3 bids)

Homedale, Weiser, McCall-Donnelly

District 4 (3 bids)

Kimberly, Buhl, Gooding

District 5 (2 bids)

Snake River, American Falls

District 6 (2 bids)

Sugar-Salem, Teton

At-Large (3 bids)

Marsh Valley, Fruitland, Wood River


#1 Sugar-Salem (6-0)
#2 Homedale (6-0)


#14 Gooding (2-5) at #3 Kimberly (7-0) 
#13 Wood River (3-5) at #4 Snake River (4-3)
#12 Fruitland (2-5) at #5 Timberlake (4-3)
#11 American Falls (3-4) at #6 Teton (6-0)
#10 Marsh Valley (0-7) at #7 Weiser (6-1)
#9 Buhl (5-2) at #8 McCall-Donnelly (5-1)

#14 Gooding (1-5) at #3 Buhl (4-2)
#13 Fruitland (1-5) at #4 Timberlake (4-3)
#12 Wood River (3-4) at #5 Snake River (3-3)
#11 American Falls (3-4) at #6 Teton (5-0)
#10 Marsh Valley (0-6) at #7 Weiser (6-0)
#9 McCall-Donnelly (4-1) at #8 Kimberly (6-0)

The Class 3A bracket awards the top five seeds to the five district champions.  However, only MaxPrep's two highest ranked district champs will receive first round byes. The other three will have to host first round games.  The remaining seeds (6-14) are determined also using MaxPreps rankings.

Not much has changed here.  Kimberly plays Buhl on Friday night on  The winner of that game pretty much wraps up the District 4 title, and whoever wins is pretty much locked in as the #3 seed.

Speaking of top-five seeds, Snake River (#4) and Timberlake (#5) traded spots.  That's because the Panthers defeated Marsh Valley last week, while Timberlake was idle.

South Fremont remains the closest challenger to taking an at-large bid.  The Cougars host Marsh Valley on Thursday night on  With a win, South Fremont could catapult past Marsh Valley (who would be 0-8) for a playoff spot.  Gooding and Wood River meet up this Friday, also.  The winner more than likely gets an auto bid; the loser will still be a factor in the at-large race.

In District 3, you may have thought Homedale wrapped up the division title with last week's 21-14 win over Weiser.  Not so fast!  The Trojans finish the year with Fruitland and McCall-Donnelly, and two losses (coupled with Weiser wins) would actually give the Wolverines the title.  No matter what happens, the top four teams from District 3 are in comfortably.


District 1-2 (1 bid)


District 3 (1 bid)

Nampa Christian

District 4 (1 bid)


District 5 (1 bid)

West Side

District 6 (1 bid)

North Fremont

At-Large (6 bids)

Melba, Aberdeen, Bear Lake, Firth, Wendell, Ririe


#1 Declo (6-0)
#2 West Side (4-2)
#3 North Fremont (5-1)
#4 Nampa Christian (5-2)
#5 Grangeville (3-3)


#11 Ririe (2-3) at #6 Melba (5-1)
#10 Wendell (5-3) at #7 Aberdeen (4-2)
#9 Firth (2-3) at #8 Bear Lake (3-3)

The only change from last week's projections to this week's (seeding lines included) is Grangeville replacing St. Maries as the champ from District 1-2.  The Bulldogs defeated the Lumberjacks 54-26 last week, and appear to have the Central Idaho League on lockdown.

However, Kellogg could make things interesting this Friday.  The Wildcats host Grangeville on Friday, and a Kellogg win would create a three-way tie at the top of the division, as St. Maries defeated Kellogg earlier this year.

Otherwise, it's all the same.  To recap, this is a unique bracket that awards the five district champions the top five seeds and a first-round bye.  The remaining six bids are then awarded to MaxPreps' six highest ranked teams, with one new caveat: No district shall receive more than two at-large bids.

As we detailed last week, that new wrinkle adversely affects Malad, a team ranked ahead of Ririe in the MaxPreps rankings.  But alas, two teams from Malad's division are ahead of the Dragons in the at-large pecking order, and last week's loss to Bear Lake may have sealed their fate.  The Dragons still play West Side, and a monumental upset would certainly beef up Malad's MaxPreps rating, but enough to jump ahead of Bear Lake and Aberdeen?  Probably not.

Marsing and Cole Valley Christian are on the periphery of the playoff picture.  Those two play each other this Friday in what is essentially a knockout game.  It's the final game of the year for Marsing, so the Huskies will definitely be sweating things out next week on their bye.


District 2 (3 bids)

Logos, Kamiah, Potlatch

District 3 (2 bids)

Notus, Idaho City

District 4 (3 bids)

Oakley, Murtaugh, Valley

District 5-6 (1 bid)

Butte County

At-Large (3 bids)

Grace, Lighthouse Christian, Carey


#1 Oakley (5-1)
#2 Butte County (6-1)
#3 Logos (6-0)
#4 Notus (4-1)


#12 Idaho City (1-4) at #5 Kamiah (5-1)
#11 Carey (1-5) at #6 Grace (5-1)
#10 Potlatch (5-1) at #7 Murtaugh (5-1)
#9 Valley (4-3) at #8 Lighthouse Christian (4-2)

#12 Idaho City (1-4) at #5 Butte County (5-1)
#11 Valley (3-3) at #6 Lighthouse Christian (4-1)
#10 Potlatch (4-1) at #7 Kamiah (4-1)
#9 Carey (1-4) at #8 Murtaugh (4-1)

The 1AD1 bracket rewards each of the four district champions with an automatic top four seed and first round bye.  This greatly benefits Notus, who jumps from 12th overall in the MaxPreps rankings to the number seed overall by virtue of being District 3's best team.

Well, Valley has made things interesting in District 4 after a signature win over Lighthouse Christian last Friday night.  For the moment, the Vikings are in third (although in a quirky MaxPreps twist, they would still have to travel to Lighthouse, a team they've beaten, for their playoff opener.)  Valley can streak even higher by defeating Oakley in their season finale this Friday.  They can't finish any higher than second, but the Vikings have a chance to assist Murtaugh in winning the league title.  If Oakley were to drop their final two games against Valley and Murtaugh, the Hornets would drop from first place all the way to third.  They would lose their first round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Of course, all three teams are still in comfortably, as is Lighthouse Christian.  Carey stubbed their toe with a loss to last-place Glenns Ferry, yet still find themselves in as the last at-large team thanks to an impressive strength of schedule.  Raft River is the first team out of the playoffs right now, and mathematically cannot earn one of the three auto bids available from District 4.  The Trojans need to win out against Butte County and Carey to feel safe, although a head-to-head win over Carey in the regular season finale could also do the trick.

District 3 remains unchanged, as does District 5-6.  More than likely, next week's Idaho City-Rimrock battle will determine the second and final playoff spot from District 3, while Butte County and Grace will play for the District 5-6 title and the first round bye that accompanies it.

Up north in District 2, Prairie won over Lapwai last week, and are securely in fourth place in the Whitepine League currently.  Unfortunately, that may not be enough to garner the Pirates an at-large bid.  Here's how the top four in the standings look heading into the final two weeks:

Logos (5-0) - @ Troy, vs. Prairie

Kamiah (4-1) - vs. Genesee, @ Potlatch

Potlatch (4-1) - @ Lapwai, vs. Kamiah

Prairie (3-2) - vs. Clearwater Valley, @ Logos

It appears that all four favored teams should win this week, although Potlatch can't look past Lapwai.  A Wildcats win could put Lapwai back into the conversation.  At this point, Prairie not only needs to win out, but they need either Logos, Kamiah or Potlatch to lose both of their remaining games to earn an auto bid, as the Pirates have already lost to both the Loggers and Kubs head-to-head.  If Logos loses their final two, the winner of the Kamiah-Potlatch game in two weeks could steal the Whitepine title away from the Knights. 


District 1 (2 Bids)

Mullan/St. Regis, Lakeside

District 2 (2 Bids)

Kendrick, Deary

District 3 (3 bids)

Council, Garden Valley, Tri-Valley

District 4 (3 bids)

Camas County, Hagerman, Dietrich

District 5-6 (2 bids)

Rockland, North Gem


1A Mullan/St. Regis (6-0)
2A Kendrick (4-0)
4A Camas County (4-1)
5-6A Rockland (4-2)


5-6B North Gem (4-2) at 4B Hagerman (4-2)
4C Dietrich (3-2) at 3A Council (3-3)
3C Tri-Valley (3-2) at 1B Lakeside (3-3)
2B Deary (3-2) at 3B Garden Valley (5-1)

While on the surface it doesn't appear that anything has changed, there are a lot of variables still in play when it comes to Idaho's smallest classification.

In District 1, the Wallace Miners made the conference playoff picture quite blurry with a two-point win over Lakeside last Friday.  There are four teams battling for two playoff spots, and here's how everything shakes out over the final two weeks:

Mullan/St. Regis (4-0) - vs. Lakeside, vs. Wallace

Lakeside (2-2) - at Mullan/St. Regis, at Clark Fork

Clark Fork (1-3) - vs. Wallace, vs. Lakeside

Wallace (1-3) - at Clark Fork, at Mullan/St. Regis

*Clark Fork has already beaten Wallace this year
*Lakeside has already beaten Clark Fork this year and they split with Wallace

Assuming Mullan/St. Regis wins out, here's how the final playoff spot could materialize:


Clark Fork (3-3)
Lakeside (2-4)
Wallace (1-5)


Lakeside (3-3)
Clark Fork (2-4)
Wallace (1-5)


Lakeside (3-3)
Wallace (2-4)
Clark Fork (1-5)

So what appears complex becomes simple: Wallace needs to win out, as does Clark Fork.  Otherwise, Lakeside most likely takes that last spot.

In District 2, Kendrick and Deary are both undefeated in league play, and will meet in the regular season finale in two weeks.  Before that, though, the Mustangs have to travel to Craigmont this Friday to play Lewis County in a game that will ultimately decide the second and final playoff spot from District 2.

In District 3, Garden Valley passed their first test with a convincing win over Horseshoe Bend.  The Wolverines will now host Council on Friday afternoon on in a game that will probably decide the Long Pin Conference title.  Meanwhile, Tri-Valley and Horseshoe Bend also meet up for an important game.  The loser is most likely eliminated from the playoff picture.  A tie could still occur at the top if Garden Valley defeats Council and then loses to Tri-Valley in the regular season finale.  That's all predicated on Tri-Valley winning over HSB first, though.

District 4 also became somewhat more clear, as Dietrich shut out Hansen and Hagerman shut out Castleford.  That leaves the top three untouched.  Castleford needs to win on Friday against league leader Camas County or they'll be eliminated.  Camas County needs to win both of their final games to officially clinch the title.  If Dietrich defeats Camas County in the finale next Friday, it could create a three-way tie for the Sawtooth Conference championship.  However, all three teams would still qualify for the playoffs.

And in District 5-6, it appears that Rockland and North Gem's battle in two weeks will determine first and second place in the two-bid Rocky Mountain Conference.  However, Watersprings hosts the Cowboys on Friday, and a Warriors win would complicate things.  If Watersprings wins out against North Gem and Mackay, the Warriors would outright take the second playoff bid.  If North Gem were to fall to Watersprings, they would need Mackay to knock off the Warriors to earn the second playoff spot.  A win over Rockland would also do the trick for North Gem.  If Watersprings wins both of its final games, North Gem would have to defeat Rockland just to force a three-way tie.

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