The way the Rocky Mountain High football teams defense played Thursday night at Dona Larsen Park, there should be no more doubts about the legitimacy of the Grizzlies unbeaten start.
The Grizzlies grabbed three interceptions and racked up five sacks for a loss of 30 yards in a 35-7 statement win over Capital.
Rocky Mountain (5-0) takes sole possession of first place in the 5A Southern Idaho Conference, a half-game ahead of defending league champion Eagle (5-0).
I like the way we flew around, Rocky Mountain coach Jason Warr said. We had a couple big hits early and it kind of set the tone.
Rocky Mountain caught the Capital defense on its heels in the first quarter.
The Grizzlies scored on their first possession of the game, marching 80 yards in six plays. Junior running back Jason Crimmins finished off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run and a 7-0 lead.
Rocky senior running back Dakota Weindel followed his counterpart on the Grizzlies next possession. Weindel broke free for a 74-yard touchdown run, sprinting beyond the reach of two Capital defenders who attempted diving tackles.
Weindel finished the game with three touchdowns and a game-high 148 rushing yards on 13 carries.
This is definitely my biggest game, and I owe it all to the offensive line, Weindel said. They straight opened up holes. They were huge.
After being forced to punt on their first two possessions, the Eagles got on the board with an 87-yard drive spanning the first and second quarters. Senior running back TJ Clarke scored from 1 yard out with just 3 ticks off the clock in the second quarter to pull Capital within 14-7.
Rocky Mountain failed to convert on its first two possessions of the quarter, but was boosted by a strong defensive stand that kept Capital out of the end zone on fourth-and-6 from the Rocky 7-yard-line.
Capital had a nice march going on us, and then we got the stop, Warr said. Our kids just answered. When they play with emotion and do their job, we can be alright.
The Grizzlies didnt give the Eagles any hope in the second half, as Weindel added his second touchdown of the game 52 seconds into the third quarter on a headfirst dive into the end zone.
Adding to Capitals troubles were three second-half interceptions, including two by junior cornerback Khalil Oliver.
We actually just moved him out to corner because we had an injury, and he stepped up, Warr said. Those are big plays and its great that he has filled that role. I am proud of Khalil. Hes kind of become that quiet leader for us.
Thursdays win over Capital the team picked to finish first in a 5A SIC preseason coaches poll was the first in school history for the Rocky football team.
The fact that we beat a team that everyone said we couldnt is very important, Oliver said. Im kind of just happy that we pulled it off.
Rachel Roberts: 377-642, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX