5A: COEUR DALENE VS. MADISON
Madisons bid to win its first state championship at the 5A level must go through the two-time defending state champions. The Bobcats are making the most of their first state playoff appearance since 2005, when they played in the 4A classification. Led by a strong passing game Madison has passed for 3,588 yards and rushed for 1,144 yards the Bobcats hope to wrap up an unbeaten season with a victory at Holt Arena in Pocatello. Coeur dAlene also favors the pass, with junior quarterback Gunnar Amos completing 138-of-255 attempts for 2,008 yards and 19 touchdowns during the regular season. Vikings senior Reece Mahaffy has countered with 661 rushing yards and 10 TDs.
4A: MIDDLETON VS. BLACKFOOT
Blackfoot aims to win its third state championship in four seasons against a familiar foe. The Broncos beat Middleton 42-24 in last years title game at Holt Arena. Fridays game will be a contrast of styles. Blackfoot quarterback Alonzo Ramos has passed for 2,390 yards and 23 touchdowns while also rushing for 801 yards and nine more TDs. Middleton, meanwhile, focuses almost exclusively on its ground game. Heading into last weeks semifinal game, the Vikings had rushed for 3,200 yards and passed for just 452. Senior running back Victor Dias ran for 1,299 yards and 19 touchdowns.
3A: SHELLEY VS. FRUITLAND
In two previous meetings in the state championship game, Shelley has gotten the best of Fruitland. The Russets who played in the 4A classification the past two seasons beat the Grizzlies 25-14 in 2009 and 19-13 in 2007. Both teams enter this game unbeaten and have appeared to be on a collision course for most of the season. Fruitland has held the No. 1 ranking in the state media poll the entire season, and Shelley has maintained the No. 2 spot since week two. Shelley has been paced by quarterback Chad Leckington. The 6-foot-3, 218-pound senior has 2,055 passing yards and 30 touchdowns. The Russets go-to receiver is senior McKay Cannon, who has accounted for 1,068 receiving yards and 17 TDs. Fruitlands offensive charge is led by seniors Joe Martarano and Kris Olinger. The pair have accounted for 2,495 yards and 34 touchdowns.
2A: FIRTH VS. DECLO
Firth most recently won back-to-back state titles in 2005 and 2006 and lost 36-6 to Grangeville in last years title game. Declo has not won a state championship in football since the sport was sanctioned by the Idaho High School Activities Association in 1979. The Hornets lost 29-28 in overtime to Parma in the 2009 championship game. Firth and Declo played in last years state quarterfinals, with Firth winning 18-15. In the final state media poll of the regular season, Firth earned the No. 1 ranking with nine first-place votes and Declo was No. 2 with three first-place votes. Declo has held opponents to an average of 8.4 points, including five shutouts. Firth has produced similar numbers in its unbeaten run, averaging 43.4 points per game while allowing 9.9 points.
1A DIVISION I: BUTTE COUNTY VS. KAMIAH
Both of these schools played in the 2A classification last season, but dropped down to the 1A Division I level because of a decrease in enrollment. Kamiah enters as the favorite, having won 10 straight games by an average of about 40 points. The Kubs have produced five shutouts and held two other teams to a touchdown or less. Butte County has been the surprise of the postseason, beating defending state champion Hagerman in the quarterfinals and adding a 34-0 romp over Raft River in the semifinals. Butte County began the playoffs as the No. 3 seed out of District Four-Five-Six.
1A DIVISION II: LIGHTHOUSE CHRISTIAN VS. SALMON RIVER
These teams met in last years state quarterfinals, with Lighthouse Christian routing Salmon River 48-0 in Riggins. This game should be significantly more competitive. Salmon River returns six two-way starters from last years team and is coming off a 35-12 semifinal upset of Dietrich, which finished the regular season ranked a unanimous No. 1 in the state media poll. Lighthouse also has several key returners, including quarterback Logan Bosma (more than 2,000 passing yards and 42 touchdowns) and senior wide receiver Eli Berndt (1,227 yards, 21 TDs).
Rachel Roberts: 377-6422