Capital stuns Rocky Mountain, remains unbeaten

Eagles rally in second half to take share of first place in 5A SIC.

rroberts@idahostatesman.comSeptember 28, 2013 

MERIDIAN — It was a turnaround of epic proportions — the kind that leaves the winner insane with joy and the loser speechless.

The Capital High football team rolled out of Brighton Stadium on cloud nine, having recovered from a two-touchdown deficit at the half for a 42-26 victory against Rocky Mountain on Friday night.

The 5A Southern Idaho Conference showdown between unbeaten teams went from one extreme to the other.

Rocky Mountain enjoyed a dominant first half, taking a 20-7 lead at the break and a 26-14 lead midway through the third quarter.

But Capital scored the final four touchdowns of the game with the help of senior quarterback Conner Poulson, who had a hand in all six of the Eagles’ touchdowns and finished with 196 passing yards and 160 yards on the ground.

Poulson was 9-for-9 passing in the second half.

“This is a really good team win,” Poulson said. “I’m proud of what we did tonight.”

Poulson deferred credit for the victory to his teammates, including offensive linemen Brenan Leatham, Alex Thompson, Chris Holland, Sam Ball and Brandon Van Slochteren.

“The O-line did awesome tonight. That’s all on them,” Poulson said. “They just made big holes for me to run through, and I ran.”

The momentum took a noticeable shift near the end of the third quarter when Capital defensive back Colby Larson intercepted Rocky quarterback Riley Bradshaw on the Grizzlies’ 5-yard line.

Poulson punched it in from 3 yards out two plays later, giving Capital (5-0, 4-0 5A SIC) its first lead of the game — 28-26 — with 2:55 remaining in the third.

Trouble reared its head again in the fourth quarter when Rocky running back Jason Crimmins appeared destined for the end zone, only to fumble the ball at Capital’s 5-yard line.

Junior Tarik Littlejohn recovered the football, and the Eagles marched 95 yards for another score while taking 6 minutes off the clock.

“We just can’t make those mistakes. They’re a good football team, and Poulson’s a really good football player,” Rocky Mountain coach Scott Criner said. “I thought that when they had to, they played mistake-free football.”

It certainly started out well for the Grizzlies (4-1, 3-1).

Rocky ran the ball nine times to eat up 51 yards on its second drive of the game, then switched to the air for its first score. Senior receiver Kekoa Nawahine caught Bradshaw’s 26-yard pass in mid-air for the touchdown, and Crimmins ran in the two-point conversion to put Rocky ahead 8-0 with a little more than 4 minutes remaining in the first quarter.

The Grizzlies tacked on another touchdown on an 8-yard pass from Bradshaw to senior Elijiah Armstrong at the start of the second quarter.

Capital found its rhythm on the ensuing drive, marching 74 yards in 13 plays, culminating with Poulson’s 4-yard run up the middle for the touchdown.

Rocky didn’t let Capital’s momentum last for long. The Grizzlies capped their final drive before the half with Crimmins’ 5-yard touchdown run for a 20-7 lead.

“Our ‘D’ just kept playing. Rocky’s a great team, and we’re pretty good, too, offensively,” Capital coach Todd Simis said. “Our defense, once they got some confidence, I think that was the difference.”

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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