Eagle football hands Capital first loss in regular-season finale

Mustangs defeat Eagles 31-28; Capital still earns 5A SIC title, top seed to state

rroberts@idahostatesman.comNovember 1, 2013 

— There were enough story lines to keep a writer busy through 48 minutes of football, but the one that mattered most happened last.

Six-foot-3, 255-pound senior defensive lineman Paul Semons came rumbling off the line of scrimmage and straight into Capital's Conner Poulson, sacking the quarterback for a 4-yard loss.

Teammates rushed from all directions as the final seconds ticked off the clock, giving Eagle a 31-28 victory over previously unbeaten Capital on Thursday night at Dona Larsen Park in the 5A Southern Idaho Conference regular-season finale for both teams.

"We had a couple weeks of major adversity, but it never dampened our belief in ourselves," Eagle coach Paul Peterson said. "We haven't been at the top of the standings or been the team that gets talked about, and rightly so, but we've kept our mouths shut. We just keep believing."

There wasn't much reason to doubt the Mustangs on Thursday night.

Quarterback J.T. Williams gave the Capital defense fits, passing for 238 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 232 more.

"It's not surprising. We've been watching it all season," Peterson said. "J.T.'s quick."

Despite the loss, Capital (9-1, 8-1) finishes as the 5A SIC regular-season champion, earning the league's No. 1 seed in the state playoffs, which comes with the right to host a first-round game next week.

The Eagles will host Idaho Falls in the state quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Nov. 8 at Dona Larsen Park.

"An undefeated regular season would have been nice, but we're where we want to be," Capital coach Todd Simis said. "We've got to learn from this and get better. The pain of a loss can be turned into some good stuff."

Eagle (7-2) also is headed to state as either the No. 3 or No. 4 seed, depending on how Mountain View fares against Meridian on Friday.

"This is a huge boost of momentum," Semons said. "Our coach said all week we didn't want to go into the playoffs on a low note, we wanted to go on a high note. That's the case tonight, we are all excited."

Capital honored its senior class before the game, and some fans came in costume in honor of Halloween night. The second half was interrupted by a streaker, who ran nearly the entire length of the field before jumping the fence on the Broadway side of the stadium and disappearing into the night.

But none of that could top the action on the field, as the Mustangs and Eagles each scored three touchdowns apiece in the second half.

It was senior kicker Ethan Lesterberg's 27-yard field goal in the first quarter that ended up haunting Capital.

"Football and high school sports, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but we belong in the state tournament, so let's go find out," Peterson said.

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422,Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

Idaho Statesman is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service