Homedale faces familiar foe in state semifinals

Fruitland has dominated the series since the Trojans joined the 3A conference in 2004.

rroberts@idahostatesman.comNovember 14, 2013 

In two playoff games, the Homedale High football team has outscored opponents 119-0. Not too long ago, the Trojans were on the losing end of that kind of statistic.

Known as a state power in the 1980s and ’90s, the Trojans won eight championships in the 2A classification, the last of which came in 1997.

But a move up to the 3A Snake River Valley in 2004 was the start of a difficult transition period.

When Matt Holtry took over in 2009, he became the third head coach since 2006, and inherited a program that was 19-31 at the 3A level.

Holtry is now in his fifth season, and his efforts to reignite the once-proud program are finally paying off.

Homedale (9-1) hosts conference rival Fruitland (9-1) at 2 p.m. Saturday in a 3A state semifinal game at Deward Bell Stadium. It is the first semifinal appearance for the Trojans at the 3A level.

“You’re able to establish your program over a four-year period, and this fifth year all these kids have been running the same stuff for four years and they’ve bought into it,” Holtry said. “Our JV this year was 7-1 and SRV champs, which that hasn’t happened in nine years … so this year was big.”

Until this year, Homedale had lost to Fruitland 11 consecutive times dating to 2004. Four of those losses were shutouts, and the Trojans were held to a touchdown or less in three more of those losses.

The Trojans’ futility against the Grizzlies ended Oct. 11 when Homedale defeated Fruitland 34-12, putting the Trojans in position to win their first SRV regular-season title.

“It wasn’t until that Fruitland win and getting over that Fruitland hump that the kids just had that next level of confidence,” Holtry said. “It’s kind of shown for each game that we’ve played since then, the kids just get a little bit more confident each week.”

The Trojans will have to prove themselves again Saturday, and it won’t be an easy task.

The Grizzlies have been one of the most dominant 3A teams in the state in recent years, having advanced to seven consecutive state championships beginning in 2006. Fruitland won state in 2006 and 2010.

Should Homedale win, it will mark the first time since 2005 that Fruitland has lost to the same team twice in one season.


HOMEDALE VS. FRUITLAND

Homedale joined the 3A SRV in 2004. Here is a look at how the Trojans have fared against the Grizzlies since then:

2004: Fruitland 52-44

2005: Fruitland 48-0

2006: Fruitland 34-6

2007: Fruitland 57-0

2008: Fruitland 45-7

2009: Fruitland 61-6

2010: Fruitland 24-14; Fruitland 54-30 (state play-in)

2011: Fruitland 57-0; Fruitland 47-20 (state play-in)

2012: Fruitland 44-0

2013: Homedale 34-12


Rachel Roberts: 377-6422,Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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