Ridgevue High offensive coordinator Dave Kemper stepped forward.
His Warhawks waited assembled in the Dona Larsen Park locker room prior to their season opener last week at Dona Larsen Park, and it was his job to get them fired up.
Kemper informed them the Idaho Statesman only gave Ridgevue a 20 percent chance to win that night — a number he scoffed at, a number that didn’t reflect an offseason of blood, sweat and tears.
“Mark it down right now in the win column,” Kemper told the assembled Warhawks, whose heads bobbed in agreement. “Because we believe in you guys.”
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Kemper’s belief paid off as Ridgevue knocked off Boise 14-10 and the Warhawks chanted “20 percent” as the clock wound down.
Technically, the Elo computer ranking predictions I’ve assembled gave Ridgevue a 20 percent chance to win. But I also predicted a Ridgevue loss in my picks.
It was one of only a few games I missed in Week 1 as my predictions went 19-5 to start the season. (The computer was 16-8).
Here’s hoping I can avoid too many more crow sandwiches this week.
Capital at Rocky Mountain, 7 p.m. Friday
For the second week in a row, a 5A state semifinal rematch highlights the week’s schedule. And for the second week in a row, two of the 5A SIC’s Big Four meet, giving us an early-season handle on the pecking order between the state powerhouses.
Rocky Mountain enters as 5A’s No. 1-ranked team after blowing out Nevada’s Spanish Springs 43-0 last weekend in Holt Arena. The Grizzlies debuted their two-headed offensive system, using quarterback Tre Page to lead a flexbone triple option. Then they brought in Boise High transfer Will McMullin to run a shotgun spread passing attack.
The results were potent as Rocky Mountain ran away with the victory. McMullin threw a pair of TD passes, backup Colby Jackson also threw a TD and the Grizzlies finished with 193 yards through the air.
Rocky Mountain never topped the 100-yard mark last season. That lack of an aerial threat cost the Grizzlies in the semifinals last year as Capital didn’t allow a second-half completion on its way to a come-from-behind, 27-14 win.
“It is literally preparing for two completely different looks in one opponent,” Capital coach Todd Simis said.
Even more impressive was the Rocky Mountain defense, which forced four turnovers and held Spanish Springs to 151 total yards.
“We’ve been harping on big plays and turnovers, so I was pretty pleased we were able to do that,” Rocky Mountain coach Chris Culig said.
The Grizzlies’ defense will face a much tougher test in No. 5 Capital, which racked up 504 yards of offense and scored 34 straight points against Borah in Week 1. A group of juniors, including running back Sam Sessou-Djokoto (222 rushing yards), proved ready for the big stage.
But Rocky Mountain is on another level right now.
Rocky Mountain 30, Capital 21
Bishop Kelly at Borah, 7 p.m. Friday
The addition of pods to the 5A SIC three years ago allowed these neighbors separated by less than a mile to resume their duels. BK leads the all-time series 6-1, with the first meeting not coming until 2001.
Both teams got off to a shaky start last week. Borah only managed 203 yards of offense in a 37-19 loss to rival Capital. And Bishop Kelly needed a 4-yard touchdown run from Cam Foley with 25 seconds left to pull out a 35-31 win at Kuna.
Bishop Kelly’s defense has only allowed 30 or more points five times in its last 49 games. Don’t expect it to happen again.
Bishop Kelly 21, Borah 13
Eagle at Highland, 7 p.m. Friday
Eagle impressed last week, pushing defending state champ Mountain View to the brink. The Mustangs are not as far off as previously thought with just one returning starter on both offense and defense.
But Eagle has its hands full this week with Highland defensive tackle Tommy Togiai, the 6-3, 300-pound senior with offers from Ohio State, Washington, USC, Oregon and Michigan, just to name a few. He dominated the offensive line of Nevada’s Galena last week, piling up 11 tackles in the first half alone.
“He’s dominant, from sideline to sideline — as a defensive tackle,” Eagle coach Paul Peterson said. “I’m hoping he’ll get tired somewhere along the way and give us a chance.”
Highland 27, Eagle 14
Meridian at Skyview, 7 p.m. Friday
Strap in for a quarterback shootout.
Meridian senior Nate Weddle completed 28 of 44 passes in Week 1, racking up 338 yards and five TDs through the air in a 46-45 victory over Centennial. He also added a rushing TD.
Meanwhile, Skyview junior Wyatt Storer finished 21 of 28 for 333 yards and six TDs in a 47-21 win over Lakeland.
But the difference will come on the ground. Spread the defense too thin, and the Hawks will run right through it with Tyler Crowe and Daniel Lopez. No. 1-ranked Skyview did just that last week, averaging 7.2 yards per carry en route to 180 rushing yards.
Skyview 42, Meridian 22
Week 2 high school football picks
Each week, Michael Lycklama of the Idaho Statesman will pick the winner of every high school football game in the Treasure Valley. Computer picks are made by using the Elo rankings popularized by FiveThirtyEight.com. The odds Elo gives each team of winning is also listed.
Cole Valley Christian at Declo (Thur.)
Capital at Rocky Mountain
Hunter, Utah, at Mountain View
Mtn View (78%)
Columbia at Mountain Home
Vallivue at Nampa
Meridian at Skyview
Boise at Emmett
Bishop Kelly at Borah
Caldwell at Centennial
Middleton at Kuna
Eagle at Highland
Canyon Ridge at Ridgevue
McCall-Donnelly at Weiser
Vale, Ore., at Parma
Fruitland at Ontario, Ore.
Payette at New Plymouth
New Plymouth (56%)
Melba at Homedale
Grangeville at Nampa Christian
Marsing at Orofino
Garden Valley at Idaho City
Garden Valley (58%)
Wilder at Tri-Valley
Shoshone at Rimrock
Pine Eagle, Ore., at Notus
Colton, Wash., at Salmon River
Salmon River (81%)
Timberline at Bonneville (Sat.)