Two of the top matchups in the state this week happen right here in the Treasure Valley with a pair of Top 5 matchups.
At the 5A level, No. 1 Rocky Mountain travels to No. 3 Mountain View. And in 4A, No. 1 Skyview hits the road for No. 4 Vallivue.
Those outcomes will go a long way toward shaping the narrative for all four teams the rest of the season.
Rocky Mountain at Mountain View, 7 p.m. Friday
The last two 5A champions meet in their yearly series, where the unexpected always seems to happen.
Two years ago, Mountain View rolled to a 44-20 win in the regular season only to have Rocky Mountain dominate the Mavs in the state championship game 41-22. And last year, the Grizzlies entered on a 13-game winning streak only to watch Mountain View break it 33-13 en route to a title of its own.
Rocky Mountain continues to attack defenses from all angles with its dual option and spread offenses. Even those two offenses hide another two offenses inside of them as Will McMullin and Colby Jackson have split quarterback duties in the spread, and Tre Page and Kyle Van Tonder are both running the triple option.
“We’ve got four quarterbacks that can play,” Rocky Mountain coach Chris Culig said. “The fact is they’re all living harmoniously, and that’s a good thing. They don’t get to play every snap, and quarterbacks are typically used to playing every snap.”
That quartet forces opposing coaches to prepare for everything. Mountain View coach Judd Benedick said he needs to put his team through a lot of reps to feel comfortable with a game plan. But this week, he’s forced to divide his time between different packages and making sure the Mavericks get the right personnel on the field to counter Rocky Mountain’s packages.
“When they get rolling, it’s pretty tough to stop,” Benedick said. “We’re going to have to find ways on defense to get stops. That’s easier said than done.”
Rocky Mountain’s multi-headed offense gets plenty of attention, deservedly, as it leads the 5A SIC at 45 points per game. But often overlooked is the Grizzlies’ defense, which quietly does its job and also leads the league at 14.7 points per game.
That defense will carry the day Friday.
Rocky Mountain 30, Mountain View 15
Skyview at Vallivue, 7 p.m. Friday
Friday features another contrast of styles as Skyview looks for its first win against Vallivue since 2005. (The two have only met three times since ’05.)
Skyview can light up the scoreboard with anyone in the state behind junior quarterback Wyatt Storer and senior receiver DeMonte Horton. Meanwhile, Vallivue remains one of the most physical teams in the Treasure Valley.
Vallivue scored the upset last season, grinding Skyview into submission for a 27-10 win and holding Skyview to its lowest offensive output since 2014.
Skyview will have to stay on guard for play action as Hawks coach David Young said Vallivue’s Lan Larison is the most deceptive quarterback he’s seen in 15 years. But if the secondary can keep from biting and the offensive line holds against the heavy blitzes that sunk it last year, the high-flying Hawks will break out.
“That’s one of the biggest keys, can we keep Wyatt upright and protect him?” Young said. “If we can protect him, we have a great shot.”
Skyview 28, Vallivue 22
Emmett at Middleton, 7 p.m. Friday
Third-ranked Emmett has steamrolled its way to a 3-0 record with a pair of wins over 5A opponents. The Huskies are averaging 50.3 points per game while holding opponents to 15.7 points, and they’re racking up 300 yards rushing a game.
Expect a tighter contest this week as the last three contests between Emmett and Middleton have been decided by seven points or fewer.
Emmett’s D.J. Crump stole the show last year with a pair of fourth-quarter interceptions inside his own 10-yard line, including one he returned 91 yards for a TD. He has stayed relatively quiet this season, catching just six passes. But he’s turned those into 235 yards and three TDs, averaging 39.2 yards a catch.
Look for another big play from the speedster to turn the tide late.
Emmett 34, Middleton 29
Week 4 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.
Centennial at Columbia
Borah at Boise
Eagle at Meridian
Rocky Mtn at Mtn View
Mtn View (57%)
Kuna at Nampa
Timberline at Capital (Sat.)
Mtn Home at Bishop Kelly
Skyview at Vallivue
Emmett at Middleton
Ridgevue at Caldwell
Wood River at Fruitland
Payette at Melba
Baker (Ore.) at Weiser
Nyssa (Ore.) at Parma
Homedale at W. Jefferson (Sat.)
McCall-Donnelly at Grangeville
Nampa Christian at Orofino
Tri-Valley at Idaho City
Notus at Salmon River
Salmon River (65%)
Cascade at Rimrock
Glenns Ferry at Garden Valley
Glenns Ferry (61%)
Council at Prairie