The meat of the high school football schedule kicks off this week as the 5A Southern Idaho Conference starts its pod schedules, and the 3A and 2A leagues also begin their conference slates.
The first month of the season allows coaches to work out kinks and learn what their teams are made of. Now, the sprint for the playoffs begins.
“Everyone knows what’s at stake,” Borah coach Jason Burton said. “We tell guys by Week 5, we need to be playing the best football of the year. … The next five weeks are the most important weeks of the season.”
But the top matchup of the week comes at the 4A level, which started league play two weeks ago. Its playoff race is already taking shape.
Skyview at Emmett, 7 p.m. Friday
Emmett fell to 1-1 in conference play after surrendering a 20-0 second-half lead in a loss to Middleton last week. So the game takes on extra importance for the Huskies.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a must-win,” Emmett coach Zane Hines said. “But it’s one if we want to compete for the league championship, which is a goal we have, this is one of the games we have to win.”
Hines said Emmett will need to shore up its secondary, which blew just enough coverages against Middleton’s spread passing attack to give up 27 second-half points. The task won’t get any easier against Skyview’s potent aerial attack, led by the league’s leading passer (Wyatt Storer) and receiver (DeMonte Horton).
“It was four, five plays where we had some missed assignments,” Hines said of the loss to Middleton. “We’ve got to make sure that doesn’t happen this week.”
Skyview’s defense has a challenge in front of it as well. Starting quarterback Dylan Bemis returns to Emmett’s lineup, and the Huskies lead the 4A classification at 42.8 points per game.
The Huskies have run the ball at will (306 yards per game) behind Jake Whittemore and Michael Walker in their I-formation attack. Emmett would love nothing more than to line up and physically impose its will on the Hawks.
“Between the two of them, they’ve got a fantastic 1-2 punch,” Skyview coach David Young said. “The No. 1 thing we have to do is address the run and stop the run. If we don’t do that, we’re in for a long night.”
Settle in for a shootout, a matchup that doesn’t favor a secondary licking its wounds.
Skyview 42, Emmett 35
Vallivue at Bishop Kelly, 7 p.m. Friday
Undefeated and No. 2-ranked Bishop Kelly (4-0, 2-0 4A SIC) remains a hard team to get a read on.
After graduating 18 of 22 starters, the Knights started the year squeaking out wins against 5A programs Kuna and Borah by a combined five points. Then they started their conference schedule with routs of Caldwell and Mountain Home.
“We’re getting better and we’re eliminating mistakes,” Bishop Kelly coach Tim Brennan said. “We’ll find out if we’ve eliminated enough on Friday night.”
Vallivue (2-2, 0-2 4A SIC) enters as a desperate team after losing its first two conference games. A third straight loss creates a canyon for the Falcons to dig out of and stay in the playoff race.
Vallivue remains a physically dominating team up front. But few teams have been more physical than the Knights in the past decade.
Bishop Kelly 27, Vallivue 15
Centennial at Borah, 1 p.m. Saturday
It may be the first week of the pod schedule, but with Rocky Mountain and Eagle penciled in for two of the 5A SIC Pod B playoff spots, Centennial and Borah need a win Saturday to boost their playoff odds.
Borah’s offense has gained plenty of ink lately with junior quarterback Jake Standlee throwing for 300 or more yards the past three weeks. But it’s the Lions’ defense that will need to stand tall Saturday.
Centennial poses a tricky Xs and Os challenge with its spread attack giving quarterback Dayne Koch a run and pass option on nearly every play, Burton said.
“It makes us have to be disciplined at every single position, which puts pressure on every single position,” Burton said.
But the Lions’ defense has lived off its ability to create mistakes all season, forcing a 5A SIC-high 17 turnovers. A couple more will tilt the score Borah’s way.
Borah 20, Centennial 15
Week 5 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.
Mountain View at Boise (Thur.)
Mtn View (91%)
Capital at Columbia
Meridian at Nampa
Eagle at Kuna (Thur.)
Timberline at Rocky Mountain
Rocky Mtn (79%)
Centennial at Borah (Sat.)
Vallivue at Bishop Kelly
Skyview at Emmett
Caldwell at Middleton
Ridgevue at Mountain Home
Payette at Fruitland
Weiser at Homedale
Grangeville at Parma
Melba at Marsing
Cole Valley at McCall-Donnelly
Cole Valley (52%)
Nampa Christian at New Plymouth
New Plymouth (70%)
Idaho City at Cascade
Idaho City (62%)
Horseshoe Bend at Garden Valley
Garden Valley (54%)
Wilder at Council
Notus at Shoshone
Rimrock at Tri-Valley
Salmon River at Lapwai