Momentum can be a fickle beast, but the Rocky Mountain High football team may have found a way to tame it.
For the second game in a row, the Grizzlies ended their opponent’s opening drive with an interception.
Last week it was senior Coltin Barney who stepped in front of a Timberline pass. This week, senior Moses Nyirakomini picked off the first of three interceptions as the Grizzlies sprinted past Borah 32-6 on Thursday night at Dona Larsen Park.
It was Rocky Mountain’s fifth straight win, keeping the Grizzlies alone in first place in the 5A Southern Idaho Conference Pod A standings (6-1, 3-0).
“Our defense is amazing,” Rocky Mountain quarterback Christian Blaser said. “They are excelling on all levels.”
Entering Thursday’s game, Borah’s offense ranked second in the 5A SIC with an average of 447.5 yards and 37.2 points per game. Rocky held the Lions to 278 yards and a single fourth-quarter touchdown as Cal Criner and John Ti’a also came up with interceptions in the fourth quarter to seal the win.
“I think (those interceptions) were in large part because we were making the quarterback move in the pocket, and we tried to shut down lanes for him,” Rocky Mountain coach Scott Criner said. “He’s looking to throw the ball, and he’s really good. I mean, he might be the best quarterback in the league because he spins really well and finds lanes.”
Rocky Mountain’s defense kept Brown, who leads the conference in passing yards, scrambling all night. He completed just 46 percent of his passes (16-of-35) for 183 yards, one touchdown and three picks.
“Once we get an interception, that momentum, it just keeps going and going,” Nyirkomini said. “It also helps the offense out.”
Rocky Mountain scored on its second drive of the game after Nyirkomini’s interception got the Grizzlies started at their own 30-yard line.
Junior tailback Austin Lane — one of five running backs to get carries against Borah — scored on a 1-yard dive for the first of four straight Rocky touchdowns. Returning All-Idaho first-team running back Jake Roper sat out his third consecutive game with a knee injury, but he is expected to return next week, Criner said.
“Our goal is to get as many guys touching the ball as we can and get as many kids on the field playing as we can,” Criner said. “If we’ve got four or five guys that are running the ball, we’ll get a fresh guy in if they see something. If a guy gets a hot hand, we’ll let him stay.”
While the Grizzlies’ 25-0 halftime lead was the result of three rushing touchdowns and a 43-yard field goal from Jonah Dalmas, Rocky switched up its predominately run-first offense with a 30-yard TD pass from Blaser to senior receiver Josh Kraft in the third quarter.
“I thought we came today better prepared to throw the football. When they loaded the box, we were able to throw the football,” Criner said. “I wanted our kids to understand that we can do both, and I think our kids now understand that’s the way we do things. But we’ll take whatever they give us.”