Rocky Mountain tailback Jake Roper ran for 155 yards and two touchdowns, Cal Criner had a pick-six and the Grizzlies racked up 29 points — all before the end of the first quarter.
Roper went on to amass 242 yards and three TDs on the ground, Criner added a fumble recovery and Rocky Mountain dominated every facet of the game, rolling to a 65-20 state quarterfinal victory over Lewiston at Brighton Stadium.
Seven different players scored touchdowns for Rocky Mountain, which topped 600 yards of total offense. The Grizzlies (9-1) advance to host defending state champion Highland (9-1) in a 5A semifinal next weekend.
“We always want to throw the first punch,” Roper said. “Our coaches always say if you strike first, you’ll be successful. That’s what we did tonight, and everything just seemed to go our way.”
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It was an ominous beginning for the visiting Bengals. Rocky Mountain scored on its third play, a 61-yard burst by Roper. The 2-point conversion was successful and, on Lewiston’s first play from scrimmage, Criner stepped in front of a Colton Richardson pass and raced 21 yards to the end zone. Another 2-point conversion made it 16-0 — all with fewer than 90 seconds gone on the game clock.
“I thought we came in with a really good game plan,” Cal Criner said. “Coaches put me in a good position (on the interception), and I was able to make a play. I thought we had a great week of practice, and everyone came out focused and locked in.”
The onslaught continued. With Lewiston’s offense stuck in neutral, the Grizzlies continued to pour it on. Touchdown runs by senior quarterback Christian Blaser and Roper made it 29-0 after one quarter, and Roper, sophomore halfback Carter Kuehl and senior receiver Parker Allegood added second-quarter TDs to make it 49-0 at halftime.
Richardson and the Bengals found some footing in the second half, but it was far too little and way too late.
“Against their offense, I was still pretty nervous until we got that lead up to 30 or 40 points,” Rocky Mountain coach Scott Criner said. “I thought we prepared really well, we played smart on both sides of the football and the kids came out and executed. Now, we’re on to the next game.”
Austin Lane and Tre Page scored second-half rushing touchdowns for Rocky Mountain, with Jonah Dalmas adding a 45-yard field goal that just squeezed over the crossbar.
Richardson threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns for Lewiston (9-2), including 144 yards and two scores to junior receiver Riley Way.