High School Football

Rocky Mountain football fine with all-run, no-pass strategy entering 5A semifinals

Running game powers Rocky Mountain High football into 5A state semifinals

Defending state champion Rocky Mountain enters the 5A state semifinals relying on a rushing attack averaging 344.6 yards per game. The Grizzlies haven't thrown much this season partly due to an injury at quarterback, and because they haven't neede
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Defending state champion Rocky Mountain enters the 5A state semifinals relying on a rushing attack averaging 344.6 yards per game. The Grizzlies haven't thrown much this season partly due to an injury at quarterback, and because they haven't neede

Rocky Mountain’s game plan isn’t much of a secret.

The Grizzlies, their opponents and everyone in the stands know they’re going to run the ball. But stopping their option attack remains a tougher challenge.

Rocky Mountain didn’t throw a single pass last week in a 51-21 victory against Lewiston, earning it a spot in the 5A semifinals against Capital at 7 p.m. Friday at Dona Larsen Park. But Grizzlies coach Scott Criner points out he did call two passes that turned into quarterback scrambles.

“People make a big deal about that, but we didn’t need to throw the ball,” Criner said. “When you’re averaging 10 yards every time you run the ball, there’s no purpose.”

The Grizzlies planned a more balanced attack this year with Thomas Perkins under center. But when the senior QB broke his leg Sept. 22, Rocky Mountain turned to its five returning starters on the offensive line to lead the way.

Rocky Mountain is averaging 344.6 rushing yards per game, 7 yards a carry and has run the ball on 87.7 percent of its plays this fall. Those numbers top the rushing totals the Grizzlies put up through this point last year (261.5 yards per game, 5.8 yards per carry and 80.1 percent of plays) on their way to a state title.

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama

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