High School Football

Who’s moving into the state football title games? Find out with our semifinal previews

Capital running back Micah Hagler drags a host of Rocky Mountain defenders forward for extra yards Sept. 1 at Dona Larsen Park.
Capital running back Micah Hagler drags a host of Rocky Mountain defenders forward for extra yards Sept. 1 at Dona Larsen Park. For the Idaho Statesman

MOUNTAIN VIEW AT EAGLE, 7 P.M. FRIDAY

The 5A’s top two defenses — Mountain View (9.4 points per game) and Eagle (13.4) — meet for the second time this year.

No. 1-ranked Eagle (10-0) won the season opener at Mountain View 22-19 in a game where both teams were held to their season-low offensive outputs. The No. 5 Mavericks (9-2) had won five straight over the Mustangs before the loss, including a 50-21 win at Eagle last year for a 5A SIC pod championship.

Both teams showed their offensive capabilities last week. Senior Jonas Loyens ran for 246 yards, and quarterback Slayter Jeffries ran for 148 and four TDs as Eagle outgunned Coeur d’Alene 48-39. Mountain View quarterback Tucker Rovig threw for 257 yards and four TDs in a 30-3 win over Highland.

A win puts Mountain View into the state final for the third year in a row, while Eagle is searching for its first state championship berth since 2011.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN VS. CAPITAL AT DONA LARSEN PARK, 7 P.M. FRIDAY

Capital hosts Rocky Mountain for the second time this fall. Rocky Mountain won the Week 2 meeting 38-33 after rallying from a 23-7 deficit, and it sealed the victory when Trevor Manu intercepted a pass in the end zone as time expired.

No. 4 Capital (9-1) has won eight straight since, including a 28-20 victory over Madison last week when the defense came up with the game-saving stop. Micah Hagler ran for 74 yards and two TDs, making up for an off night from quarterback Drew Korf, who threw his sixth and seventh interceptions of the season.

Capital last reached the state title game in 2009.

Unranked and defending champ Rocky Mountain (9-2) pulled off an upset last week with a 51-21 victory over previously unbeaten Lewiston. The Grizzlies continue to rely on their rushing attack, which averages 7 yards a carry and 344.6 yards per game. Rocky Mountain didn’t attempt a pass in the win.

BLACKFOOT AT BISHOP KELLY, 7 P.M. FRIDAY

The winners of the past seven 4A state titles meet for the fifth time in eight years, with the series split 2-2. Two of those games came in the state championship (both BK wins), while Blackfoot won a pair of quarterfinals over the Knights on their way to titles in 2012 and 2009.

No. 1-ranked Bishop Kelly (10-0) enters on an 18-game winning streak and as winners of the past three state titles, a first at the 4A level and only the fourth in IHSAA history.

The Knights hold opponents to 205 yards a game and to a 4A-low 11.5 points. Linebacker Daniel Cantrell (eight sacks) and end Raoul Johnson (10.5 sacks) lead the unit.

Unranked Blackfoot (8-3) has had an up-and-down season. Its three losses have come by a combined score of 112-38 to 4A’s undefeated Skyline and 5A state qualifiers Madison and Rigby.

SKYVIEW VS. SKYLINE AT HOLT ARENA, 8 P.M. FRIDAY

Two of the state’s most prolific offenses meet in Pocatello as Skyline (10-0) averages a 4A-best 46.3 points a game, while Skyview (8-3) averages 38.8.

No. 4 Skyview relies on its passing attack, led by sophomore quarterback Wyatt Storer. He’s thrown for 3,175 yards and 42 TDs, both single-season school records. He leans on a pair of tall, athletic wide receivers in the 6-3 Kyle Pierce (90 catches, 1,337 yards, 21 TDs) and the 6-4 DeMonte Horton (69, 942, 15).

No. 2 Skyline has more of a balanced attack headed by quarterback Bridger Taylor, who has thrown for 2,192 yards, 31 TDs and two interceptions. David Ames leads the Grizzlies with 1,551 yards from scrimmage and 18 total TDs, while Kyler Morgan has run for 1,015 yards and 10 TDs.

Skyview is in the 4A semifinals for the fourth time since 2010, but is searching for its first title.

Skyline dropped from 5A to 4A this fall after qualifying for the 5A playoffs last year. The Grizzlies haven’t lost since, reaching the semifinals for the first time since 2000.

SALMON RIVER VS. CAREY AT HOLT ARENA, 5:30 P.M. FRIDAY

Two of 1A Division II’s most successful programs meet as defending champ and No. 1-ranked Salmon River (9-1) reached the semifinals for the sixth time in eight years, while No. 5 Carey (7-3) is in the semis for the 11th time in 13 years.

But the two have not met since the 2007 state title game, which Salmon River won 46-42.

Salmon River has won five straight, including a 40-34 victory over Deary last week when Canyon Harper ran for 266 yards and four touchdowns.

GOODING AT FRUITLAND, 1 P.M. SATURDAY

No. 3 Fruitland (7-2) hosts No. 5 Gooding (7-4) for the second time this year after winning a Week 3 matchup 28-14.

The Grizzlies took advantage of four turnovers to win a game where they gave up 401 yards, just one of three times this season a Fruitland opponent topped 200 yards of offense. Wood River and Middleton, 4A quarterfinalists, were the other two.

Fruitland showcased a play-action passing attack early this season, but it relied on its powerful rushing attack (301.2 yards a game) late in the year.

Gooding started 2-4 after finishing second at state last year. The Senators have won five straight since against teams with a combined record of 14-30.

NOTUS VS. RAFT RIVER AT HOLT ARENA, 5:30 P.M. SATURDAY

Unranked Notus (9-1) continues to break down barriers.

Last year, it became the first 1A Division I WIC team to win a playoff game since 2007. It advanced even further this year, reaching the semifinals for the first time since 2002. The Pirates, who have never won state, last played in the final in 1999.

Notus faces its toughest challenge yet in Raft River (10-0), which is Idaho’s unanimously No. 1-ranked 1A Division I team and is MaxPreps.com’s No. 7-ranked eight-man team in the country. The Trojans’ average margin of victory this season is 41.6 points.

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama

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