Smoke from wildfires throughout the West have already forced two high school football postponements.
Timberline will face Boise at 1 p.m. Saturday at Dona Larsen Park, and New Plymouth will host Nyssa, Ore., at 2 p.m. Saturday.
More could be on the way Friday night.
Officials throughout the 5A and 4A Southern Idaho Conferences are expected to make final decisions by 2 p.m. Friday. The Boise, West Ada and Nampa school districts all have a policy that will not allow athletes to play or practice outside once the air quality index cross 150 into the unhealthy range.
The air quality doesn’t have to drop below 150 before 2 p.m., but district officials need a strong case to believe it will before kickoff.
Assuming the smoke doesn’t wreak havoc with the schedule, here’s what to watch for in Week 3.
Highland at Capital, 7 p.m. Friday
Two of the state’s most storied programs meet at Dona Larsen Park. Highland has reached the playoffs every year for two-plus decades, while defending state runner-up Capital has qualified for the playoffs 10 years in a row.
But both are looking for redemption Friday after mistakes cost them a victory last week.
Capital coach Todd Simis said that loss could pay off in the long run for a young team that went undefeated on JV last season.
“Losing is not fun, so maybe it caught their attention,” Simis said.
The road back starts with stopping, or at least slowing, one of the most dominant defensive linemen to come out of Idaho in years — Highland defensive tackle Tommy Togiai, who has offers from Ohio State, Washington and USC, among many others.
“Sometimes when he’s tackling guys, holy cow, the strength,” Simis said. “He just ragdolls them. Our guys have got to protect the football.”
Capital will have its hands full with Togiai. But look for the Eagles defense to take advantage of a turnover-prone offense.
Capital 22, Highland 14
Fruitland at Gooding, 7 p.m. Friday
Fruitland (2-0) swept the season series last season, beating the Senators (2-0) by a pair of touchdowns in the regular season and in the state semifinals.
Both of those games were in Fruitland, but few teams in the state have proven they can slow the Grizzlies’ vaunted and physical rushing attack. A stable of running backs cycle in and out of the lineup, but the real stars reside up front.
“I have been impressed with our offensive line and how physical they are,” Fruitland coach Ryan Tracy said. “You can have guys that are physical, but they’ve got to be smart guys too. I’ve been impressed with how dialed in they are on our blocking schemes. They just seem like they’re miles ahead of any group I’ve had.”
Fruitland 29, Gooding 22
Vallivue at Middleton, 7 p.m. Friday
Quarterbacks from Vallivue (2-0) and Middleton (0-2) — I repeat, Vallivue and Middleton, two of the most run-heavy programs in the Treasure Valley the past decade — threw for four touchdowns last week. Take a moment for that to settle in.
Middleton ditched its traditional double-wing attack this fall for a spread offense led by senior quarterback Darin Post. Vallivue is still running for 303.5 yards per game, but sophomore Lan Larison has added an aerial threat to the offense.
Middleton knocked the Falcons out of the playoff hunt last year with a 10-0 victory. Don’t expect another low-scoring battle. But count on Vallivue seeking revenge to open the 4A SIC schedule.
“This is as important of a game as at the end of the season, if not more,” Middleton coach Bill Brock said. “Football, if you compare it to other sports, the district tournament starts this week. We’ve got to step up.”
Vallivue 35, Middleton 21
Mountain View at Centennial, 7 p.m. Friday
Centennial is making waves for a turnaround. The Patriots return nine starters on offense and seven on defense and are averaging 37.5 points per game through two weeks. That’s up from 13 points a game a year ago.
But the turnaround will have to wait another week for the start of the 5A SIC pod schedule. Defending state champ Mountain View has won six in a row against its district rival, including back-to-back, 42-0 blowouts.
Mountain View 35, Centennial 14
Week 3 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.
Boise at Timberline (Thur.)
Highland at Capital
Mountain View at Centennial
Mtn View (84%)
Nampa at Eagle
Rocky Mountain at Meridian
Rocky Mtn (78%)
Kuna at Rigby
Caldwell at Bishop Kelly
Mountain Home at Emmett
Vallivue at Middleton
Skyview at Ridgevue
Fruitland at Gooding
Vale, Ore., at Homedale
Parma at Nampa Christian
Weiser at Ontario, Ore.
Marsing at Payette
Rockland at Rimrock
Idaho City at Council
Notus at Tri-Valley
Garden Valley at Wilder
Salmon River at Prairie
Salmon River (60%)
Columbia at Borah (Sat)
Nyssa, Ore., at New Plymouth (Sat)
New Plymouth (61%)
Salmon at Cole Valley Christian (Sat.)
Cole Valley (69%)