Months of sweltering summer workouts, two-a-day practices and countless hours in the weight room came down to pure chance Friday at Eagle High.
Eagle crushed Borah 41-7, triggering the running-clock mercy rule to force a three-way tie atop the 5A SIC Pod B standings between Eagle, Borah and Rocky Mountain. With all three teams in the playoffs and only seeding on the line, a coin flip determined who finished first, second and third.
Representatives from all three schools huddled on the Eagle turf for the coin toss. Borah and Rocky Mountain came up tails while Eagle turned up heads, earning Eagle (7-2, 4-1) the league’s top seed in the 5A state playoffs, a first-round bye and the right to host a quarterfinal game in two weeks.
“We’ve been so banged up. We’ve been hanging on,” Eagle coach Paul Peterson said. “Hopefully, we can get some of our injured guys back, and it gives us a chance to breathe a bit.”
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With the three-way tie broken, Borah’s head-to-head win over Rocky Mountain earned the Lions (6-3, 4-1) the second seed in the pod and a home playoff game next week against Rigby (7-2).
Rocky Mountain (7-2, 4-1) will travel to Post Falls (8-1) as the pod’s third-place finisher.
The Mustangs didn’t play like a team missing anyone Friday night, dominating Borah from kickoff until the final whistle to snap the Lions’ six-game winning streak. The back-to-back Pod B champions jumped out to a 41-0 lead after three quarters, invoking the mercy rule to start the fourth quarter.
An Eagle defense that surrendered 553 yards a week ago in a loss at Rocky Mountain rebounded to hold high-flying Borah to 252 yards.
The Mustangs did their best work containing 5A SIC-leading passer Jake Standlee and dynamic receiver Ellis Magnuson. Deprived of Magnuson (two catches, negative-7 yards), Standlee finished 5 for 15 for 37 yards. He had zero passing yards until the 1:16 mark in the third quarter, when he found Austin Bolt for a 37-yard completion while trailing 41-0.
“We got really good guys up front, and they’re working really hard,” Eagle senior linebacker Mackay Reeve said. “It’s allowing our DBs to get all the guys covered.”
Eagle had no such trouble on offense, racking up 475 yards behind senior quarterback Devan Bridgewater. He completed 15 of 18 passes for 238 yards and four TDs, including two to Nick Williams. He also ran for 76 yards on 10 carries and had a weaving, highlight-reel TD run called back due to a penalty.
“I thought Devan had the best game of his high school career tonight,” Peterson said. “It looked like the game was slower for him tonight.”