High School Football

History will have to wait; Borah football outgunned in 5A playoff shootout

Borah running back Ilaisa Makaafi celebrates a first-half touchdown run against Rigby. But the Trojans stormed back for a 35-21 win Thursday at Dona Larsen Park.
Borah running back Ilaisa Makaafi celebrates a first-half touchdown run against Rigby. But the Trojans stormed back for a 35-21 win Thursday at Dona Larsen Park. kgreen@idahostatesman.com

The Borah High football team was on its way to ending a 21-year drought without a playoff victory, racking up a 21-7 lead late in the first quarter Thursday at Dona Larsen Park.

But Rigby stormed back, scoring 28 unanswered points and pitching a defensive shutout the rest of the way for a 35-21 victory in the first round of the 5A state playoffs.

“Momentum is so big in the playoffs,” Borah coach Jason Burton said. “They got that stop, and then it just started to shift. They did a really nice job mixing it up to keep us confused all night. Kudos to them, they had the bend-but-don’t-break defense, which that’s what you’ve got to do to win playoff games.

“We just didn’t make plays. That’s just what it comes down to.”

Rigby (8-2) advances to the quarterfinals next week, where it will travel to the Treasure Valley again to face Mountain View (9-0). The Mavericks beat Rigby 50-0 last year on their way to a state title.

Down 21-7, Rigby senior running back Braden Youngstrom took over the game, finishing with 190 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries. He also caught three passes for 105 yards and a score as Borah’s defense struggled to bring down the hard-nosed and explosive runner, no matter where he got his hands on the ball.

He only had one carry for a 1-yard TD run as Borah (6-4) built its two-touchdown lead. But he squirted through a pile at the line of scrimmage for an 80-yard TD run to tie the game at 21 early in the second quarter, then added a 65-yard TD catch on a screen to give the Trojans a lead they’d never surrender.

Borah controlled the ball in the first half, running 47 plays to Rigby’s 19. But the Trojans held the lead thanks to Youngstrom’s explosive plays.

“He definitely brought the physicality,” Burton said. “It was just one of those things where he’s a home-run hitter, and he hit some home runs. Especially in the first half, when you have 19 plays on offense and you’re up 28-21.”

The loss kept Borah from winning its first playoff game since 1995, extending its playoff losing streak to eight games, including a game each of the past three years. But Burton pointed out the Lions’ seniors are also the first to reach the playoffs three straight years since 2001.

“It’s going to burn,” Burton said of the loss. “But we’re going to look back and there are a lot of positives, and I’m proud to be the head coach and coach a great group of guys and a girl.”

NEW PLYMOUTH 58, WENDELL 6

Coby Williams ran for four touchdowns in the first quarter as New Plymouth routed Wendell (0-8) in the first round of the 2A playoffs.

The Pilgrims (6-2) raced out to a 58-0 halftime lead, racking up 426 of their 498 yards of offense in the first half alone.

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama

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