High School Football

‘People are scared of us.’ Rocky Mountain crushes perennial 5A SIC football power in stunner

Rocky Mountain’s Nick Romano breaks free for a 74-yard touchdown run on the third play from scrimmage during the Grizzlies’ 50-17 rout of Capital at Dona Larsen Park on Friday.
Rocky Mountain’s Nick Romano breaks free for a 74-yard touchdown run on the third play from scrimmage during the Grizzlies’ 50-17 rout of Capital at Dona Larsen Park on Friday. kjones@idahostatesman.com

Anyone in line at the concession stand missed it.

The Rocky Mountain High football team raced out to an early lead Friday before fans could get settled into their seats. Seven turnovers later, the Grizzlies walloped 5A SIC power Capital 50-17 in a statement win at Dona Larsen Park.

No. 2 Rocky Mountain (3-0) rode its pressure defense early and often, blitzing and confusing the Capital front to force four turnovers in the first quarter. The Grizzlies then responded with lethal efficiency on offense to put the game out of reach.

“As soon as we scored those touchdowns right in the beginning, we knew we broke their spirits,” Rocky Mountain linebacker Joe Strickland said. “That’s hard to come back from.”

Running back Nick Romano rushed for 155 yards and three TDs just in the first quarter, scoring on the third play from scrimmage. He also found the end zone four plays after Brayden Rundell’s first interception and two plays after Rundell’s second pick.

Rocky Mountain quarterback Colby Jackson did Romano one better, throwing a 22-yard TD to Kaden Birch on the ensuing play after Landon Albert recovered a fumble.

Add a safety that Capital punter Chase Miller took on a low snap early in the second quarter, and the Eagles (1-2) found themselves dazed and facing a 30-0 hole they could never dig out of.

“It’s about as bad as we’ve played at Capital in the 15 years I’ve been there to start the game,” Capital coach Todd Simis said. “ .. We weren’t ready to go. That’s on me. That’s on the coaches.”

Romano finished with 188 yards and four TDs on 21 carries as the Grizzlies racked up highlight after highlight. The 50 points Rocky scored is the most Capital has allowed since 2014 (also Rocky Mountain).

But it was the Grizzlies’ state-leading defense that delivered the stunning shot to a perennial powerhouse. The Grizzlies sent blitzers from all over the field, delivering blow after blow to Capital quarterback Ryan Hibbs and forcing him to make quick decisions. Rocky Mountain didn’t miss many opportunities to pounce on mistakes. Kaimana Nawahine and Noah Kraft each had an interception to support Rundell’s two.

“This game is a turning point,” Rocky Mountain senior linebacker Garrett Beck said. “... It proves to other teams we’re Rocky Mountain. We’re not going to stop. We’re going to come after you. You better watch out.”

Rocky Mountain has played only three games, but it has established itself as the favorite in the 5A SIC — and possibly the state — with wins over Mountain View and Capital. The schedule presumably gets easier from here until the final week of the season, when the Grizzlies host Borah. The Lions (3-0) are the only other undefeated team in the 5A SIC.

“After beating Mountain View and Capital the first three weeks, I feel people are scared of us,” Strickland said. “And that’s going to carry on throughout the rest of the season.”

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First quarter

RM — Nick Romano 74 run (pass failed), 10:35

RM — Kaden Birch 22 pass from Colby Jackson (Jackson to Birch pass), 10:22

RM — Romano 3 run (pass failed), 7:35

RM — Romano 61 run (Jackson pass to Justin Jones), 1:11

Second quarter

RM — Jacob Piscione safety, 10:29

CAP — Jonah Blackham 21 pass from Ryan Hibbs (Chase Miller kick), 2:48

RM — Birch 36 pass from Jackson (run failed), 0:17

Third quarter

CAP — Sam Sessou-Djokoto 1 run (Miller kick), 9:53

CAP — Chase Miller 21 field goal, 1:37

Fourth quarter

RM — Romano 4 run (Josh Pratt kick), 10:14

RM — Kaden Birch 6 pass from Zach Cameron (Pratt kick), 1:33

Individual leaders

RUSHING — Rocky Mountain: Jordan Erickson 10-38, Colby Jackson 3-7, Zach Cameron 1-(-1), Nick Romano 21-188, Anthony Jacobson 4-9. Capital: Sam Sessou-Djokoto 9-3, Ryan Hibbs 16-33, Gavin Piva 1-(-2), Jackson Beers 2-0, Sean Holstein 1-3, Chase Miller 1-(-14), Jake Jones 3-5, De’Andre Atkins 1-0, Team 2-(-16).

PASSING — Rocky Mountain: Jackson 13-17-0 175; Cameron 3-3-0 20. Capital: Hibbs 15-28-4 256; Jonah Blackham 0-1-0 0.

RECEIVING — Rocky Mountain: Payton Lamm 2-33, Kaden Birch 8-106, Conner Croft 2-10, Justin Jones 1-9, Brayden Hamilton 2-32, Maxwell Nead 1-5. Capital: Michael Holley 1-2, Beers 1-16, Blackham 6-189, Matt Ruhl 7-49.

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