CAPITAL AT MOUNTAIN VIEW
The Mavericks roll into the playoffs undefeated, as the state’s No. 1-ranked team and with the 5A SIC’s top offense (54.8 ppg) and top defense (10.6 ppg). The closest game Mountain View played this season was a 47-25 victory over Capital on Sept. 11. Capital advanced to the quarterfinals after Micah Hagler ran for a 1-yard, game-winning TD as time expired to edge Skyline last week. Wide receiver Sam Brixey ranks as Capital’s all-time single-season leader in receiving yards at 1,126. Mountain View held him to three catches for a season-low 43 yards in their previous meeting.
LEWISTON AT ROCKY MOUNTAIN
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Rocky Mountain comes off a bye week after closing the regular season with seven straight victories. Another win lifts the Grizzlies into the semifinals for the third year in a row. Rocky Mountain remains built around a strong running game (266 yards per game) led by Jake Roper and quarterback Christian Blaser, and a defense that is holding opponents to 14.7 points and 237 yards per game. Quarterback Colton Richardson leads Lewiston, completing 70 percent of his passes and throwing for 30 TDs.
EAGLE AT HIGHLAND
Bucky Schrader, the 5A SIC’s rushing leader, missed Eagle’s first-round victory over Borah with a leg injury. The Mustangs still ran for 248 yards, led by 74 yards from Dillon Cluney and 73 yards and five TDs from Gunnar Bradshaw. But the team hopes he returns this week. Highland routed Eagle 42-7 last year in the quarterfinals at Holt Arena, and Eagle has not reached the semifinals since 2011. Payton McCarthy took over at QB for Highland the past two games, but the Rams have relied on their defense, which is giving up 14.2 points per game and has scored eight TDs.
MIDDLETON AT BISHOP KELLY
These two 4A SIC rivals square off for the second time this year. Bishop Kelly beat the Vikings 28-13 on Oct. 16 to clinch a regular-season title and the right to host, thanks to five forced turnovers. Bishop Kelly led the 4A SIC in offense (36.6 ppg) and defense (16.6 ppg). BK also led in rushing offense (292 yards per game) thanks to a loaded backfield of Luke Burley (749 yards, 10 TDs), Ivan Torrez (692 yards, nine TDs) and Rex Irby (630 yards, nine TDs).
KUNA AT SANDPOINT
Kuna won its first playoff game last week since 1998, when it was a 3A program. QB Ben Ruwe (1,749 passing yards, 20 total TDs) has re-emerged as the Kavemen’s leader after losing his starting job in the middle of the season. Davan Norris leads No. 3 Sandpoint with 1,915 passing yards and 19 TDs. Sandpoint has won five in a row, and its three losses came to teams that are a combined 22-6.
SHELLEY AT EMMETT
A contrast of tradition is the storyline. Emmett returns to the postseason after winning its first playoff game last fall since 1995, and the Huskies are searching for their first state title in the IHSAA era. Shelley has won six state titles since 2003 and has reached the semifinals every year since 2011, when it competed as a 4A program. Mason Farnsworth leads Emmett with 1,097 rushing yards and 18 TDs. Johnny Carranza leads Shelley with 806 yards and 10 TDs on the ground.
PARMA AT HOMEDALE
Homedale blew out the Panthers 55-0 at home Oct. 16, shutting down Parma’s veer attack for one of its three shutouts this season. Another victory lifts the Trojans into the semis for the second time in three years. Homedale QB Lawsen Matteson, a two-time, first-team All-Idaho pick, has thrown for 2,463 yards, 34 TDs and nine interceptions.
NORTH FREMONT AT NAMPA CHRISTIAN
North Fremont has won five in a row, while Nampa Christian has won seven straight. Quarterback Steve Tiersma leads Nampa Christian (2,135 yards, 22 TDs, seven INTs), with Andrew Anderson (53 catches, 649 yards, five TDs) as his top target. The Trojans last reached the semis in 2008; North Fremont in 1989.
MELBA VS. GRANGEVILLE
Melba rides a five-game winning streak into the Kibbie Dome in Moscow, where a win will lift it into the semis for the first time since 2004. The Mustangs rallied in the fourth quarter of its playoff opener behind a 90-yard kick return TD from Christian Chavez and Chavez’s 15-yard TD on a halfback pass. Grangeville is looking for its second straight trip to the semis.
COUNCIL VS. DEARY
Council rolled past Tri-Valley 41-6 behind three rushing TDs from Brett Rosengrant in its regular-season finale last week to return to the playoffs, where it draws No. 1 and undefeated Deary at the Kibbie Dome. The Mustangs enter with plenty of hype, but they have not won a playoff game since 2008.
FRUITLAND AT SUGAR-SALEM
Don’t expect either team to air it out. Fruitland averages 325.8 yards per game on the ground, led by Kennon Smith (937 yards, 10 TDs), Garrett Tipton (467 yards, six TDs) and Scott Mackenzie (385 yards, six TDs). Sugar-Salem relies on Derek Ostermiller, who has run for 1,778 yards and 24 TDs. The Diggers are coached by Tyler Richins, the son of former Shelley coach Dwight Richins, who beat Fruitland for the 2009 and 2007 state titles.
RAFT RIVER AT NOTUS
Caleb and Kobe Zimmerman led Notus to its first playoff win since 2002, and its conference’s first postseason victory since 2007. A win against Raft River, which is averaging 50.9 points and hung 80 on Idaho City last week, would be another upset.
KENDRICK AT SALMON RIVER
Salmon River missed the playoffs last fall for the first time since 2004. But the perennial power has roared back with six straight wins. Kendrick QB Jerry Gorbett will make his third start after the Tigers’ starter broke his hand.
Capsules by Michael Lycklama