High School Football

Previews for six Treasure Valley football teams in state semifinals

Rocky Mountain quarterback Christian Blaser eyes the defense as he hands the ball off to Jake Roper earlier this season.
Rocky Mountain quarterback Christian Blaser eyes the defense as he hands the ball off to Jake Roper earlier this season. kjones@idahostatesman.com

FRIDAY’S GAMES

MOUNTAIN VIEW VS. MADISON

Predetermined playoff brackets sent undefeated and No. 1-ranked Mountain View on the road for a 6 p.m. kickoff at Pocatello’s Holt Arena, where the Mavericks seek their first road playoff victory since the school opened in 2003.

A Mountain View win would snap the 5A SIC’s 17-game losing streak in playoff games outside of the Treasure Valley.

Mountain View has trailed twice all season, with both coming in the first quarter of its past two games. TreyTon Bell continues to lead the Mavericks with 2,374 all-purpose yards and has scored 28 TDs.

QB Konner Stoneberg leads Madison with 2,167 yards and 22 TDs through the air, along with 606 yards and 13 TDs on the ground. Receiver Josh Crane has caught 53 passes for 974 yards and 10 TDs while adding seven return touchdowns.

The Mavericks edged Madison 27-19 in the quarterfinals last season.

HIGHLAND AT ROCKY MOUNTAIN

The two programs meet in the 5A semifinals for the third straight year, but Rocky Mountain gets to host this time (7 p.m., Brighton Stadium). The Rams won 42-25 in 2014 and 24-6 in 2013 with both games in Pocatello’s Holt Arena.

Both teams enter with one loss. Highland lost to Coeur d’Alene 27-3 on Sept. 25, while Rocky Mountain has won eight straight following a 44-20 loss to unbeaten Mountain View on Sept. 3.

Rocky Mountain relies on its rushing attack, averaging only 11.9 pass attempts per game. Quarterback Christian Blaser (765 yards, 10 TDs) and running back Jake Roper (1,001 yards, 13 TDs) lead the ground attack. But Highland’s defense holds opponents to 77.8 rushing yards and 15.5 points per game.

Junior Payton McCarthy will start his fourth game at QB for the Rams after Connor Harding (a BYU basketball signee) moved back to receiver.

HOMEDALE AT GOODING

Homedale returns to the 3A semifinals for the second time in three years, looking for its first state championship appearance since 1999, when it was a 2A program.

The Trojans posted their fourth shutout of the season last week in the quarterfinals, and they enter as 3A’s No. 1 defense at 11.2 points allowed per game. Senior QB Lawsen Matteson leads the offense with 2,652 passing yards, 37 TDs and nine interceptions.

Gooding has won five in a row, including a 34-33 victory last week when South Fremont missed a field goal as time expired.

GRANGEVILLE AT NAMPA CHRISTIAN

Nampa Christian returns to the semifinals for the first time since 2008; it hasn’t reached the finals since 1996.

Both teams feature rare passing attacks for 2A programs. Nampa Christian QB Steve Tiersma has thrown for 2,385 yards and 25 TDs with seven interceptions, and Andrew Anderson has hauled in 60 passes for 786 yards and six TDs.

Grangeville returns to the semis for the second straight year behind QB Layton Harris, who set school records for passing TDs (28) and yards (2,243) last year.

SATURDAY’S GAMES

SUGAR-SALEM AT EMMETT

Two of 3A’s top running backs meet at 1 p.m. at Emmett High.

Emmett senior Mason Farnsworth has run for 1,296 yards and 20 TDs while averaging 11.2 yards per carry, and Sugar-Salem senior Derek Ostermiller has run for 1,915 yards and 23 TDs while averaging 8.7 yards per carry.

While Sugar-Salem relies on its running attack, Emmett also poses a threat through the air. Huskies QB Saige Wilkerson has completed 63 percent of his passes for 1,417 yards for 19 TDs with three interceptions.

Sugar-Salem has reached the semifinals for the first time since 1999, and the Diggers haven’t played in the finals since 1988. Emmett returns to the semifinals for the second year in a row, but it has yet to reach a state championship game.

LIGHTHOUSE AT SALMON RIVER

These teams have combined to win the past four 1A Division II state championships.

Although Salmon River missed the playoffs last year for the first time since 2004, it has been dominant all season, save for a 58-24 loss to defending 1A Division I champion Prairie on Sept. 11.

Salmon River and Lighthouse Christian last played in 2012, when Salmon River beat the Lions 53-38 in the championship game to avenge a 2011 quarterfinal loss.

Capsules by Michael Lycklama and Rachel Roberts

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