In a rematch of the 2012 1A Division II state championship game, Salmon River once again emerged victorious against Lighthouse Christian to advance to its third state title game in four seasons, beating the Lions 44-32 on Saturday in Riggins.
The Savages (9-1) play Deary (11-0) in the championship at 8 p.m. MT Saturday, Nov. 21, at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow.
Salmon River won back-to-back state titles in 2012 and 2013, but missed the playoffs last season for the first time since 2004.
“I am pretty impressed with the resiliency and the mental and physical toughness of our boys. After last year’s disaster, we finished the year out pretty strong with three wins after losing five in a row,” Salmon River coach Charlie Shepherd said. “We developed a chemistry and a work ethic, and they carried it right on through this year. I am really impressed with how the boys stepped up and took over.”
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In their semifinal Saturday against the Lions, Devin Buys led the Savages on the ground with 19 carries for 155 yards and a touchdown, while Canyon Harper collected 141 rushing yards and a score. Tucker Boyd and Rylie Travis each threw TD passes for Salmon River, and Travis also contributed two rushing touchdowns.
Despite finishing minus-3 in the turnover department, the Savages held their ground to eliminate the defending state champion Lions from the playoffs.
“It was an exciting game. We saw some great football,” Shepherd said. “We are pleased to be back in the title game.”