EAGLE AT MOUNTAIN VIEW
The Mustangs and Mavericks met for the 5A SIC Pod B championship in the regular-season finale last year. Reclassification has split them into two different pods this year. Coaches made Mountain View the unanimous preseason favorite in Pod A, and Eagle edged defending state champ Rocky Mountain for the top spot in the Pod B coaches’ poll. Both teams return 13 total starters, including Mountain View running back Keenan Pattwell and Eagle linebacker Todd Durham.
CAPITAL AT BORAH (DONA LARSEN PARK)
The Boise School District’s fiercest rivalry adds another chapter after last year’s historic upset. Borah edged Capital 49-42 in a game with 1,202 yards of offense, snapping a 14-game losing streak to the Eagles and Capital’s 37-game winning streak against district rivals Borah, Boise and Timberline.
MERIDIAN AT CENTENNIAL
Meridian has taken the last two meetings against its West Ada rival by a total of five points. The Warriors bring back eight offensive and six defensive starters after making the playoffs for the second straight year, including quarterback Nate Weddle and his top three receivers. Centennial, 1-17 the past two years, returns three starters on offense and four on defense.
ROCKY MTN. VS. PLEASANT GROVE, UTAH (HOLT ARENA)
Rocky Mountain begins its title defense on the road in the ninth annual Rocky Mountain Rumble, an event with six games over two days in Pocatello. The Grizzlies return their entire offensive line from a dominant unit last season but will have to replace most of their skill positions. Pleasant Grove, a state quarterfinalist in Utah’s largest classification last year, opened its season with a 19-16 win last week.
BOISE AT RIDGEVUE
Ridgevue, a new school split off from Vallivue, makes its debut in grand fashion with a flyover from a World War II-era Curtiss P-40 Warhawk fighter, courtesy of the nearby Warhawk Air Museum. The Warhawks debut a spread, no-huddle offense, and Boise will also take to the air behind junior quarterback Will McMullin, so expect a high-scoring affair.
KUNA AT BISHOP KELLY
The longtime 4A SIC and 3A SRV rivals find themselves in different conferences with Kuna’s move to 5A but will continue their rivalry. Bishop Kelly, the three-time defending 4A state champ, has won nine straight against the Kavemen and leads the all-time series 33-13.
TIMBERLINE AT EMMETT
Emmett, the reigning 3A state champ, won’t ease into its return to the 4A classification as it takes on Timberline, which has qualified for the 5A playoffs three years in a row. This is the schools’ first meeting since 2002, and Timberline leads the all-time series 3-2.
CALDWELL AT NAMPA
The Canyon County rivals meet for the 111th time. Nampa has won the past two contests, including last year’s 6-0 defensive battle. Former Bulldog assistant Dan Holtry takes over the Nampa program after spending the past four years as the defensive coordinator at Homedale. Caldwell starts the year young after graduating 31 seniors and doesn’t return a single offensive starter.
COLUMBIA AT CANYON RIDGE
Columbia hits the road looking to end its 24-game losing streak. Turnout is up for the Wildcats, who bring back 12 starters after going young last year. And Columbia scored a season-high 17 points against Canyon Ridge last year.
FRUITLAND AT MIDDLETON
The former 3A SRV rivals open the season against each other for the fifth straight year. Fruitland has taken three of the past four, including the Grizzlies’ 34-12 win at home last year.
JEROME AT MOUNTAIN HOME
The two Tigers meet for the eighth straight year, with Jerome winning the past five. Mountain Home enters the year on a 16-game losing streak, but second-year coach Jim Clark said his team is miles ahead of where it was last year.
VALLIVUE AT TWIN FALLS
The opening of Ridgevue forces Vallivue to return to the 4A classification for the first time since 2005. The Falcons went 46-49 at the 5A level and last made the playoffs in 2010. Despite losing 21 seniors to Ridgevue, Vallivue returns 17 lettermen from last season.
BUHL AT WEISER
Weiser looks to snap a run of three straight losing seasons with a strong summer turnout, Weiser coach John Srholec said. The Wolverines last played Buhl in 2011, the final game of a three-game winning streak against the Indians.
COLE VALLEY CHRISTIAN AT PAYETTE
The teams meet for the first time since 2008, a 32-0 Payette win, and for the second time in history. Payette comes off a winless season and installed former Meridian coach Kip Crofts to head the program. Cole Valley is led by eight returning lettermen, including first-team all-2A WIC quarterback Luke Lithander.
NEW PLYMOUTH AT HOMEDALE
The preseason favorites in the 3A SRV (Homedale) and 2A WIC (New Plymouth) coaches’ polls meet for the first time since 2011. Homedale also came in first in the 3A state media poll with 10 returning lettermen on offense and nine on defense. The Pilgrims bring back six starters on both sides of the ball.
MARSING AT PARMA
Marsing has lost back-to-back openers to Parma by a combined score of 106-0. Before the losing streak, 2A Marsing had won three straight against the 3A Panthers from 2011-2013.
WENDELL AT MELBA
For the fifth year in a row, Melba takes on Wendell in both teams’ season opener. Melba has won two straight and three of four.
MCCALL-DONNELLY AT OROFINO
With nearly its entire lineup returning, McCall looks to build on last year’s breakout season in which the Vandals qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Orofino won its first four games in 2015, but closed off the year with five losses in a row.
WILDER AT CASCADE
Now playing in different classifications, Wilder looks to extend its winning streak over Cascade to seven games.
NOTUS AT GARDEN VALLEY
With seven offensive starters back, Notus is loaded for a run at a second straight conference title. Garden Valley went winless last season, but the Wolverines are eyeing an end to a 10-game losing streak after a strong offseason.
MCDERMITT JV (NEV.) AT RIMROCK
Rimrock will field its own team after co-oping with Greenleaf last season. The Raiders hope to ease their way back into competition against McDermitt’s junior varsity team.
SALMON RIVER AT KAMIAH
The reigning 1A Division II state champions — and winners of three of the past four titles — return five starters on offense and four on defense. Kamiah, a 1A Division I program, has just one returning starter from last year’s state-qualifying team.
COUNCIL AT LAPWAI
Lapwai advanced to the 1A Division I state playoffs last season, losing to eventual state champion Valley. Expectations are high for Council, which returns nine lettermen on both sides of the ball from a team that lost in the 1A Division II state quarterfinals in 2015.
SKYVIEW VS. BOX ELDER, UTAH (HOLT ARENA)
This is the third year in a row the Hawks are participating in the Rocky Mountain Rumble. They lost 61-25 to Riverton (Utah) last season and 48-40 to Mojave (Nev.) in 2014.
Capsules by Michael Lycklama and Rachel Roberts