Century at Twin Falls
TWIN FALLS • The Bruins only loss to a 4A team in 2015? A 35-14 defeat to Century. The Bruins last playoff appearance? A 34-6 loss to Century at home after winning the Great Basin Conference in 2013.
“We need to get the monkey off our back,” said head coach Allyn Reynolds. “They’ve actually beaten us the last four times. Our staff and players remember, it two years ago, and those sophomores on the sideline saw and they get it. This (Century) crew seems to have our number right now and we have to take our number back.”
The final score at Holt Arena two weeks ago — 35-14 — hardly reflects how even the two teams were much of the game, though the Bruins, having already wrapped up the No. 1 seed, were flat in the second half, according to Reynolds.
Coming off a first-round bye and with perhaps its best week of practice all year according to Reynolds, the Bruins are seemingly primed to finally break a four-year playoff-win drought.
But they’ll need to limit the Diamondbacks’ big plays as Wood River was unable to do last week, as Tristan Kayembe (who had 164 yards and touchdown against the Bruins on October) and receiver Dallin Blaser (173 yards, three touchdowns against the Wolverines) are capable of changing and dominating a game without notice.
The Bruins — more methodical but yet still explosive and multi-dimensional — will need to keep special teams from hurting it as it did the last times the two teams met, and as it to Wood River last week when Century’s fake-punt conversion seemingly changed the game’s momentum.
South Fremont at Gooding
GOODING • Once again hosting a second-round playoff game, the Senators get one of the toughest matchups on the board in District IV, at least based on most recent results — South Fremont.
Playing in one of the best conferences in the state — District 6’s Mountain Rivers— the Cougars upset previously undefeated Snake River 17-13 in the first round.
Gooding head coach Cameron Anderson and staff watched South Fremont in a Kansas City Playoff (which determined the 2nd and 3rd seeds from the district), and saw last week’s upset coming.
“They were the best team we saw,” Anderson said.
The Cougars are built similarly to Gooding — with a playmaking quarterback (Cody Tucker) and big-time weapons on the outside in Tyler Barney and 6-foot-6 Blake Bartschi.
They have one of 3A’s best two way players to boot, middle linebacker and running back Tucker Olson, who Anderson says the Cougars funnel offenses towards him.
“He’s a hammer,” Anderson said.
The Senators sport one of the state’s best secondaries, with Jed Pierson quarterbacking its 4-2-5 (the same scheme the Cougars run), and Anderson believes if it can stop South Fremont’s running game without committing extra defenders, it will have a good chance of outscoring them in the end.
Declo at West Jefferson
TERRETON • These are not your father’s Declo Hornets.
Last week in its state playoff opener against Soda Springs, quarterback Calvin Miles through for nearly 300 yards and six touchdowns... at halftime.
Miles, formerly a starter on a 5A school in Utah, stands 6-foot-3 and delivers one of the best passes in the entire state, certainly at the 2A level.
“If we just went exclusively and threw the ball every down, he would have numbers that are unbelievable,” said head coach Kelly Kidd. “The guy is just pure in the pocket. Throwing may be our identity, we will see how things go this week.”
Declo can still run the ball out of the double-wing when it wants to, racking up over 400 yards on the ground last week, using 12 different ball-carries.
Kidd, who year-after-year builds one of the best running teams in the area, has never had anything like this offense, capable of dominating teams with huge plays downfield.
“The long completion brings a certain kind of energy to the team that you can’t any other way on offense,” Kidd said.
With what appears to be an unstoppable offense, the Hornets will face a double-wing team in West Jefferson, which has won four games by nine points or less.
“(Panthers coach)Jason Taylor believes in four plays of two and half yards gets you a first down, and that’s what we’re going to see,” Kidd said. “I’m worried about our offense only seeing the ball once a quarter.”
If Declo is able to get off the field and get an early lead, things could once again get out of hand. If not, the Hornets will need to be super efficient. Should it win, Declo will likely face double-wing juggernaut Aberdeen who beat the Hornets 17-15 in the playoffs.
“We are as ready for the double-wing as we ever have been,” Kidd said.
Indeed, the Hornets have dedicated one day of a practice a week to stopping the double-wing in anticipation of its next two games, something it’s never done before.
Raft River at Notus
NOTUS | The Trojans pounded Idaho City 80-8 to make it to the second round, and look to advance by beating a Pirates team that won five games during the regular and beat Genesee 50-28 in the first round.
Head coach Brian Poole scouted the Notus last week and anticipates a far more competitive game.
"They have some really athletic, skilled kids and are really young," Poole said. 'They have the potential to be a very dangerous team. But we feel like if we execute offensively, we have enough weapons and are good enough up front."
The Trojans are firing on all cylinders, as one of the most balanced group of skilled players ride behind one of 8-man's best offensive lines.
It would play the winner of Oakley and defending state champion Prarie should it win.
Lapwai at Glenns Ferry
GLENNS FERRY | After beating Grace in the first round, Glenns Ferry is playing with house money, and now its getting greedy.
The Pilots, chock-full of speed, downed the bigger, bulkier Grizzlies. Now they get to play a Lapwai team that has been held below 42 points just once -- to mighty Prairie -- and has put 80, 99, 72 and 70 the last four weeks.
"We were excited and guys came out and played great last week," head coach Laif Morrison said. "Guys were hitting harder than they have ever hit and we executed everything well. We are peaking at the right time. But Lapwai is the complete opposite (of Grace). They are not big, but they are super athletic. They play a lot of backyard football where the quarterback scrambles around and their receivers get open, I don’t know if they run real routes, it will be a lot different."
"We just need to stop them one more time than they step us," Morrison said.
Valley vs Kamiah (Holt Arena)
POCATELLO | Most years, Friday night's matchup between undefeated Valley and near flawless Kamiah would be a de facto state championship game, but not this year, not with undefeated Prairie still defending its crown.
Only two teams have score more than a touchdown on the Kubs this year -- Lapwai and Prairie -- all of its other seven opponents have combined for a jaw dropping 12 points, including Oakley, which was shut out in its season opener by the Kubs defense.
The Hornets, in fact, are a team that Valley head coach Brian Ayers says resembles the Kubs.
"They are a very talented team, a lot of speed, very physical, well coached," Ayers said. "It's a similar style of play and great team speed, and they don't give you anything."
Few, however, have been able to keep the Vikings from taking what it wants.
With an average margin of victory at nearly 60 points, the Vikings fear no one. Over the last two seasons, only Prairie has slowed the Ben Taylor passing attack.
Last week, the Vikings struggled at times against a tough Hagerman team, losing key lineman Doug Elorrieta to a high ankle sprain in the first quarter, than running back/linebacker Kaleb Burk in the second quarter. Its undecided if Elorrieta will be able to play, which would be a huge blow. Burk returned last week.
Low on healthy players, Hagerman coach Mark Kress offered to forfeit its playoff game against the Vikings last week, but Ayers refused. And despite Elorrieta's injury, he has no regrets.
"Last week was exactly what we needed, a really physical game, and we needed the extra work there," Ayers said.
Kamiah, meanwhile, won a forfeit victory over Greenleaf Friends and hasn't played since Oct. 23rd against Prairie.
It could be an advantage for the Vikings, a high octane passing team that also gets the benefit of playing on turf in a dome.
Lighthouse Christian at Clark County
DUBOIS | The defending state champions travel to Dubois to face a 7-2 Bobcats team that beat Richfield in the regular season and to begin the playoffs.