Carey (11-0) vs. Lighthouse Christian (10-1), 7 p.m. at Holt Arena
Two District 4 teams will square off for the 1A Division II state title on Thursday, and there’s very little the teams don’t know about one another.
In fact, the two squared off on Aug. 31 in each team’s second contest of the year. The Panthers ran away from the Lions for a 34-8 win.
That is the closest game Carey has played all season.
After that contest, both Lighthouse Christian coach Cory Holloway and Carey senior Porter Mecham said they wouldn’t be surprised if the two met again in the state playoffs. And here they are.
The Panthers continued their dominant season with an 80-36 semifinal win last against Kendrick, the only other team yet to lose a game in 1A Division II going into the game.
Lighthouse Christian’s meeting with Salmon River in the semifinals wasn’t quite as straightforward. The Lions pulled away in the second half for a 40-26 victory.
Carey will be aiming to win its second straight state championship, while Lighthouse Christian will be hoping to capture its first title since 2014.
Declo (11-0) vs. North Fremont (11-0), 5:30 p.m. at Holt Arena
Declo and North Fremont both emerged from the 2A semifinals that consisted of four unbeaten teams. Now, only one can remain perfect.
The Hornets have not lost since the 2016 state title game, and they’re aiming to repeat as 2A champions. North Fremont has not won a state title since 1989.
Led by seven touchdowns from Boise State commit Keegan Duncan, Declo cruised to a 61-28 victory against West Side in the semifinals on Saturday.
The Huskies defeated Grangeville 57-28 to punch their ticket to the championship game.
Declo and North Fremont have two common opponents from this campaign. The Hornets beat Aberdeen 22-14 and Ririe 41-21, while the Huskies beat those teams 29-6 and 27-6, respectively.
The Hornets are looking to capture their fourth state title in the past seven years.
Valley (10-1) vs. Oakley (9-2), 8:15 p.m. at Holt Arena
The 1A Division I state championship game pits the a pair of Snake River Conference teams. One of Oakley’s two losses this season came at the hands of Valley, but Friday’s title tilt is shaping up to be far different than the one that took place on Sept. 21 in Hazelton.
That night, the Hornets were without several of their key players, and it showed, as the Vikings dominated in a 50-8 victory. With most of those key figures back, including senior Austin Bedke and juniors Josh Nyman and Chandler Jones, Oakley expects a much more closer result.
The Hornets, who had lost to Prairie in three of the past four postseasons, finally defeated the Pirates 26-22 in the semifinals on Friday, thanks to their stout defense.
Valley came from behind to take a late lead against Wilder in its semifinal game on Saturday, and iced a 42-40 victory with an interception by Jason Hardy inside the Vikings’ 10-yard line with 18 seconds to go.
The Vikings are making a return to the state title game for the first time since winning it in 2015, while Oakley lost the title game in 2016 and is searching for its first championship since 2009.