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Battle of the Bridge
Here's what to expect ahead of Wednesday's matchup between the Rigby Trojans and Madison Bobcats
Published: 2/4/2020 10:32:53 AM
Summer Dabell
Staff Writer
 

Rigby photograph by RHS Yearbook staff

Rigby vs. Madison.

Trojans vs. Bobcats.

As rosters, jerseys and courts changed throughout the years, the rivalry remained a constant. 

Anyone who has been to a Madison-Rigby game knows how electric the atmosphere can be around Eastern Idaho’s premier rivalry matchup. For years, the two gyms have never failed to fill every seat, resorting to standing room only for a pair of passionate fan groups. 

"Both teams play like it’s a state championship game,” said Madison Head Coach Travis Schwab. “There isn't anything like it. There won't be an open seat."

But what makes a game night between the Trojans and Bobcats so special?

The origins of the rivalry go back to the two coaches who solidified both schools as basketball powerhouses — Elliot Anderson and Billy Hawkins. 

Anderson led Rigby to seven of their 10 state championships. Hawkins, meanwhile, served as head coach for 29 years, bringing five state titles and plenty of hardware home to the Madison trophy case.

"Those two coaches created these programs into powerhouses,” Schwab said. “This rivalry is so special because of tradition. I'm so honored to be a part of it.”

But no amount of history can help District 5-6’s top two teams Wednesday night, as both the Bobcats and Trojans are eager to snatch a definitive first-place slot in the standings with just a few weeks left in the regular season. 

The two have not seen each other since last year's thrilling district championship. The two teams met a total of five times last season. Of those contests, the Bobcats emerged victorious four times, with the Trojans sneaking one past Madison 54-44 on Valentine’s Day.

But despite the Bobcats going 4-1 against Rigby last season, every matchup came down to the wire. Just 24 combined points separated the two schools during those five matchups, and with both teams heading into Wednesday undefeated in conference, another nailbiter should be on tap at Rigby High School. 

Rigby returns four starters in Tanoa Togia, Britton Berrett, Brycen Uffens and Keegan Thompson. The Trojans play a fast-paced game and have threats from the inside and outside. Berrett will be playing in some of his last rivalry games as the 2020 season comes to a close.

"It's such a crazy game to play in,” he said. “Your adrenaline is pumping the whole game. The fans are awesome and everyone just comes out to watch.”

On the other side of Lorenzo Bridge, the Bobcats return three players with state championship experience in Mark Williams, Dawson Wills and Carson Downey. The Bobcats are proving to be a strong defensive team. Before Christmas break, they notched an impressive 50-34 win over Post Falls, a team who earned third place at last year's state tournament. 

Rigby Head Coach Justin Jones is no stranger to the Trojan-Bobcat rivalry, now in his 10th season with the team. 

"It is just an awesome atmosphere,” Jones said. “They are always good games and people love to come out and watch. It is always an exciting time.”

The Bobcats and Trojans tip off 7:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at Rigby High School.

 
 


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