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5A State Championship Preview
Rigby and Rocky Mountain are set to go head to head in the state title game. Here's all you need to know ahead of Saturday
Published: 11/17/2020 3:42:34 PM


Two eras of high school football collide Saturday in East Idaho. 

The Rocky Mountain Grizzlies, who dominated the last decade, will clash with the up-and-coming Rigby Trojans, a new powerhouse on the 5A football landscape. Rocky Mountain owns two championships since the school’s inception in 2008, first winning the title in 2015, and again in 2018. 


Rigby High School, meanwhile, has existed since 1912. As for the football program, the Trojans’ first state championship came last year in a thrilling overtime win against the Coeur d’Alene Vikings. 

But 2019’s historic milestone came via an even more notable moment — Rigby steamrolled a previously unbeaten Rocky Mountain squad in last year’s 5A semifinals 31-9. The shocking upset ended the Grizzlies’ 22-game win streak. 

Heading into 2020’s championship, one has to assume revenge is a driving force in the Grizzly locker room.

If Rocky Mountain wants to enact its revenge and secure a third title, the Grizzly offense will need to replicate the magic connection between quarterback Kobe Warr and receiver Jordan Erickson that has proved so lethal in recent weeks. 

Erickson scored all three receiving touchdowns for Rocky Mountain in last week’s semifinal game against Coeur d’Alene. With all three of his catches resulting in six points, Erickson racked up 172 yards on catches of 75, 30 and 67 yards. 

Erickson’s lightning-fast route running is what concerns Rigby Head Coach Armando Gonzales the most when it comes to slowing down the Treasure Valley’s top offense. 

“(We’ve got to) stop the run and limit big plays by Jordan Erickson,” Gonzales said.

That won’t be easy, as Erickson averages 22 yards per catch throughout the season. Since the quarterfinals, the Grizzlies’ star receiver averages 44 yards per catch. 

While the Rigby defense might be able to key in on Erickson as a deep threat, trying to pick off Warr will be even more difficult. Warr, heading into last week’s game against the Vikings, had zero interceptions on the year. The Coeur d’Alene secondary managed two picks, an uncharacteristic night for the otherwise reliable Grizzly senior.

On the opposite sideline, Gonzales will be looking to identify Rocky Mountain Head Coach Chris Culig’s complicated defensive schemes, a Grizzly tent pole for years. 

“(We’ll need) correct identification of their defense so we can pick up their stunts and blitzes,” Gonzales said. 

No easy task, as Rocky Mountain possesses the third-best defense in 5A. The Grizzlies allow an average of 15.88 points per game. 

But Rigby is no stranger to strong defenses out of the Southern Idaho Conference. In the Trojans’ first playoff matchup, Rigby downed the Eagle Mustangs 35-28. The Mustangs hold the title for the fewest points allowed at the 5A level this season, with just 11. Just twice, the Trojans have been held below 20 points, with a season-high 56 coming against Madison to close out the regular season. 

The secret to Rigby’s offensive success lies in the seamless transition from last year’s senior leadership to this year’s retooled roster. 

Junior quarterback Tiger Adolpho replaced since-graduated quarterback Keegan Thompson, but Rigby’s passing game looks as good as ever. Adolpho averages 197 yards and two touchdowns per game, with just a pair of interceptions marring an otherwise strong statistical run through 2020. 

Adolpho, also the team’s third-leading rusher, has one of the few holdovers from last year’s championship team to rely on out wide. Senior receiver Trajen Larsen leads the team in yards by a nose, but Taylor Freeman is hot on his tail. 

Without Brigham Youngstrom — who scored the game-winning two-point conversion in last year’s championship game — Rigby has relied on a running back tandem to keep the offense chugging along. Zheik Falevai and Gabe Mobely have combined for 700-plus yards on the year, each averaging more than five yards a carry. 

Saturday’s 5A state championship kicks off noon (MST) at Madison High School. will live audio broadcast the game. Click here to listen.

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