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Idaho High School Football Playoffs Recap: Semifinals
Some familiar faces advanced to the final round, but some lengthy championship-game droughts were also snapped
Published: 11/12/2023 4:22:52 PM
Brandon Baney
Managing Editor/Broadcaster



(E1) Highland 20, (W1B) Meridian 14

Highland (10-1) avenged their only loss this year by defeating Meridian (7-4) in a tight, defensive-oriented affair. The first points of the game didn’t come until under four minutes remained in the opening half of action. Drew Hymas threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Rhidge Barela to start the scoring, and the Rams led at halftime 7-0. Meridian answered midway through the third quarter on a 17-yard run from Cole Jones, but less than a minute later, Highland was back in front 14-7 as Jackson Riddle burst for a 78-yard touchdown run. The Rams extended the lead to 20-7 as Hymas hit Barela again for a 53-yard scoring strike. Meridian tried to come back in the fourth quarter, as quarterback Zeke Martinez scored on a six-yard run with seven minutes to play, but the Highland defense held from there.

(N1) Coeur d’Alene 7, (W1A) Eagle 6

Coeur d’Alene (9-2) persevered through strong, gritty, defensive play, and earned a nail-biter of a road win over previously unbeaten Eagle (10-1) to advance to the 5A state championship game. Eagle out-gained Coeur d’Alene in total yardage (326 to 148) and first downs (19 to 5), but a handful of mistakes loomed large for the Mustangs in the 7-6 loss. The Mustangs turned the ball over twice in critical situations in the opening half of play, as Alex Brown came away with an interception for the Vikings, and Jaysen Cady recovered a fumbled snap from Eagle quarterback Davis Harsin. One play after Cady’s fumble recovery, quarterback Caden Symons threw a 37-yard pass to Jamison Kizziar, Owen Harris broke off a 19-yard run, and Symons plunged ahead on a one-yard sneak for the Vikings’ only score of the game. Cady converted the PAT, and Coeur d’Alene led 7-0 at halftime. Harsin put Eagle on the board with an 18-yard run with 2:22 to play in the third quarter, but Lucas Bookholdt’s point-after try was partially blocked and ultimately missed. Bookholdt also had a chance at a 35-yard field goal with just 26 seconds to play, but his kick was pushed to the left. Eagle also saw a seven-yard touchdown pass from Harsin to Cal Huish get wiped out due to a penalty. On the same drive, the Mustangs bypassed a field goal attempt with 3:23 to play in the third, and attempted a running play on fourth-and-goal from the three-yard line. Kizziar tackled Noah Burnham at the one-yard line, forcing a turnover on downs.


(#1) Hillcrest 35, (#5) Skyline 31

It took a Hail Mary pass to Isaac Davis as time expired for Hillcrest (12-0) to defeat Skyline (8-4) in the regular season, and the semifinal rematch was just as close. Skyline struck first on an interesting play. CarMyne Garcia therw a 35-yard pass to Taylor DeMott, but as DeMott was running, the ball was stripped loose and recovered by fellow receiver Hamilton Woodruff. Woodruff scooped up the loose ball and ran the remaining 20 yards to finish off the touchdown. From there, Hillcrest built up a 28-7 lead and then held on as the Grizzlies made a valiant comeback attempt. Skyline simply ran out of time in the second half of play. Peyton King threw for 53 yards and a score for the Knights, while Tyson Sweetwood came in and completed 5-of-6 passes for 70 yards and a TD in relief of King, who exited at halftime with an injury. King added 41 yards and two touchdowns rushing, while Trason Keller added 79 yards and a score on the ground. Ben Morris caught three passes for 30 yards and a TD. Garcia completed 16-of-22 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns to lead Skyline. DeMott caught five passes for 89 yards and a score, while Amani Morel added four grabs for 72 yards and a TD.

(#2) Bishop Kelly 28, (#3) Pocatello 18

Bishop Kelly (12-0) followed a familiar formula to success, churning out significant yardage on the ground and forcing five turnovers on defense, to advance to the 4A state championship game. Peter Minnaert led the offense with 168 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, Markus Powers came down with two interceptions, while Cole Traverso and Noah Nienhouse also nabbed INTs and Maddox Rawson recovered a fumble. Nienhouse returned his interception 40 yards for a touchdown for BK’s fourth score of the night. Pocatello (7-3) was led by Ryken EchoHawk’s 97 yards rushing. EchoHawk scored on a three-yard touchdown run, Dre Contreras threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to Hunter May, and Garrett Keller kicked a 23-yard field goal to round out the Pocatello scoring.


(#1) Sugar-Salem 25, (#5) Weiser 7

Weiser (10-2) famously defeated Sugar-Salem (10-0) in the 3A state championship game two years ago, briefly halting the Diggers’ run of four titles in the past five years. Sugar-Salem remembered, as they succintly dissected a strong Weiser defense en route to a 25-7 semifinal win. Carson Harris ran for 85 yards and two touchdowns, while Tate Cutler added 74 yards and a TD. James Chase completed 12-of-18 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown to Cutler. Dawson McInelly led the Diggers defense with nine tackles, while Ryan Bingham collected four tackles and two sacks. Weiser’s Kolin Cook completed 7-of-15 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown to Brock Spencer, but the Wolverines’ vaunted rushing attack was held to 32 yards by the Sugar-Salem defense.

(#3) Teton 49, (#2) Homedale 42

Teton (10-1) will play in the championship round for the first time since 1999, thanks to quarterback Jack Nelson’s 25-yard touchdown run with just 13 seconds to play. Nelson completed 15-of-21 passes for 153 yards and three touchdowns in the vicotry, and added 83 yards and two TDs on the ground. Jack Joyce led the Teton ground game with 167 yards, while Thomas Heuseveldt added 141 yards and two scores. Heuseveldt also caught nine passes for 78 yards and a touchdown, while Joyce caught a 40-yard TD, as well. Homedale (10-1) was led by Dillon Fine, who completed 13-of-20 passes for 180 yards and three touchdowns, and added 209 yards and two touchdowns rushing. Andrew Marston added 113 yards and a score on the ground, and Luke Henry (five catches, 70 yards, two TDs) and Danny Lomeli (five catches, 53 yards one TD) turned in great receiving efforts.


(#1) Declo 38, (#5) Melba 16

Declo (11-0) stormed past Melba (8-3) to advance to the 2A state championship game. Melba held the edge in total yardage, 352 to 292, but five turnovers ultimately doomed the Mustangs. Bode Backenbury came down with two interceptions for the Hornets, Gavin Rasmussen also had a pick, and Bodee Laumb and Max Snedaker each recovered a fumble. On offense, Rasmussen ran for a pair of TDs, Snedaker returned a kickoff for a score, and Backenbury and quarterback Will Garrard each scored TD runs. Melba scored on a 12-yard pass from Cutter Beus to Noah West-Baranco, a 23-yard run from Ty Arrington and a 41-yard field goal from Nate Wellington.

(#3) West Side 22, (#2) North Fremont 8

West Side (8-2) controlled the clock with a strong ground game, and shut down North Fremont’s vaunted rushing attack at every turn on their way to another championship game appearance. Parker Moser ran for 156 yards and two touchdowns to lead the way, while Eli Brown also threw a 66-yard touchdown to Lincoln Henderson. Henderson led the West Side defense with 11 tackles and a fumble recovery, while Blayton Roach added 12 tackles. Crew Sage also came away with an interception. North Fremont (8-2) scored on a five-yard run from quarterback Jed Hill.


(#1) Oakley 50, (#5) Grace 20

Oakley (9-1) will attempt to win its fourth consecutive 1AD1 title this weekend, as the Hornets moved past the Grizzlies in the semifinal round. The scoring was balanced in the win, as quarterback Kyler Robinson led the way with two passing TDs and a receiving touchdown from Braig Bench. Bry Severe ran for two scores, and Isaac Cranney tallied a rushing and a receiving touchdown. Dallin Hardy hauled in a TD, and Bridger Duncan returned a kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown to round out the Oakley scoring. Grace (7-4) was led by Wyatt Cutler’s 122 yards and two touchdowns rushing. Gavin Draper also threw for 241 yards and a touchdown to Cutler.

(#2) Butte County 60, (#3) Logos 26

Behind a seven-touchdown night from Brody Westergard, Butte County (10-1) cruised into the semifinals. Westergard scored five rushing touchdowns, and added a passing TD and receiving TD for good measure. Quarterback Keaton Archibald threw two touchdowns and ran for a third, while Boston Anderson (receiving) and Rawson Twitchell (rushing) each found the end zone once. Logos (9-1) quarterback Jack Driskill threw four touchdowns for the Knights; two went to Ryan Daniels, while two went to Henry Sundlie.


(2A) Kendrick 88, (4B) Hagerman 20

The Tigers (9-0) have now won 24 consecutive games, thanks to another runaway victory over a quality opponent. Ty Koepp completed 11-of-16 passes for 398 yards and seven touchdowns in the win. Sawyer Hewett ran for 148 yards and three touchdowns on just five carries, while Hunter Taylor (two catches, 120 yards, one TD) and Nathan Tweit (three catches, 69 yards, two TDs) turned in strong efforts as well. Taylor also returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown, and Hewett caught four touchdown passes, giving him seven total for the game. Hagerman (9-3) scored on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Wyatt Mavencamp to Wyatt Hoskovec, an 11-yard pass from Mavencamp to Shaymus Merrill, and a nine-yard run from Martin Gonzales.

(4A) Camas County 67, (5-6A) Rockland 18

The Mushers (9-1) advanced to the championship for the first time since 1981, using their typical balance to get the job done. Troy Smith led the way, rushing for 228 yards and three touchdowns, catching four passes for 113 yards and a score, and collecting 11 tackles and a sack on defense. Tyson Tupper added a pair of rushing TDs and a receiving score, while Tristen Smith threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score. Rockland (8-3) was led by Teague Matthews, who threw for 225 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 219 yards and two scores. Abe Held caught 13 passes for 155 yards and a TD, as well.

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