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5A/4A State Football Quarterfinal Previews & Paul's Picks!
A look at the 2014 State Quarterfinal matchups in the 5A and 4A classifications around the state.
Published: 11/6/2014 12:32:08 PM
 

Follow Paul on Twitter: @IdahoSportsPaul

CLASS 5A

Mountain View Mavericks(7-2) vs. Madison Bobcats (6-3): Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m. (MST), Mountain View HS.
Watch the live web cast!

Mountain View might get the State-Wide Media Poll Rodney Dangerfield Award, if such a thing existed. Two early season blow-out losses to Rocky Mountain and Capital doomed them to obscurity in the minds of the media experts until last week, week nine, when they finally cracked the top 5. They stayed at the that spot this week as well. Fortunately for Maverick players, fans and coaches they were able to nurse the sting of being slighted in the media poll all year by taking last week off after they sealed up the West B #1 seed on the bracket.

Madison had to play last week, as they came in to the playoffs as the East #2 seed behind Highland who got the #1 seed. The Bobcats hosted Timberline and sent them on to winter sports beating the Wolves 42-20. Madison opened their season with a road loss to Capital 35-21. The rest of the season was a series of two-game winning streaks, each interrupted by losses to Highland and Skyline.

The lone common opponent was Capital, who beat them both. Mountain View lost to the Eagles in week 3, 45-16. After that loss, however, the Mavericks ran the table on the rest of their opponents, including a big 37-20 win over Eagle the last game of the regular season.

Mountain View likes to score early and often. Their defense does a very good job keeping their offense on the field. If Madison can score some points early and cause a few turnovers, they might have a shot. If Mountain View shows up on both sides of the ball it could be a long night for the Bobcats. 

Paul's Pick - Mountain View over Madison 42-30

Lake City Timberwolves (8-1) vs. Capital Eagles (8-2): Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m. (MST), Lake City HS.

Lake City made the long bus ride down to the Treasure Valley to play Rocky Mountain in their season opener. The ride home was seemed a lot shorter after the Timberwolves beat the Grizzlies with a 22-yard field goal as time expired by Lake City kicker Casey Bourque. After that, Lake City went on a tear the rest of the season, their lone loss coming to Tumwater HS out of Washington.

Capital won 7 of their first 8 games of the season, their only loss in that stretch coming to Eagle in week two, who won 24-23. Capital was up 23-0 in the second quarter and let Eagle score 24 unanswered points. Not a great day for the Gurkha warriors. After that, Capital rolled team after team until October 25th when they suffered their second loss of the season to Rocky Mountain, 54-36. The Eagles rebounded by beating Skyline in the opening round of the playoffs last week at Dona Larsen Park, 45-28.

Lake City has proved they can be consistent, even in the big games. Capital's defense is going to have to play a near-perfect game to stop Lake City. It's going to be close.

Paul's Pick - Lake City over Capital 36-26


Highland Rams (9-0) vs. Eagle Mustangs (9-1): Friday, Nov. 7 at 8:15 p.m. (MST), Holt Arena
Watch the live web cast!

This is one of those games we all wish we were watching from Holt Arena in a couple of weeks, but... it is what it is and here we are in the quarter finals.

Highland got to rest last week after wrapping up the East #1 seed and will be playing at home in the friendly confines of Holt Arena (this will be the Rams 7th game there this season). Highland is the only 5A team in Idaho to go unbeaten in the regular season. In fact, over the last two years, the only game the Rams have lost was the state championship game last November 22 at the Kibbie Dome to Coeur d'Alene 31-28. Over 40,000 viewers watched that game live online, setting a new record here at IdahoSports.com. (You can watch this classic again here.)

The last time these two teams played it ended with Eagle advancing to the semi finals after beating Highland 42-21 back in 2011.

This year, the Rams are on a mission to not let that state championship slip through their fingers like it did last year. With returning seniors Tristen Hoge (OL) and Clay Hirschi (OL) holding the line for Dakota Tillotson (QB), the Highland offense has averaged almost 42 points per game. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, seniors T.J. Togiai (DT), Kyler Manu (LB) and James Ryan (LB) have anchored a Rams defense that have held their opponents to a paltry 11.3 points per game.

Eagle, led by junior Bucky Schrader and his senior teammate Josh Labrador, nearly ran the table on the regular season before losing to Mt View 37-20 in the final game of the regular season. The Mustangs, the West B #2 seed, bounced back last week to beat Post Falls 35-21 at Thunder Stadium in the first round of the playoffs. The Mustang defense as been the keystone to Eagle's success this year, but I don't think they have gone up against a line quite like what the Rams have up front.

Coach Paul Peterson rang up his 100th win on October 10 after Eagle beat Vallivue 55-28. Coach Peterson now sits at 102 career wins and would REALLY like to make it 103 after Friday night. His Mustangs are going to have to play one heckuva football game to make that happen.

Paul's Pick - Highland over Eagle - 45-26


Rocky Mountain Grizzlies (7-2) vs. Coeur d'Alene Vikings (7-3): Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m. (MST), Rocky Mountain HS.
Watch the live web cast!

The defending champions from Coeur d'Alene have had a rough go of it this year, finishing the regular season 6-3 overall and 1-2 in conference play. The Vikings squeaked their way in to the playoff with the at-large berth after losing to Post Falls 37-36 the last game of the season. The biggest "bright spot" of the season was their game at home versus Highland. Not only did they only lose by three (the closes game Highland had all year) but they held the Rams to only 13 points (their lowest scoring output of the season).

Rocky Mountain had a bye week as a reward for being the West A #1 seed out of the 5A SIC. The last time they played was October 25th when they beat Capital 54-36 at DLP. The Grizzlies only had two losses this year. One in the season opener against Lake City at home (read the Capital vs Lake City preview) and then a drubbing on September 19th by Eagle 65-35. After that loss, the Grizzlies didn't look back and won out the rest of the season.

The Vikings will have their hands full Friday night trying to contain Rocky's running game, led by Jake Roper, who busted out for 4 TD's and 261 rushing yards two weeks ago against Capital, and Devyn Christian, who had 112 yards on 14 carries and two TD's in the same game. Especially playing short-handed after losing three more key players in last week's win over Meridian.

Paul's Pick - Rocky Mountain over Coeur d'Alene - 35-21

___________________________________________

CLASS 4A

Bishop Kelly Knights (7-2) vs. Skyview Hawks (6-4): Friday, Nov. 7 at 7:00 p.m. (MST), Bishop Kelly HS.

The 4A SIC was a tough place to play this fall. The top four teams could win or lose any given Friday. Because of that parity, Skyview, Bishop Kelly and Middleton all ended the regular season 4-1 in conference play and Kuna got in the playoffs with the new At-Large berth. The tie-breaker for the top three was based on point differential in conference games, BUT it was capped at 14 points. So blow out games, like 39-9 beat down the Hawks gave the Knights in the last regular season game, don't count as much.

I don't know if there is a Hallmark card that says, "Congratulations on winning 39-9. The team you beat will be the #1 seed and you will be the #3 seed".

The defending 4A state champions got to rest up last week with a first round bye. Skyview went on the road and beat Wood River 39-20 in the opening round. Both teams REALLY like to put points on the board. If the over/under on this game is 60 points, I am taking over. Bishop Kelly has big-game experience and a shiny blue trophy from last year on their side, but Skyview seems to be peaking and playing some pretty good football right now.

Paul's Pick - Skyview over Bishop Kelly 37-28

Lakeland Hawks (7-2) vs. Rigby Trojans (5-4): Saturday, Nov. 8 at 1:00 p.m. (PST), Lakeland HS.

Lakeland has looked good all season, their only losses coming to Post Falls and Cheney, WA. Attribute that to returning most of their team from last season, including Tyrel Derrick, the IEL Offensive POY, Dylan Piva, an all league LB, Brian Howell, an All League TE, Tuekota Tate, an All league RB, Chris Washburn, an all league LB and Kenny Cooper, an All League CB. That's a pretty impressive resume.

The three-team 4A IEL got two seeds on the bracket, which went to Lakeland at #1 and Sandpoint at #2. Moscow was the odd man out this year.

Rigby also returned a whole host of players this year (nine returning starters). The Trojans also benefited from a down year for the 4A 5-6 conference in eastern Idaho, which has been stacked top to bottom in recent years. With Madison and Hillcrest exiting the conference to move up to 5A in 2012 and now Bonneville jumping up as well, the conference has seen quite a few changes. The Trojans hosted Kuna last weekend to open the playoffs and won big 35-7. 

The game will be played up north and it is going to be cold, but both teams are used to that. This game will come down to the wire.

Paul's Pick - Lakeland over Rigby 21-16


Blackfoot Broncos (8-0) vs. Sandpoint Bulldogs (6-4): Friday, Nov. 7 at 6:00 p.m. (MST), Blackfoot HS.
Watch the LIVE Web Cast!

Don't call it a come back - Blackfoot's been here for years.

Last season is one that most Blackfoot fans and players prefer to pretend didn't happen. After playing for the 4A state championship four times between 2009 and 2012 (and winning three), last year the Broncos went 3-6 overall and didn't even qualify for the state tournament. This year they are back with a vengeance as the only undefeated team in the 4A ranks. They have out-scored their opponents this year by an average of 34.6 - 12.6.

Sandpoint comes in to the tournament as the 1-2B seed on the bracket. The Bulldogs had a good year as well, sitting at 6-4 after last week's opening round win against Century 57-6. They brought back a host of players from last year's team which is always a huge plus. All league players on both sides of the ball including Nate Loutszenhiser #19 All –League QB and Quinn Pearlstein #9 All-League LB.

I don't think it matters who Blackfoot plays. I just don't see them losing this year.

Paul's Pick - Blackfoot over Sandpoint - 56-20

Minico Spartans (7-2) vs. Middleton Vikings (8-2): Friday, Nov. 7 at 5:30 p.m. (MST), Holt Arena.
Watch the LIVE Web Cast!

Minico started the year off rough with two quick losses to out of state teams. The first was a close 31-28 loss to Douglas, NV at the Rocky Mountain Rumble. The next was a not-so-close loss in Utah to Sky View HS, 48-7. After that, the Spartans didn't lose again, winning the last seven games they have played. Their win over Wood River on October 24th sealed the deal for them as district champions and a bye in to the second round of the playoffs.

Minico brought back some key players from last year's team. Tanner Harper, a 6-0 190 lb senior returned at QB. He threw for 1900 yards as a junior. Danny Freiburger, a 5-11 190 lb senior. All State Josh Barclay, 6-4 250 lb senior, is a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the ball. 6-2, 175 lb Nico Chavez leads the WR core. He broke Minico's all time receiving records with 56 total catches last year. These are all guys that can dominate the play of the game.

Middleton was part of that three-way tie in the 4A SIC decided by point differential in conference games. When the dust cleared, the Vikings had the 3B seed and played Canyon Ridge in Twin Falls to open the tournament last week. Middleton escaped with a 20-17 win over the Riverhawks, who Minico beat earlier this season 41-6.

The Vikings had a big win over Skyview (47-18) on Sept 18, but followed that up a month later with a blow-out loss to Bishop Kelly (28-8). In the Power Rankings, Middleton has a ranking of 74.33. Minico has a ranking of 71.17. This should be a very tight game that might be determined by who makes the fewest mistakes, and who can capitalize on the mistakes made by the other team.

Paul's Pick - Middleton over Minico - 24-21





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