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4A Semi-Final "Milk Bowl" Game Previews
My thoughts and predictions on this weekend's 4A State Semi-Final games
Published: 11/11/2015 11:51:30 AM
It would be hard to argue against the statement that the 4A classification was a bit "down" this year, with mediocre teams doing really well in a field of under-performing teams. Like it always does though, the cream rose to the top and this year's semi-final match-ups appear to be the four, truly, best 4A teams in the state. 

Bishop Kelly Knights (8-2) vs Century Diamondbacks (8-3)
11/12/15 @ Holt Arena 5:30pm - Watch it live here

Bishop Kelly definitely enjoyed the love of the pollsters this year, being #1 or #2 pretty much every week in both the state-wide media poll and the poll. The Knights are going after their third straight 4A championship and fourth state championship since 2010. Their only losses on the season came in back-to-back weeks to 5A teams Timberline and Borah. Bishop Kelly sailed through their conference schedule unbeaten against teams that finished with a combined record of 18-32.

Century came in to the pre-season with high hopes and a new head coach Travis Hobson, former top guy at perennial 3A powerhouse Shelley. Right off the bat they got clobbered by conference rival Rigby 33-7. After that though, their only losses the rest of the season were to 5A teams, Highland and Skyline. Last week's overtime won over Twin Falls, who was a top 5 team most of the year, shows that the Diamondbacks are hitting their stride at the right time.

Coming in to Thursday night's game we have a virtually untested Bishop Kelly team going for their third state championship trophy in so many years matching up against an up and comer that lost when they were supposed to lose and won when they were supposed to win. But remember - Bishop Kelly has not lost at Holt Arena since Nov. 17, 1999 - when they fell in the A-2 State Championship game to Tom Harrison's Snake River Panthers 55-28.

I have NEVER picked Century to win, dating clear back to when Layne Coffin was at the helm, because of a superstitious tradition that started out as a joke and then stuck. And it has ruined my Grid-Iron Game Picks ever since. It's time to break the superstition and go with my gut.

Century pulls out the upset at Holt Arena Thursday night beating the defending state champs 35-28.

Rigby Trojans (7-3) vs Sandpoint Bulldogs (7-3)
11/14/15 @ Sandpoint 1:00pm - Watch it live here

Rigby spent most of the year being BK's bridesmaid in the 4A rankings. Usually getting a few 1st place votes, but only once getting that #1 spot the week of September 21st after Bishop Kelly lost to Borah. The Trojan's opened the season going 2-0 against Idaho Falls (0-9) and a Century team still figuring things out under a new head coach. They went 1-4 over the following month to 5A teams. After that, Rigby cruised through the rest of their conference schedule undefeated, picking up steam with every win.

Sandpoint is like a lot of north Idaho teams that are hard to read because of how many out of state games they play due to a lack of Idaho teams in their area. Combine that with having to play a few teams out of their classification and it can be really tricky trying to figure out just how good a team is. While the Bulldogs were usually in the top 5 every week, it was a cautious top 5. The voters knew they were good based on their win-loss record, but just how good couldn't be known. Three games against Washington schools, three games against 5A teams and a late-season game against 2A Grangeville. Add in the fact that the other two teams in their conference had a combined record of 2-17 and you can understand why Sandpoint's true strength is a mystery wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a snowball.

That snowball could be what pushes Sandpoint on to the championship game. The current weather projections at game time call for 100% chance of rain with temps in the mid-low 40's. I wouldn't be surprised to see snow falling at some point. How much will the weather, along with the travel, effect Rigby? I tend to think that Sandpoint is as good as advertised and this is going to be a battle. A very wet, muddy and cold battle that will see Sandpoint moving on to play Century at the Kibbie Dome in Moscow next weekend.

Sandpoint wins 21-12. 

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