When we found out the top four teams in the 5A would all be going toe-to-toe last weekend, I expected two close contests. That certainly wasn't the case.
Eagle completely dominated Highland and jumped out to a 42-0 lead before the Rams scored three touchdowns in the 4th quarter against Eagles 2nd team defense. Tanner Mangum had an incredible night. He completed 21 of his 28 throws for 325 yards passing and four touchdowns, two of them to Junior WR Austin Diffey. Diffey caught an 88 yard touchdown pass on the Mustangs first possession of the 3rd quarter that put to rest any chances of Highland coming back. To me, that was the play of the game. Mangum used an incredible pump fake at the line of scrimmage and then unleashed a bomb down the field that Diffey caught and then he turned on the burners and went the rest of the way into the end zone. What also shouldn't go unnoticed is the incredible defensive effort of the Mustangs. They have shut out both of their opponents in the playoffs in the 1st half and if the starters finished out each game, it wouldn't have surprised me if they pitched two shutouts.
The other semifinal was even more of a shock. Coeur D'Alene jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead on Capital before eventually winning 37-7. The Vikings made a statement after struggling in the 1st half against Mountain View in the 1st round of the playoffs. Viking QB Chad Chalich didn't have his best game as he only completed 11 passes, but the Vikings were effective on the ground behind 114 rushing yards from Carlos Martinez in route to the win. The final score was surprising considering Capital had won 8 straight games before their semifinal showdown. Nonetheless, this sets up a dream matchup that everyone has been talking about all year long. Coeur D'Alene will be traveling down to take on Eagle on the blue turf Friday night at 7.
In the 4A, the Middleton Vikings made a statement by beating Pocatello 53-22 and avenging a loss earlier in the season to the Indians. Victor Dias had 172 yards rushing and six touchdowns to lead the Vikings to a State Championship showdown with Blackfoot and their outstanding QB Trey Pilster.
The 3A showdown between Fruitland and Weiser did not disappoint. In a game with two evenly matched teams, it usually comes down to special teams and that's exactly what happened on Saturday. Sid Rangel, who played soccer for Fruitland all fall, joined the football team a few weeks ago and proved to be the difference in the ball game by kicking a 27 yard field goal in route to winning 10-7. Fruitland will now make their sixth straight State Championship appearance and will take on Snake River on Friday.
In the 2A, New Plymouth's magical postseason run came to a halt against Firth. Firth will take on Grangeville at the Kibbie Dome for the 2A title.
Hagerman will play Kendrick in the 1A Division 1 Championship and Carey will play Lighthouse Christian in the 1A Division 2 Championship. Both of those contests will be at Holt Arena.
Be sure the listen to 630 The Fan all week for wall to wall State Championship coverage from all divisions as we countdown to Friday.