RIGBY — It’s been awhile since Highland suffered a loss like this.
Not only was the Rams’ 44-21 setback to Rigby Friday night the team’s worst loss to an Idaho school in nearly five years, but with this result, Highland also lost a chance to secure the 5A District 5-6 title.
“Offensively, we executed the best we’ve executed this year,” Rigby coach Armando Gonzalez said. “I told our kids — this is why we work throughout the whole offseason. This is why we grind so hard. We’re built for these games. We want to play championship-caliber football, and that’s why we work.”
On Friday, that work produced a series of big numbers. The Trojans gashed the Rams for 392 rushing yards. Running back Zheik Falevai rushed 17 times for 180 yards and four touchdowns. Even Adolpho, whose best trait is his passing ability, carded 13 carries for 162 yards and two scores. Rigby averaged 11.5 yards per carry.
All night, the Trojans (8-0, 3-0) did to the Rams (6-2, 2-1) what other teams cannot. On its first series, Rigby scored on a 45-yard touchdown rush from Adolpho. On the next, Falevai galloped 37 yards into the end zone. On the one after that, Adolpho eluded defenders on an 80-yard touchdown run, chucking up two fingers to a sideline camera on his way.
“I was like, ‘You know what, there’s no better time. Get the crowd going,’” Adolpho said with a grin. “So I saw him, I did it, and I was just praying that there was no one behind me to tackle me.”
Nobody does that to Highland. Nobody defangs the Rams’ offense like the Trojans did, especially considering that Rigby was playing without linebacker Logan Fredericksen and cornerback Zxaeb Falevai. Conner Gneiting and Robby Boone filled those spots, respectively. The Trojans never looked worse for it.
Highland did produce a pair of scores, a 62-yard rush and a four-yard surge from quarterback Jack Whitmer, but Rigby’s defense muzzled the Rams the rest of the way. On a fourth-and-1 quarterback sneak, Trojan lineman Damien Walker pulled Whitmer down behind the line of scrimmage. In the third frame, safety Trevon Talbot snared an interception. Coleman Lords dove for his own interception. On Highland’s next series, Rigby lineman Nic Fangupo snared a screen pass.
“I said, ‘You had a touchdown, man. How could you not get into the end zone?’” Gonzalez joked.
All told, Rigby held Whitmer to these numbers: 15-for-26 passing for one touchdown and three interceptions. None of the Rams’ skill players — Raimon Barela, Jaxon Shuman, Eli Parrish — rushed for more than 30 yards. Barela did haul in seven passes for 60 yards and a touchdown, but that score came in garbage time. The Rams totaled just 243 total yards.
The best Highland looked came early. After Whitmer broke free for that 62-yard touchdown rush, on the next series, he helped the Rams draw within one score with a short four-yard run on fourth down. Highland had started shaky, but that score stabilized the Rams.
The problem for the visitors is that they had trouble generating stops. They paid for it dearly.
Next week, Highland gets Idaho Falls at Holt Arena in Pocatello. The Rams can secure a playoff spot with a win.
RIGBY 44, HIGHLAND 21
Highland 7 7 0 7 — 21
Rigby 21 3 20 0 — 44
R — Adolpho 45 rush (PAT good), 8:41
R — Falevai 37 rush (PAT good), 4:27
H — Whitmer 62 rush (PAT good), 2:38
R — Adolpho 80 rush (PAT good), 2:22
H — Whitmer 4 rush (PAT good), 7:34
R — Uminski 22 field goal, 0:05
R — Falevai 7 rush (PAT good), 7:11
R — Falevai 17 rush (PAT no good), 2:46
R — Falevai (PAT good), 1:14
H — Barela 13 pass from Whitmer (PAT good), 7:06
RUSHING — Highland: Shuman 1-8, Parrish 2-9, Riddle 3-29, Whitmer 10-68. Rigby: Falevai 17-180, Mikkola 4-50, Adolpho 13-162.
PASSING — Highland: Whitmer 15-26-1 119. Rigby: Adolpho 12-16-2 101.
RECEIVING — Highland: Parrish 1-14, Barela 7-60, Shuman 5-22, Godfrey 1-5, Colton Sneddon 1-18. Rigby: Freeman 3-29, Falevai 1-2, Dansie 2-19, Lords 3-30, Kunz 1-2, Archibald 2-12.