Skyline vs. Pocatello
8 p.m. Saturday at Holt Arena Video on NFHS Network, audio on Idaho Sports
If nothing else, this Skyline and Pocatello matchup bears interest on one front: How will the Grizzlies’ defense fare against the Thunder’s offense?
All season, Skyline’s defense has anchored the team, keeping games close while the offense figures things out. That hasn’t come entirely as a surprise — the Grizzlies lost three key players to graduation last spring — but the defense really has been a boon for these guys. They’ve generated pressure up front, made key tackles and, with a secondary that plays almost exclusively man coverage, discouraged opposing quarterbacks from throwing deep.
Keeping that rolling this week will be a test for Skyline. The group will have to do so against Pocatello, which rosters playmakers like quarterback Ryan Payne, running back Ryken Echo Hawk and receiver Matt Christensen, the group that has helped the Thunder average 33 points per game this season.
Skyline is looking to advance to the state championship game for the second straight season. All the Grizzlies will need to do is top an upstart Thunder club.
Blackfoot at Sandpoint
8 p.m. MT Friday Video on spbulldogs.com, audio on Idaho Sports
Good luck finding someone who finds Blackfoot’s season surprising. All year, those in the program and out have been cognizant of the Broncos’ talented roster, albeit their sub-.500 record headed into the playoffs, which is why their spot in the 4A semis doesn’t come as a shocker.
Beating Sandpoint, on the other hand, might register as a surprise. The Bulldogs, who haven’t lost since September, are riding a six-game winning streak. Last week, Sandpoint scored less than 28 points for the first time since its last loss, thanks in large part to junior quarterback Parker Pettit, who completes about 59% of his passes and has thrown 14 touchdowns (to just four interceptions).
So on Friday night, you hear that Blackfoot upset Sandpoint, it will likely be because the Broncos’ slowed down the Bulldogs’ potent offense assault.