Bear Lake at West Side
Friday, 7 p.m.
Friday’s top ticket is not only a top-five matchup — there’s a district championship on the line.
No. 2 West Side and No. 4 Bear Lake take center stage in a winner-take-all showdown that’s been brewing for weeks. Both teams enter on four-game winning streaks, and are unbeaten against conference opponents.
The winner claims this year’s 2A District 5 championship.
West Side (5-1, 2-0) hasn’t lost to a 2A opponent all season. The defense, which allows 6.67 points per game (third-best in 2A), hasn’t yielded more than eight points since Week 1 — a 28-18 win over Firth. Good luck running on them — no team has rushed for more than 97 yards versus the Pirates.
Controlling possession is the key to West Side’s offense, which has just two turnovers this season. Quarterback Ryan Beckstead hasn’t thrown an interception, while running backs Cage Brokens (561) and Jaxon Moser (429) have combined to rush for 990 yards.
Bear Lake (6-1, 3-0) is a hair better on defense, ranking second in 2A with 6.14 points allowed per game. Like West Side, the Bears are unbeaten against 2A opponents, and earned a Week 2 win against Wyoming’s Jackson Hole — a preseason favorite to win a state title.
Quarterback Owen Teuscher leads the offense with 1,678 yards passing, 18 touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s coming off back-to-back five-touchdown games and, in last week’s win over Malad, snapped a streak of four-straight games without an interception.
This mid-October matchup is as good as it gets, as two top-tier defenses go chest-to-chest for a conference championship.
Bear Lake’s passing attack might disrupt West Side’s clock-eating game plan, and the Bears needn’t panic if they fall behind, as Teuscher averages 16.9 yards per completion.
Then again, Bear Lake is more prone to turnovers, and the Pirates are particularly tough at home, where they’ve lost just four times this decade.
West Side had its bye last week — just in time for the big matchup — while Bear Lake is playing for the eighth consecutive week. Chalk up back-to-back district titles for West Side.
West Side 18, Bear Lake 13
Preston at Pocatello
Friday, 7 p.m., Holt Arena
While Preston stays in the hunt for the district’s top seed with a win, Pocatello needs a victory to keep its postseason chances intact.
With five wins this season, Preston (5-2, 2-1 4A District 4-5 East Pod) has already clinched its best record since 2010. Preston scored a season-high 51 points in last week’s 51-13 win over Burley — Preston’s largest margin of victory this season.
The visitors are led by quarterback Ty Hyde, who has thrown for 1,685 yards, 19 touchdowns and nine interceptions, while adding a sack and five quarterback hurries from the defensive line.
Hyde is turnover-prone, though, as evidenced by his nine picks and five fumbles lost.
Pocatello (3-4, 0-2 4A District 4-5 East Pod) has been on the wrong side of three heartbreaking losses, the most recent coming last week against league-leading Minico.
Poky is buoyed by a tough defense that has held Century and Minico to season-low point totals.
Pocatello holds its own on offense, too, led by dual-threat quarterback Jadyn Downs. The senior never takes Poky out of a game and regularly displays his athleticism and escapability with well-executed throws on the run.
But Pocatello lacks depth, and recent injuries have made it worse.
Both teams have played their share of games down to the wire, and Friday’s meeting will continue the trend.
Unfortunately for Pocatello, the aforementioned depth issues usually leave it a few points short.
The dueling Indians are evenly matched on defense, but Preston is slightly better on offense — and has won the tight games that have been Poky’s shortcoming.
Preston 26, Pocatello 19
Century at Minico
Friday, 7 p.m.
A Century win bolsters its playoff chances and can create a three-way tie for first place in the East Pod.
The Diamondbacks (4-3, 2-1) can match almost any team’s offensive firepower. They’ve scored over 40 points three times this season, and mustered 33 last week against Highland — the most any team has scored on the Rams. Quarterback Nathan Manning has an eye-popping 2,116 yards passing, with 24 touchdowns against six interceptions.
But Century’s defense hasn’t always delivered. The unit was gashed for 56 points and 506 yards rushing last week against Highland. The Rams’ rushing total set a single-game school record.
Minico (6-1, 3-0) can be the next in line to run through Century’s defense. The Spartans average 297 yards rushing per game, led by Rylan Chandler’s 1,204 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Minico also leads 4A in scoring defense (14.14 ppg), thanks in part to nine interceptions and 14 1/2 sacks.
This one is pretty simple, as the keys to beating Century are a strong running game and a good defense — both of which Minico has.
Minico 35, Century 33