Preston at Minico
Friday, 7 p.m.
One of these teams’ four-game winning streaks ends Friday.
The other team claims sole possession of first place in the 4A District 4-5 East pod.
Both Preston (4-1, 1-0) and Minico (4-1, 1-0) enter this week’s pivotal matchup looking to remain one of the hottest teams in 4A. Each squad has rattled off four consecutive wins after dropping its season opener, but the Spartans and Indians have traveled different routes to achieve their 4-1 marks.
Minico has blown out opponents during its winning streak, outscoring them by an average of 35.5 points per game. Only Jerome has scored more than nine points on the Spartans during that time.
Minico does its offensive damage via the run. The Spartans average 283.6 yards rushing per game, with a season-high 370 in a 49-9 win over Burley, and they’ve scored 19 of their 27 touchdowns this season running the ball. The unit is led by center Greyson Harwood, whose college suitors include the University of Idaho.
But Minico also has a stout defense. The Spartans lead the conference and rank second in 4A with 12.0 points allowed per game.
A negative stat to dampen Minico’s early-season success? Strength of schedule. The Spartans’ four wins are against teams with a combined record of 6-14 — Jerome being the lone team that’s not 1-4.
Then there’s Preston, which has clawed its way to four consecutive wins. Three have been by 10 points or fewer, including one-possession victories over Century and Bonneville in Weeks 4 and 5, respectively.
The Indians’ average scoring margin of plus-3.4 is tied for third-lowest among 4A teams with winning records this season.
Preston has most of its offensive success through the air, led by quarterback Ty Hyde and receivers Cole Harris and Scott Dunn. The pass-catching duo has hauled in nine of Hyde’s 13 touchdown passes, and they’ve nearly matched each other in receiving yardage — Harris has 403 yards, Dunn 402.
Dunn has also converted 10 of 13 extra points and 1 of 3 field goals, to go with a punt return touchdown, giving him a team-leading 49 points this season.
Dunn didn’t play last week against Bonneville. Indians coach Eric Thorson said his team is back at full strength.
Defensively, Preston has 13 sacks, five interceptions and three fumble recoveries. Senior Zay Davis leads the charge with 44 tackles and 2.0 sacks — both first or tied for first on the team.
Preston’s defense has proven itself, holding three of its four Idaho opponents under their season scoring averages (the exception is Canyon Ridge, which averages 6.8 ppg and scored seven on Preston). The unit forces turnovers and gets nearly three sacks per game, limiting scoring chances.
Minico’s run-heavy offense reduces turnover risk and can wear down a defense by controlling the clock. Depth has been a consistent weakness for Preston, one of the smallest 4A schools based on enrollment.
Minico 28, Preston 21
Blackfoot at Skyline
Thursday, 7 p.m., Ravsten Stadium
Blackfoot’s statement win over defending state champion Hillcrest vaulted the Broncos into the top five of this week’s 4A media poll.
Their reward? Another road test against Skyline, which won state in 2016 and ‘17.
It’s the third consecutive road game for No. 5 Blackfoot (4-1, 2-0 4A District 6), which is 3-0 away from home this season (1-0 at neutral sites). Last week’s 35-14 win over then-No. 5 Hillcrest is the Broncos’ largest margin of victory this season, and was a surprise multi-touchdown romp after Blackfoot slogged to wins of 21-14 and 9-3 in its prior two games.
Having quarterback Craig Young back helped. After missing two games with an injury, the senior led Blackfoot’s offense to its highest scoring output since Week 1, while Blackfoot’s rushing attack remained potent.
Skyline (3-2, 1-0 4A District 6) has only faced one 4A Idaho team this season after starting the year against three 5A Idaho teams and a 5A Utah squad. The Grizzlies are quarterbacked by Cruz Taylor, who takes over after earning first-team all-conference honors last season at running back. Taylor is completing 62.8% of his passes, with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions. The 5-foot-7 senior is also the team’s leading rusher with 332 yards (9.0 per carry) and two scores.
Blackfoot’s powerful ground game and steady defense position the Broncos to get to 3-0 in league play. That would provide a one-game cushion over Hillcrest with two conference games remaining and Blackfoot owning the head-to-head tiebreaker.
The Broncos have also shown they can win games in different ways, beating Lakeland 47-32 to open the season and downing Thunder Ridge 9-3 two weeks ago.
Skyline hasn’t won when scoring under 21 points, nor when allowing over 21 points.
Blackfoot 27, Skyline 20
Snake River at Teton
Friday, 7 p.m.
Friday offers Snake River a chance at redemption.
The Panthers missed the state playoffs last year, falling short of the 3A at-large berth — which Teton earned despite losing to Snake River earlier in the season. The teams finished the regular season with identical 2-6 records, further baffling Snake River’s coaches and fans.
Friday’s rematch in Driggs has similar implications.
Snake River (4-1) is off to its best five-game start since 2015 — the year before Jeb Harrison took over as head coach. The Panthers boast 3A’s fifth-best scoring defense (16.2 ppg) and haven’t allowed more than 28 points in a game.
On offense, Snake River leans on the run, but can pass when it needs to. Senior running back Treyton Young leads the multi-headed backfield corps.
The Panthers’ schedule hasn’t yielded any easy wins, either. Their opponents have a combined record of 15-10, highlighted by duels with 4-1 West Side (a 7-6 Snake River win) and 4-1 Gooding (a 28-26 Snake River loss). Friday’s game marks Snake River’s third consecutive week on the road.
Teton (2-3) has played opponents nearly even this season, entering the week with a seasonlong point differential of 105-106. The Redskins haven’t yet faced a 3A Idaho foe, and also haven’t played a home game since Sept. 6. Teton hasn’t beaten Snake River since 2013.
According to MaxPreps’ rankings, Teton is the second-lowest ranked opponent for Snake River this season at No. 61 in Idaho, just ahead of Kimberly at 62.
The Panthers’ defense is shaping up to be the strength of the team. The unit held Gooding to a season-low 28 points — well below the Senators’ average of 41.2 ppg — and hasn’t let anyone else reach 20.
Snake River 35, Teton 11