The first week of the high school football season has passed, and for many teams, left observers with more questions than answers.
For some teams, Week 2 is a chance to rebound from an unsatisfactory opener. For others, Week 2 offers a chance at a coveted 2-0 record and continued momentum.
This week’s slate features many intriguing matchups, including a rarely-played matchup between local powers.
Here are previews and predictions for the top three games of Week 2.
Idaho Falls (0-1) at Century (0-1)
Friday, 7 p.m., Holt Arena
Century is one of the teams surrounded by question marks after Week 1.
The Diamondbacks were outscored 35-7 in the second half of last week’s 62-27 home loss to Lehi (Utah) — a game Century led 20-14 in the second quarter and trailed 27-20 at halftime. The D-backs played without injured starting quarterback Nathan Manning — a first-team all-state honoree in 2018 — but the senior “will play” this week, according to head coach Travis Hobson. Manning’s presence may kickstart a tepid rushing attack that gained 101 yards last week, 74 of which came from backup quarterback Bruin Fleischmann. Manning will also be counted on to do better than Fleischmann’s five interceptions.
Idaho Falls fell 33-14 last week at home against 5A Lewiston. The Tigers gave up 245 yards rushing, and each of Lewiston’s five touchdowns came via the run. After advancing to the 4A state quarterfinals last season, Idaho Falls is rebuilding under first-year head coach Marty Duffin. He inherited a young roster, as the Tigers graduated all seven players who earned first- or second-team all-High Country Conference honors last season, including second-team all-state running back Cameron Conrad.
Century showed glimpses last week of how explosive its offense can be, scoring three touchdowns in a span of 6 minutes, 59 seconds to take that 20-14 lead. Having Manning back will only make the unit more dangerous. The D-backs beat Idaho Falls 31-28 last season to begin a five-game winning streak.
Century 42, Idaho Falls 28
Star Valley (WY) (1-0) at Blackfoot (1-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Blackfoot has been in this spot before.
The Broncos enter Week 2 after earning a comfortable win at the Rocky Mountain Rumble, 47-32 over Lakeland. Awaiting the Broncos is Star Valley, a Wyoming powerhouse that has played in the last four 3A state title games.
After the Broncos beat Canada’s Lethbridge Collegiate Institute 35-0 in last year’s Rumble, they got whipped by Star Valley six days later, 42-7.
That Star Valley team went on to win the state title, its third in four years.
But Blackfoot is out to show it’s returning to form — the team won four state championships between 2007 and 2012. It got off to a good start last week, led by running back Teegan Thomas’ five touchdowns — four rushing, one receiving — in the win over Lakeland. Thomas’ scores included runs of 70, 54 and 45 yards, plus an 85-yard TD reception. The Broncos led 47-26 before Lakeland tacked on a fourth-quarter touchdown.
Star Valley is the No. 1 3A team in this week’s WyoPreps.com coaches and media poll after beating Summit Academy — Utah’s defending 3A state champ — 36-7 last week. The Braves return five players who earned all-state honors last season — including 3A West Lineman of the Year Parker Merritt — plus McKay Young, who was named the 3A West co-Coach of the Year.
Blackfoot is likely better than it was last season. Star Valley might be, too. The Braves are at the peak of their powers, while the Broncos are midway through an uphill climb back to the top. The game is at Blackfoot this time, which might help the Broncos keep the score within reach.
Star Valley 35, Blackfoot 16
No. 1 West Side (1-0) at No. 5 Snake River (1-0)
Friday, 7 p.m.
Snake River typically doesn’t schedule 2A opponents. West Side is the first since 2013.
The 3A Panthers will have their hands full despite the Pirates’ lower classification. West Side enters Week 2 as 2A’s No. 1 team in the statewide media poll, coming off a 28-18 home win against Firth.
West Side’s 20-6, second-quarter lead shrunk to 20-18 by the end of the third quarter against Firth. But the Pirates’ ball-control offense chewed the clock down the stretch. West Side ran the ball 43 times in 48 plays and went 5 of 10 on third down to extend possessions and play keepaway from the Cougars.
Snake River entered Week 1 tied for the No. 5 spot in the 3A media poll, but soundly beat Kimberly — which was the other No. 5 team — in the de facto tiebreaker, 42-14. The Panthers rushed for 294 yards and screwed a cap on Kimberly’s offense, which hadn’t been held to 14 points since 2015. Sophomore quarterback Cole Gilbert survived his first varsity start, completing 14 of 19 passes and adding 80 yards rushing.
It’s unknown how long it’s been since these two powers clashed. The storied programs have been working to get back to the top since 2014, when both squads won a state title. The non-conference battle is more than a tuneup, as each team figures to be in the hunt for a state trophy later this fall.
Snake River 35, West Side 18