Rivalry week is here for three of four Upper Valley teams with South and Sugar matching up in St. Anthony and Ririe heading to Ashton. The former game looks to be a close one while the later game could quickly swing in the Huskies' favor.
Sugar-Salem @ South Fremont
The rivalry between the Diggers and Cougars hasn’t been very close for the last two years with Sugar coming away with 27-13 and 41-7 wins on their way to back-to-back championships. With South Fremont looking the best they’ve looked in the last three years and Sugar having a younger team, this year’s game will likely be a tight one.
“It’s a good rivalry,” said South Fremont head coach Chad Hill. “Our kids get up for it and they’re always excited to play them. I think our kids have a lot of confidence going into it this year. We’ve been playing pretty well. Our kids are pretty confident that we can go out and win tonight.”
The Diggers come into the game with a 6-0 record including two overtime wins. One of those wins was a 7-6 victory over Marsh Valley, the only team South Fremont has lost to and the last team the Cougars played. They lost 27-19 two weeks ago before their bye. The Cougars sit at 5-1.
“It was good to see that tough game and see some things that we definitely need to work on,” Hill said. “Then it was also good to have the bye. It gave us two extra weeks to kind of work on those things and, hopefully, we have them ironed out and hopefully, we’re ready to go.”
Marsh Valley is the two team’s only common opponent so far though South Fremont will play district rival Teton next week who Sugar beat 27-7 last week.
Though neither team has struggled much on either side of the ball, South Fremont has mostly won with their offense while Sugar-Salem’s defense has led the way. The Cougars have scored 37.8 points-per game while the Diggers have allowed 10.3 points-per game.
The Defense will likely be tested guarding South.
“They have some great playmakers on their offense,” Richins said.”Their skill players are very athletic. They throw the ball real well. They have athletes all over the field.”
The Diggers pass rush and the Diggers’ ability to stop the pass rush will be key.
“We’ll just focus on kind of disrupting some of their timing,” Richins said. “We’re just trying to give them some looks that maybe they haven’t seen yet this year and try to match up our athletes with their athletes and see if we can’t disrupt what they want to do.”
“We’re going to have to be able to throw the ball — give Kaimen some time,” Hill said. “If we can give him time, he does a great job of distributing the ball to guys that are open.”
South Fremont has allowed 21.8 points-per game and the Diggers have scored 22 points-per game though two of their three highest scoring games came in the last two weeks. The success or failure of Sugar’s run game could weigh heavy in this rivalry game.
“They’ve always been able to run the ball pretty well,” Hill said. “If we can slow their run game down, that would give us the best chance for success defensively.”
South hopes they can keep Sugar offense off balance.
“We’re just going to mix up our fronts a little bit,” Hill said. “So they don’t get the same thing every time — how we line up our defensive line trying to come from different spots to confuse them a little bit.”
Richins believes his team’s youth could make it so the Diggers feel less pressure to play well.
“I think our kids are relatively calm coming into this game,” Richins said. “We’re a fairly young team. They understand the importance of the game but — at the same time — they’re young enough that they’re relaxed and comfortable with where we’re at.”
Ririe @ North Fremont
North Fremont’s rivalry game doesn’t look like it will be quite as close with the Huskies coming in at 5-0 and the Bulldogs having a 2-5 record.
The Huskies offense looks like the far superior offense scoring 34.4 points-per game while the Bulldogs have scored an average of 7.8 points-per game and all of those points came in their two wins including 40 points in their win over Valley.
The two teams’ defense look a little closer with North Fremont allowing 12.8 points-per game and Ririe is allowing 22.5 points-per game.
Idaho Falls @ Madison
After playing on Monday night last week, the Bobcats are scheduled to play their final home game of the year against Idaho Falls on Saturday evening.
Madison is 0-6 and considering that they play undefeated Rigby in their final game, this could be the Cats best chance to get a win this season.
The good news is Idaho Falls is also winless at 0-7 against a very similar schedule. The two teams have played four of the same opponents and each of their final games will be against a team the other team has played. In those common games, Idaho Falls has scored 10.5 points-per game and allowed 40.75 points-per game. Madison has scored 17.5 points-per game and allowed 36 points-per game in those games.