Rich Hargitt has coached high school football in the Midwest, in the South – and now out West at Emmett High School in Idaho.
And he knows one common denominator with teenagers today: They are online game-film watchers.
That played a big role in the season’s biggest shocker – the sixth-ranked Huskies’ 40-34 victory Friday night over host No. 1 Bishop Kelly in Boise.
- PHOTO GALLERY (photos by Brian Losness)
Emmett drove 81 yards in two minutes, and scored the game winner on quarterback Caden Young‘s 1-yard run with 33 seconds remaining.
It was the Huskies’ first victory over Class 4A’s perennial powerhouse since 2011.
“It was a very simple model for them to win: Fight like it is life and death every snap of the game,” Hargitt said. “I told them, ‘If you are unwilling to do that, we have no chance.’
“But our kids believed.”
The Knights took a 34-25 lead on Seth Knothe‘s 3-yard touchdown run with 7:45 to go – his third short scoring run of the game.
But Emmett answered 41/2 minutes later on Young’s 21-yard scamper, also getting the two-point conversion to cut it to 34-33 at the 3:15 mark.
The Huskies’ defense held, giving the offense the football back at its own 19-yard line with 2:40 to go.
Hargitt wanted to go right to the quick passing game to get positive yards on first down. But Smith saw something in Bishop Kelly’s coverage, and teamed up with quarterback Caden Young on an audible.
“(Smith) saw their safety … roll down, and they called a vertical combination,” Hargitt said.
Young hit Smith on a 26-yard gain to near midfield, and suddenly the Huskies were in business.
“You got to let kids play,” Hargitt said. “This isn’t 1977 anymore. These kids can watch film and learn the game. They handle playing it like they are coaches.”
After Young connected with Jack Maxwell on a couple of big passing gains, Emmett was on the Knights’ 1-yard line.
Hargitt wanted to call a pass play. This time, the starting offensive line intervened.
“They said, ‘No, we are finishing it right now,'” Hargitt said.
And Smith did with the rumble up the middle, not only shaking up the pecking order in the 4A Southern Idaho Conference, but around the state.
“It was a sweet, sweet moment,” Hargitt said.
POST FALLS 27, LEWISTON 26
Stop if you’ve heard this before: Post Falls and Lewiston playing down to the wire.
Jaxon Anderson hit Josiah Shields for a 6-yard touchdown pass to go ahead two scores with three minutes left in the fourth quarter and held off a late comeback effort to lift Post Falls over Lewiston, 27-26, in a 5A Inland Empire League matchup.
Kash Lang threw a 39-yard touchdown pass and converted the two-point conversion with 1:04 left to bring Lewiston within a point, one of the many plays Lang made on his feet after a scramble, including three total touchdown runs and a 4th and 18 conversion.
Lewiston (2-1) attempted an onside kick, but Post Falls (2-1) recovered and ran out the clock.
Slot receiver Tommy Hauser carried the load offensively for Post Falls, though he had a tough time breaking away thanks to Lewiston’s drop coverage. Hauser scored on a five yard run in the second quarter and ended up with more than 100 yards receiving, Bennett estimated, and would have had more had long touchdown pass in the first half not been called back.
“Tommy Hauser is a really special kid,” Post Falls coach Blaine Bennett told SBLive Friday night. “We had a lot of short yardage plays, a lot of five, eight-yard receptions that he was turning into bigger gains.”
Lewiston’s staff concurred.
“That Hauser kid’s had a couple of huge games, he’s as good as any wide receiver we’ve seen so far,” Lewiston coach Matt Pancheri said. “Stuck a guy over him and under him and he still made big plays.
“It’s important we do that for here on out. Our defense has struggled against the pass.”
The setting was changed early Friday from Lewiston to Post Falls High School due to unhealthy air quality. Lewiston made the trip up to Post Falls on short notice, which Pancheri said took a toll on the group.
“We started slow,” Pancheri said. “I thought our kids were sluggish and had a hard time. It was a tough transition today to go from home to away. I think our kids responded well but took a while to get our feet set.
Said Bennett: “Giving the kids a chance to play was everyone’s goal and focus.”
It’s the third year in a row the matchup has been decided by one possession.
Lewiston’s Kolby Hodges intercepted a Post Falls pass to give the Bengals the ball with just under four minutes left in the first half. When Lewiston couldn’t build a drive, Post Falls mounted a scoring drive before halftime, capped by a 5-yard touchdown run from Tommy Hauser to push the Post Falls lead 13-6.
Lewiston pushed the lead to nine twice, but Lewiston’s big plays — and big playmaking quarterback — kept them around.
At EAGLE 45, MOUNTAIN VIEW 6
It is hard for Mustangs coach John Hartz to put into words what he has witnessed from the sideline the past two weeks.
Ben Ford – his quarterback – is just crushing opponents early and often.
On Friday, Ford totaled 262 of his 446 totals yards in the first half, accounting for four touchdowns as fifth-ranked Eagle stomped the No. 6 Mavericks in Boise.
Last week against reigning 4A champion Kuna, he debuted with 401 total yards and six scores – with most of it coming in the first half.
He rushed for two touchdowns (12, 65 yards) in the first quarter, then tossed a pair of second-half scoring passes to tight end Dalton Jones – the final 11-yarder coming with less than a minute remaining before halftime.
“His passing was efficient – but his running overshadowed everything,” Hartz said. “His reads were on point.”
Eagle’s defense wasn’t too shabby, either, holding Mountain View to 237 total yards.
BLACKFOOT 21, at SNAKE RIVER 18
The lead seemed too comfortable to be true.
And it was – and the second-ranked Broncos had to stave off a late Panthers’ rally to stay unbeaten in 4A.
Choosing to go for it on fourth-and-7 instead of attempting a game-tying 47-yard field goal, Snake River let quarterback Cole Gilbert try and make a play with 35 seconds to go. But his pass was broken up junior Stryker Wood.
“We made some mistakes, and let them back in the game,” Blackfoot coach Jerrod Ackley said. “But we made plays when we had to on defense.”
Blackfoot held a 21-3 lead late in the third quarter before Panthers’ running back Chandler Coombs got rolling – on a 6-yard touchdown run to close the quarter, and hauling in a 45-yard scoring pass from Gilbert midway through the fourth quarter to cut it to 21-18.
And when the defense got one final stop with 31/2 minutes to go, Snake River had a chance to upend the reigning 3A state runners-up.
They nearly did.
“We are the best 0-3 football team you will ever see,” Snake River coach Jeb Harrison said. “We haven’t played a team that’s lost a game yet.”
At SUGAR-SALEM 27, STAR VALLEY (WYO.) 13
Once in a while, you will see a couple of reigning state champions from opposite classifications – or other states – play each other.
But a pair of two-time defending state champions? Well, that very rare occurrence is what took place in Sugar City on Friday night.
Diggers quarterback Kyzon Garner threw for three touchdowns, and ran for a final one as the 3A champions from Idaho won their 11th consecutive game.
Their last loss? It was to this same team last year in Wyoming – 24-7 in mid-September.
“They are a good measuring stick for us,” Sugar-Salem coach Tyler Richins said. “It’s not hard to get the kids excited to play this game with their reputation.”
Star Valley is big and physical, which meant the Diggers had to go to the air Friday night. And Garner was right on point with his former youth-football teammate – Brigham Lee.
Lee hauled in long touchdown catches of 45 and 50 yards.
Sugar-Salem broke a 13-13 tie with nine minutes remaining on Garner’s 3-yard strike to Jonah Schulthies.
Five minutes later, Garner rumbled in from 1 yard out to seal it up with 3:47 remaining. He completed 10 of 15 passes for 144 yards, and added another 53 rushing yards.
“H is playing with a lot of moxie right now,” Richins said. “He is getting some good opportunities to make plays – and he’s not making many mistakes.”