MERIDIAN — Rocky Mountain High School football coach Chris Culig didn’t really process it.

Just how dominant his team has been in arguably Idaho’s toughest conference that is.

He needed a little bit of a reminder in the postgame interviews after his team’s 49-13 shellacking over Capital in the inaugural 5A Southern Idaho Conference championship game Friday night at Brighton Stadium.

The win gave the Grizzlies a third straight league title and extended their winning streak within the 5A SIC to 29 games. They haven’t lost within the conference since a 7-6 defeat against Borah on Sept. 29, 2017. 

And because of those facts, Rocky Mountain will be the top seed, get home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and receive a first-round bye in the 5A state tournament, which gets underway next week. It will face the winner of Meridian and Highland.

“We ask a lot of our kids and they work hard. To be able to find a way to win three in a row is pretty awesome,” Culig said. “Obviously, you got to have good kids. We got good players and football is important to them, and that makes a big difference.”

Kobe Warr led the way. The senior quarterback combined for 243 yards and five touchdowns. He went 15-of-22 for 236 yards and four scores with another one coming on the ground. Senior running back Jordan Erickson racked up 104 yards of total offense and a score, while sophomore wideout C.J. Jacobsen eclipsed the century mark with five catches for 103 yards and a touchdown for the third-ranked Grizzlies (6-0), who appeared like they were going to be in for a fight early.

After Rocky Mountain went the length of the field on its first possession of the game via a 2-yard run by senior halfback Justin Douglas and a two-point conversion scamper by Warr, the Eagles answered right back. They scored in just four plays on a 41-yard run by Kaiden Reimer to make it an 8-6 game with 7:14 remaining in the first quarter.

Capital even forced the Grizzlies to punt on their next three possessions.

It also started two consecutive drives inside Grizzly territory at the 42 and 32. But Rocky Mountain showed why it has had the state’s best defense going on three seasons now. Those Eagles’ possessions ended with an interception by Rocky Mountain senior linebacker Ty Tanner and a punt, respectively. 

The Grizzlies forced Capital to punt the ball eight times in total, allowed just five first downs and gave up just 192 yards of total offense.

“They’re really good,” Warr said about his defense. “They’re a tough defense to play against. I play against them every day in practice. They do all this crazy stuff and it works. They work hard and get turnovers for us and stops and it’s big for the offense.”

A 41-0 Rocky Mountain run ensued when Warr found Erickson on a 15-yard TD pass with 7:23 left in the first half. And a fumble recovery in the end zone by Douglas just moments later was the backbreaker. 

Capital punter Sean Holstein had the snap sail over his head on the ensuing punt. He chased after the ball and managed to pick it up in the back of the end zone. But instead of just throwing it out of bounds for what would have been a safety, he still tried to punt it. It was blocked and Douglas fell on top of it for the touchdown to extend the Grizzlies’ lead to 21-6 with 5:41 to go in the second quarter.

“It lit the sideline up,” Douglas said. “We knew we were going to have some competition this week and being able to turn the tide and being able to get that energy on our sideline, it just brought us up from there.”

The running-clock mercy was already well in effect by the time Capital (4-1) found the end zone again. It came on a 59-yard pass from Avery Downey to Justus Del Rio on a flea flicker with 4:55 remaining in the game. 

It was the Grizzlies’ 24th double-digit win over SIC opponents in three years and they now have an average margin of victory of 26.8 points during this three-year stretch.

“This senior class is a special class,” Douglas said. “It’s just crazy to think about how we’ve pretty much ran the table.”

Downey passed for 143 yards and Del Rio had 103 receiving yards for the Eagles, who will also receive a first-round playoff bye. They will host either Mountain View or Post Falls.

— Brandon Walton

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