As Prairie’s football team takes on Lost Rivers in the Idaho Class 1A DI title game (7 tonight, Kibbie Dome), here are five story lines to watch:
Battle of unbeatens (and Pirates)
Prairie’s 28-point win against Oakley in the semifinal round last week represents the closest postseason contest either of these teams (which both call themselves the Pirates) have played. Lost Rivers boasts an 11-0 record; Prairie is 10-0.
Prairie and Lost Rivers have two common opponents: Clearwater Valley (which Prairie beat 70-12 and LR defeated 56-8) and Oakley (which Prairie drubbed 50-22 last week and LR downed 20-14 during the regular season). Prairie will seek its third title in six years, having last won it all in 2017.
Another chance to get on the field
With two years of backup experience and a handful of starts under his belt, Prairie’s Damian Forsmann seemed a shoo-in at quarterback this season. But then he broke his ankle in a motorcycle accident during the summer, which forced the senior to miss the entirety of the regular season.
Forsmann finally got cleared to play last week, and saw the field late in his team’s win against Oakley for a handful of plays — two of them kneeling out the clock at quarterback, the rest at receiver, where he’ll play in this game.
“He hasn’t hardly missed a practice and has been there all year long,” coach Ryan Hasselstrom said. “So for him to suit up and get a chance to play has been nice.”
How Lost Rivers came to be
When Mackay worried it lacked enough players to field a team this fall, it formed a co-op with Butte County of Arco, which is located 27 miles away. Historically, these schools are rivals.
“But most of the fierce rivalry was more the old-timers,” said LR coach Sam Thorngren, formerly the Butte County boss. “For the kids, it wasn’t that big of a deal.
“Even our coaching staff, my offensive line coach, he was from Mackay and we were always friends in school and we stayed friends. And the (head) Mackay coach (who is now on the LR staff), me and him were friends too. And that’s why it works — my wife’s even from Mackay.”
Dueling rushing attacks
Both teams’ offenses run through their backfields. Prairie running backs Cole Martin (1,473 yards rushing) and Owen Anderson (740) form the backbone of the Cottonwood school’s offense, which averages 350 yards per game on the ground.
LR quarterback Bridger Hansen and running back Keyan Cummins each have more than 900 yards rushing while Brady McAffee, another back, has around 700.
“When you look at what both of us do, we both stick to the running game,” Hasselstrom said. “They run play-action and screens, and we’re both really similar.”
With one exception: LR likes to slow down the pace while Prairie will try to hurry things up with its no-huddle offense.
Prairie defensive linemen Dean Johnson, Reid Uptmor and Hayden Uhlenkott helped hold their last opponent to 13 yards rushing.
“We really forced their hand in to having to throw and yeah, they threw for 300 yards,” Hasselstrom said, “but you pick your poison.
“You can’t expect to completely dominate or shut anybody out this time of year.”
Edelman may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or (208) 848-2277.