MOSCOW, Idaho – For the rest of their lives, players from Coeur d’Alene and Rigby will have distinctly different reactions when they remember Saturday’s game at the Kibbie Dome.
Rigby slipped past Coeur d’Alene 57-56 in two overtimes in the Idaho 5A State championship at the University of Idaho’s dome.
Rigby won when it went for a 2-point conversion after its second overtime score because it did not believe it could stop CdA’s Colbey Nosworthy if the Vikings got the ball a third time.
“Our defensive coordinator said, ‘Go for it, coach, we can’t stop them,’ ” Rigby head coach Armando Gonzalez said after accepting the championship trophy.
Rigby quarterback Keegan Thompson emerged from a gleeful celebration on the dome turf to declare, “That was the craziest game I’ve ever been a part of.”
After trailing from the second play of the game – when CdA’s Jack Prka saw Nosworthy had outrun a Trojans safety and hit him with a 71-yard scoring strike – Rigby finally caught up at the end of the fourth quarter. Thompson bought enough time with his feet to allow Christian Fredericksen to work free in the corner of the end zone and grab a 20-yard pass as the game clock went black.
Still trailing by two because of a mishandled snap on the extra-point attempt after their first touchdown, the Trojans’ Trajen Larsen dove over the goal line for the tying 2-point conversion.
CdA won the overtime coin toss and elected to play defense. Rigby was looking at third-and-goal from the 13-yard line when Thompson found Fredericksen again for a touchdown.
The Vikings answered immediately. On their first play in overtime, Prka threw a 10-yard pass to tight end Cameren Cope in the end-zone corner. Eli Jolly’s extra point tied the game at 49.
In the second overtime, Prka’s 4-yard dive and a Jolly kick gave the Vikings a 56-49 lead. On Rigby’s possession, Thompson gained 8 yards, then running back Brigham Youngstrom carried it in from the 2. He got the call again on the final conversion play and, though CdA had it defended, he carried a tackler into the end zone.
“I knew he was going to push it in,” Thompson said.
“I told everybody (in the huddle before the play), ‘This one is for us,’ ” Thompson added. “I need every single one of you to do your job.’ ”
If the game had gone to a third overtime, CdA coach Shawn Amos said the Vikings, like Rigby, would have gone for the 2-point conversion to try to end it.
For the Vikings, Prka and Nosworthy were superb. Prka threw five touchdown passes and ran for two. Nosworthy caught three scoring passes. They also had two touchdowns called back when the Vikings had ineligible players downfield.
The Trojans scrambled continually to stay in contact with CdA. Rigby trailed 21-13 at halftime and got down by 15 on three occasions. But the Vikings could never quite put the Trojans away.
“It really was a great high school football game,” Amos said.
As his disappointed players trailed off the field to the locker room, though, he added, “There is nothing you can say to them right now that they are going to hear.”
Watching his team celebrate, an ebullient Gonzalez had a different perspective.
“What better way to end a high school game in Idaho at the highest level?” he asked.