The Aberdeen Tigers take over the No. 1 spot on Sports Line’s Power Rankings for Week Four, leap-frogging division foe West Side. Aberdeen spent six weeks in the top spot in 2014 before stumbling down the stretch. The Tigers return to the familiar position because they can score points while playing a relatively tough schedule for their small classification. Teton and Highland both jump three spots to complete the Top Five as they displace Madison and Rigby.
Biggest Gain: 11. Pocatello (+9)
Biggest Loss: 16. West Jefferson (-7)
The Pocatello Indians made the biggest jump this week, coming in at No. 11, nine spots ahead of their 20th ranking a week ago. In two weeks, Poky has jumped a total of 13 slots. The Indians begin conference play this week against another tribe, the Preston Indians. Through four weeks, no team in that division is better than 2-2. Rigby appears to be the most-talented team in the conference, but the 4A schools in Districts 5-6 are guaranteed three spots to the playoffs. Preston hasn’t impressed, and Blackfoot is struggling. That could leave the door open for Pocatello to take a shot at the playoffs.
Sports Line’s power-rankings formula measures a team’s total performance using win-loss record, point differential and strength of schedule. In 2014, the top five teams in SL’s rankings all played their way into their respective state championship games. Three of those teams; Highland, Snake River and West Side, ultimately won their titles. Blackfoot and Aberdeen were the only two inside the top five to lose in the final weekend.
Looking back over two weeks, a few teams have made big gains or big losses. We mentioned Pocatello’s 13-spot jump over that span. Shelley has been equally good, jumping 13 slots in two weeks. On the flip side, Rigby has fallen seven spots after being No. 1 following Week 2. Marsh Valley has dropped nine positions in the same fortnight.
Highland cracked the Top Five with the Rams’ victory over Madison in Rexburg. Gino Marini can thank his special teams for blocking a last-second field goal to seal a 23-22 victory in the team’s first game outside of Holt Arena. With the traditional Black and Blue Bowl having been lopsided in Highland’s favor over Poky the past few years, the Rams might be thinking about calling this week’s match up with Coeur d’Alene the new B&B Bowl. Highland has won three-straight regular-season games against CDA, but the Vikings knocked Highland out of the playoffs in 2012 and 2013. CDA has won three in a row here in 2015 since losing to Highland’s league foe Skyline in Week One.
Looking ahead to Week 5 in Idaho, I see a lot of games that could be very lopsided on the final scoreboard. Perhaps the most intrguing game comes from the Mountain Rivers Conference as Teton hosts South Fremont in a game that gives early control of the league to the victor. Enjoy the games!