IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – Week one of the high school football season didn't bring about too many surprises on the eastern side of the Gem State, but we saw plenty of good games around the region. Mostly, we're still learning a lot about most teams.
With week one now in the books, we can reveal the first power ranking of the season. While they're not perfect, the rankings pull each team onto an even playing field and provide a tool to measure how each squad performs. Just because a team is ranked higher doesn't necessarily mean it will beat a lower ranked team in a head-to-head match up. Points are either acquired or lost for victories, losses and point differential before being multiplied by strength of schedule.
SCHOOL POINTS NOTES
1. Aberdeen 176 Only team earning max points. Road win over a large school.
T2. Shelley 132 Shutout Faith Lutheran in Rocky Mt. Rumble.
T2. Rigby 132 Hayden Livingston. Guard Him!
4. Snake River 110 Panthers offense showed up vs. SF.
T5. Highland 108 Won in Rocky Mt. Rumble. Lower Point differential.
T5. Blackfoot 108 Momentum building off the end of 2013 season.
T5. West Side 108 Tough road win. Defensive game.
T5. Malad 108 Went on the road and beat a larger school.
9. Pocatello 105 Poky's back. Can new offense remain effective?
10. West Jefferson 88 Ended 17-game losing streak. Started JT Era on right foot.
11. Ririe 33 Lost by a FG on the road, out of state.
12. Preston 24 Lost to out-of-state on the road.
T13. Bonneville 21 Took on the best. Can be better vs. Idaho teams and after a week off.
T13. Teton 21 Loss at home vs. out-of-state rival
T13. Bear Lake 21 Bears started 2A play with loss to out-of-state.
16. Firth 18 Sloppy, defensive battle cost Firth power points.
T17. Skyline 16 Good showing against state champs, but still a loss.
T17. Madison 16 Point differential key in loss to Capital.
T19. Idaho Falls 14 Blown out by Eagle on the road.
T19. Century 14 Where's Hayden Livingston?
T19. South Fremont 14 Gave up too many points to Snake River.
T19. Soda Springs 14 Friends of Jason Taylor.
23. Sugar-Salem 11 Road loss to a smaller school.
T24. Hillcrest 9 Road loss to a smaller school.
T24. Marsh Valley 9 Road loss to a smaller school.
26. American Falls 7 Shut out at home by a smaller school.
*North Fremont had a BYE in week 1.
Looking at the top five from the first week of action, Aberdeen came in at No. 1 with 176 total points. The Tigers were the only team in districts five or six to earn the maximum amount of points available in the mathematical formula. While I think it bodes well for Aberdeen's season, I don't think they could compete with Highland or Shelley.
In a tie for second, the Shelley Russets and Rigby Trojans. Travis Hobson and company shutout Faith Lutheran, NV, in the Rocky Mountain Rumble. The Russets still have a competitive schedule the rest of the way. If they continue to score and hold teams off the board, they'll be inside the top five all year long. Rigby also plays five of the six 5A teams from our region. If the Trojans continue to unleash Hayden Livingston, they could be right beside the Russets this season. It all depends on the math.
Snake River broke the flood gates wide open against South Fremont. The Panthers come in at No. 4 on the rankings. After a BYE week this Friday, Snake River plays three of their next four on the road. More performances like this could have the Panthers swimming in power-ranking points all season.
For fifth place, we have a four-way tie. Highland, Blackfoot, West Side and Malad all scored 108 points in our formula. Highland and Blackfoot both had home wins while the two 2A schools went on the road and won. I think the biggest win for any of these teams came from Blackfoot. The Broncos are trying to build of last season's momentum, and it looks like they could be well in the mix for a playoff spot in 2013, especially with the new playoff format for 5A and 4A schools this season.
Other observations from week one: Pocatello is now on the radar of head coaches around the region after a down year in 2013. With the win against Twin Falls, the Indians have announced they're back... But they still have some games to prove they're going to hang around all season. Hint. Let's see how they play this week in the Black & Blue Bowl against arch rival Highland.
How about West Jefferson? The Panthers ended a 17-game losing streak and started the Jason Taylor era on the right foot with a shutout of Soda Springs on the Terreton turf. Will the Panthers give Firth a run for the District Six 2A crown?
Remember, it's only week one, and these rankings are based solely on math. As the season rolls along, the math will average out, and teams will improve or fall back to Earth. But until we have state champions decided, it's always fun to start the debate.