Rich (7-3) vs. Altamont (5-6)
1A state tournament semifinal
At Hillcrest High School
Saturday, 2 p.m.
Parry’s Power Guide: Altamont by 6
All-time series: Rich leads 27-8
Coach vs. coach: Rich’s Ashley Brown leads Altamont’s Mick Fieldstead, 5-0
Last meeting: Sept. 21, 2012 (Week 6) — Rich 41, Altamont 26
An interesting storyline has developed in the 1A semifinals this year.
Despite Rich’s nine-game winning streak against Altamont dating back to 2004, which includes a 15-point victory this year, the Rebels are an underdog according to Parry’s Power Guide.
Even though every other indicator seems to point to a Rich victory when the teams meet at Hillcrest High School this Saturday, Altamont has come on very strong lately and the computer has taken notice.
In addition to its convincing 35-20 win over Diamond Ranch in last week’s quarterfinals, Altamont beat fellow semifinalist Monticello 22-20 back in Week 7.
“We’re probably as healthy as we’ve been all year. We’re about where I thought we could be at the beginning of the season with our line and the kids we’ve had coming back,” said coach Mick Fieldstead. “We’ve had some injuries through the year, but the last couple weeks we’ve had everybody healthy and that’s made a big difference on our lines.”
Altamont racked up more than 500 yards of total offense in last week’s win over shorthanded Diamond Ranch, including 300 yards rushing from Kyle Foy.
Foy heads into the 1A semifinals with 1,854 rushing yards and 16 TDs.
Rich’s defense should be up to the challenge against one of the best running backs in the state. In Rich’s 41-26 win over Altamont back on Sept. 21, it held Foy to just 107 yards and two touchdowns. It was Foy’s lowest yardage total against a 1A team all season.
Rich’s defense forced three turnovers in the victory against Altamont, and both coaches expect turnovers to play a big roll again.
“You can’t turn the ball over at this time of the year or it kills you,” said Rich coach Ashley Brown.
While Altamont will lean heavily on Foy, Rich isn’t nearly as one dimensional. Rich’s Austin Groll is a dual-threat quarterback who has passed for 710 yards and nine TDs and rushed for 890 yards and 14 TDs. Running back Kaden Thomson has enjoyed a fantastic season as well with 819 rushing yards and 10 TDs.
Altamont’s defense, which allows nearly four touchdowns per game, must find a way to slow down Rich’s offensive weapons if it hopes to prove the computers right.
Rich statistical breakdown
Scoring offense: 33.2 ppg
Scoring defense: 22.3 ppg
Passing leader: Austin Groll (38-73, 52.21 percent, 710 yards, 9 TDs, 2 INTs)
Rushing leaders: Austin Groll (94 carries, 890 yards, 14 TDs), Kaden Thomson (105 carries, 819 yards, 10 TDs), Benjamin Groll (87 carries, 560 yards, 3 TDs)
Receiving leaders: McKay Jarman (13 rec., 202 yards, 2 TDs), Wyatt Muirbrook (7 rec., 209 yards, 5 TDs)
Tackles leaders: Not provided
Sack leaders: Not provided
Interception leaders: Not provided
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