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BLACKFOOT â€” The River Rivalry is back! Yes folks, the ages old rivalry game between the Blackfoot Broncos and the Snake River Panthers will resume on Friday night and despite being in kept in limbo for over a decade, the game should no doubt stir memories of times gone by as the entire community will sit up and take notice.
When last we visited the Battle for Bingham County, the Panthers were in the midst of the Tom Harrison era a golden time that saw the Panthers reel off 54 straight wins, including seven state championships in an eight year span.
In the final time that the two teams took to the field in battle a lightning storm passed through the area, striking dangerously close to the field causing a stoppage of play with Snake River leading and therefore being declared the winner.
In 1984 the Rotary Club sponsored a rival wagon which included the victory bell that was rung loud and proud by the victorious team annually in the Eastern Idaho State Fair parade as the game was always scheduled the night before the start of the fair.
Snake River has possession of the wagon and bell as they were the last school to win the right to ring the bell but both have gone missing in the decade long absence of the game.
Friday nights game will assuredly be a welcome addition to the gate receipts as a large crowd is anticipated for the game and the Blackfoot Boosters will be hosting a tail gate party at the BHS parking lot at 5:30 courtesy of generous contributions from Mr. Pizza, Blackfoot's Best Pizza and Five Buck Pizza.
Blackfoot fans are encouraged to wear black for the game.
"We want our crowd to be in black to unite. It is meant to be intimidating in a fun way. We are hoping the whole evening and the game will be a lot of fun for the community, " said Kari Martin
As for the game itself, both the 3A and 4A state runner ups from last season will be squaring off on the grid iron.
Both teams will feature a fearsome ground attack with Snake River featuring Emmett Smith, Chad Van Orden and Adrian Castaneda.
Blackfoot will counter with their own multi-headed rushing monster with Alonzo Ramos, Ryan Gallegos, Mitch Martin and Carlton Moore causing match up problems all over the field.
Both teams have stout offensive lines and the defenses have yet to be seriously challenged thus far on the 2011 season.
Last week, the Panthers shut out the Sugar-Salem Diggers and their vaunted rushing attack while Blackfoot put the breaks on a high scoring Skyline squad.
Both teams feature an attacking defense with Snake River getting strong play from Travis Robertson who tallied double digit tackles and a trio of quarterback sacks last week.
Blackfoot has James Wislodowski who for a lack of a better term is an absolute beast on the field as he too, garnered double-digit tackles a week ago and almost single handedly shut down the Skyline offense on their first two possessions of the third quarter.
All things being equal, the game will more than likely come down to the passing game where Blackfoot has, at least on paper, a distinct advantage.
The Broncos will trot out senior signal caller Trae Pilster and after averaging over 275-yards passing per game last year, Pilster is more than capable of shredding an opposing defense on any given night.
The Panthers have yet to face a passing game as prolific as the one that they will face Friday night so that could very well be the key to victory for either team.
Despite the final outcome of Friday nights contest, the community will be in for a treat as the ghosts of games past will come to visit. Will those ghosts have a few tricks up their sleeves on Friday night? Unknown to be sure but one thing is for certain, Southeastern Idaho's greatest rivalry game is back. And if all goes well, it will be back to stay for future generations to enjoy.