Rigby wrestles the state championship away from Meridian in the final minutes

Posted at 9:42 AM, Nov 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-19 11:42:58-05

BOISE, Idaho — The Meridian Warriors were going for their first 5A Idaho state football championship since 2007, but to get it done they had to take down Rigby, the defending state champs.

Rigby handed Meridian its first loss of the season in a heavyweight matchup where Rigby came from behind to defeat the Warriors 28-21.

Meridian lead the entire game until Rigby took the lead by one on a two-point conversion with 2:23 to play in the game, in those final moments Jack Boudrero came up with the plays of the game getting and interception for a touchdown and then forcing a fumble on the kickoff, which Rigby recovered cementing a big comeback for the Trojans.

"When it mattered most it wasn't perfect because it was a little ugly early we turned the ball over we dropped some balls, but we finished strong and we took the ball away from them and that was the difference," said Rigby's head coach Armando Gonzalez.

After not committing a turnover in the first half Meridian lost two fumbles and threw two interceptions in the second half, they ended up losing the turnover battle four to three.

Meridian's defense came out swinging and helped get the Warriors a 14-0 lead in the first half, senior Nathan Reynolds was all over the field and when he forced a fumble on the biggest hit of the game it looked like that could have been the knock out blow.

However, Meridian wasn't able to get a first down on their next drive which set the stage for junior Luke Flowers who engineered what looked to be the game tying drive, Flowers was outstanding he threw for 312 yards and finished the drive with a five-yard touchdown scramble.

At that point Gonzalez decided to try and take the lead, Rigby converted a two-point conversion on a wide receiver screen to Brady Packer.

Meridian would march right down the field looking to retake the lead but that's when Boudrero came up with an interception and Rigby snatched the championship in the final minutes, it marks the third state championship in the last five years for Rigby.

"They were the top team in the state this year without a doubt and not a lot of people expected us to be back," said Gonzalez. "We had a young team which just goes to show the resiliency and maturity of our kids and the culture we have been able to develop"

Meridian sophomore quarterback Zeke Martinez threw for 124 yards, Rylie Byington rushed for 76 yards and two touchdowns and Marco Del Rio rushed for 34 yards and a touchdown, but he also lost two fumbles.

Meridian had a 21-7 lead in the third quarter and they dominated the first half, but the score was closer than it felt as Meridian missed some opportunities to extend the lead and put away the Trojans.

"This one stings, I feel for the players, I’m proud of our guys, I’m proud of how we competed and how we played,” said Meridian head coach John Zamberlin. “I just feel for them right now as far as coming that close and coming up short."