The Carey Panthers and Castleford Wolves will renew a long-standing rivalry Friday, Oct. 11 in an important Sawtooth Conference West eight-man prep football game starting at 7 p.m. at Derrick Parke Memorial Field in Carey.
Both teams will be seeking their first conference wins. That’s an important milestone considering that only four of the five Sawtooth West teams will qualify for the series of four Sawtooth East-West state play-in games on Friday, Nov. 1.
Carey (2-2, 0-1 league) has lost to unbeaten Dietrich 36-24. Castleford (1-4, 0-2, 45.2 ppg defense) has lost to Dietrich 60-26 and to undefeated Lighthouse Christian of Twin Falls 52-6.
Both Carey and Castleford are coming off of bye weeks. Both have upcoming dates with Richfield (2-1, 0-1), the third Sawtooth West squad battling to make the state play-in grade. Castleford visits Richfield Oct. 18. Carey hosts Richfield Oct. 25.
Carey coach Lane Kirkland said, “We’ll need one win in our conference to qualify for those play-in games. It looks like a great opportunity to get that when we play Castleford.”
Wins over Castleford and Richfield would secure the No. 3 West seed for Carey for the Nov. 1 state play-in week. “Position No. 3 would be fine. We would then play the No. 2 seed from the East, either North Gem or Calvary Chapel,” Kirkland said. Carey has already beaten North Gem 38-27 Sept. 6 in Carey.
Sawtooth West leaders are Dietrich (6-0, 2-0 league) and last year’s state runner-up Lighthouse Christian (5-0, 2-0).
Those two teams and reigning champ Salmon River are considered the best 1A Division 2 squads in Idaho this fall. Salmon River (6-0, 50.2 ppg offense) whipped Horseshoe Bend 68-20 Friday. Lighthouse entertains Horseshoe Bend (3-2) on Oct. 11.
Calvary Chapel (2-3, 2-0 East) is looking more and more like the No. 1 seed from Sawtooth East following its 62-60 home win over North Gem (2-3, 1-1 East) last Friday. The other two East teams, Mackay (1-4, 1-1) and Rockland (2-4, 1-1) will also make the state play-in games since Sho-Ban has forfeited out.
Kirkland’s Panthers last played Castleford when there was much more at stake, both times at Holt Arena in Pocatello in the State 1A Division 2 semi-finals.
Carey beat Castleford 62-16 in 2011 at Holt Arena, then lost the championship game 34-22 to Lighthouse Christian the next week. In 2010, Carey defeated Castleford 20-6 at Holt and then won the state championship 62-36 over Garden Valley at Eagle.
The teams last played at Carey in the 2008 season opener, Carey winning 48-30. Prior to that, Carey and Castleford clashed in playoff games in 2002 and 2001, both times at the Wolves’ gridiron, with Castleford winning both times 54-8.