Printed on: November 11, 2012

Cougars claw back to finals

By Marlowe Hereford
mhereford@postregister.com

POCATELLO -- Saturday's 2A high school state football semifinal game put the Firth Cougars into situations they had not faced all season.

Not only did the Cougars have to overcome a halftime deficit, but they did it without starting senior quarterback Jake Orme. Despite the challenges, Firth pulled out a 22-14 comeback win over West Side to advance to the 2A state title game for the second consecutive season.

The Cougars will face Declo for the state title at 3 p.m. Friday at Holt Arena.

Jake Orme went down after the final play of the first half, and the prognosis is a broken collarbone that will require surgery Monday. His cousin Mitch, who split time under center with Jake Orme last season, took his place for Firth (11-0).

While the senior was glad for the victory, he was quick to credit his team for backing him up.

"I just had to step up for the team so we could win," Mitch Orme said. "It wasn't just me, though. We had a sophomore step up who had to play center. We didn't give up. We just came out and played hard at the end."

After a slow start by both teams, The Pirates (8-3) broke through with a 3-yard touchdown run by McCoy Roberts and an extra point by Coby Roholt to put the Cougars in a 7-0 hole with three minutes remaining in the second quarter. Although Firth progressed as far as the West Side 16-yard line in the first half, the Pirates defense held them in check.

The tide turned after halftime.

Mitch Orme found Dalton Cate for an 8-yard touchdown and passed to Connor Montgomery for the two-point conversion to complete Firth's first drive of the second half and give the Cougars a 8-7 advantage.

The Pirates answered with a Tate Fuller 39-yard run and Roholt extra point. Mitch Orme put the Cougars ahead for good on Firth's next possession, completing a 12-yard touchdown run and a two-point conversion run.

The Pirates looked to start a rally of their own in the final three minutes of regulation but the Cougar defense stopped Roholt cold on fourth-and-1 at the Firth 30-yard line to seal the game.

The Cougars are now less than a week away from their second-consecutve title game. With a game like Saturday's behind them, they're battle tested.

"It just shows our versatility and how tough we are," Mitch Orme said. "Anybody can step up."

Around 2A

Declo shutout Marsing 36-0 to claim its third 2A state football title game berth in the past five years. Declo (11-0) advances to face top-ranked Firth (11-0) at 3 p.m. Friday at Holt Arena.