Printed on: September 07, 2013

Sugar digs out a win on ground

By PAUL LAMBERT
plambert@postregister.com

FIRTH -- No punts. No kicks for points. No nonsense football.

And by the end of Friday night's smashmouth game between Firth and Sugar-Salem, there was almost no difference in score in a game settled by a single 2-point conversion, favoring Sugar 22-20.

Sugar-Salem tailback Jordan Godby and teammate Teancum Gibson combined for 322 rushing yards, all three of the Diggers' touchdowns and both of Sugar's successful 2-point conversions in the road win.

Gibson had the bulk of those yards with 175 on 24 carries, though he was quick to point out his yards were largely the result of Firth's efforts to key in on Godby.

"It's nice when they all fly at Jordan like that. It makes those yards easy for me," Gibson said. "Jordan rushes hard and breaks a lot of tackles, and that's why we like to run the triple option because it fits us so well."

Gibson also credited his offensive line for keeping the ball moving, noting, "Those guys are animals."

Neither team had any intention of losing any battle on either side of the line, illustrated by both teams' first possessions.

On its first take, Firth drove the ball deep into Sugar territory and failed on a fourth-and-goal from the 6, giving the Diggers the ball on their own 2-yard line. Sugar went 4-and-out on the ensuing possession, giving the ball right back to the Cougars on the Sugar 12-yard line rather than punting on 4th-and-3 from their own 8.

Firth converted first, as each team scored on its second and third possessions, sending the game into the half tied at 14.

Sugar struck first in the second half, marching 67 yards on five plays, including 60 rushing yards and an 18-yard TD run from Gibson. Godby powered the ball into the end zone for the conversion at the 8:55 mark in what turned out to be the winning margin.

Firth scored on its second possession of the second half on a crafty run by quarterback Jackson Thompson, but the Cougars' sweep attempt on the conversion was stuffed at the 5-yard line.

"When you work this hard to get something like this, it should hurt," Firth coach Keith Drake told his team postgame. "We got off the ball better tonight but just had too many mistakes."

Things got nutty in the fourth quarter as Sugar and Firth combined for five fumbles over six possessions, though none resulted in points. By the time the final horn sounded, the teams had combined for 527 rushing yards and seven turnovers.

"We were not as sound as we needed to be, and we're not super big, but we're fast," Sugar-Salem coach Thor Ware said.

Firth (1-1) will next play at Malad on Friday, while Sugar-Salem (2-0) will open up the 3A portion of its schedule at Snake River.