POCATELLO – In an inter-conference game played at Holt Arena Friday, the Firth Cougars of the Nuclear Conference and District 6 took on the Bear Lake Bears of the South East Idaho Conference and District 5.
The Cougars showed why they are the second-ranked team in the state, as they completely dismantled the Bears, scoring on their first four possessions en route to a 26-0 halftime lead and then cruised in the second half to win the game by a 45-8 final.
Led by senior running back Sam Park, who would score three touchdowns in the game and gained 214 yards on only 17 carries, the Cougars also got another 97 yards on 10 carries from junior Burton Park.
The powerful running game allowed quarterback Gage Vasquez to only have to attempt nine passes in the game and he was nearly perfect as he completed eight for another 96 yards and a touchdown as the Cougars were never in doubt of winning their second straight game.
The Bears were in trouble for most of the night as they simply couldn’t get any offense going until it was too late. They picked up a meaningless score late in the fourth quarter, but the game was completely out of their reach by that time.
It wasn’t just the offense that Firth showed up with on Friday night, it was a complete game as the defense did its part as well.
All-state defensive end Athon Blonquist, who led the nation in quarterback sacks a year ago, was all over the field in the first half, making tackles from sideline to sideline, getting tackles for a loss and disrupting the Bears offense at every opportunity. He even picked up some more sacks in the process as the Bears just couldn’t find an answer in blocking him on any play.
The way Blonquist played only opened up opportunities for linebacker Riley Barber to do his share of damage as well and when Blonquist didn’t make a play, it seemed like the stadium announcer was calling Barber’s name out.
When the Bears were forced to throw the ball, the Cougar defensive backfield came alive with defensive backs Alex and Gage Vasquez leading the charge and disrupting pass play after pass play. When they didn’t knock the ball out of the hands of an offensive receiver, they were on the play and making the tackles.
Linebackers Austin Jacobsen and fellow defensive players Sam Park and Burton Park and linemen Arick Blonquist and Oriz were there to stuff any attempt that the Bears had to try and get the ball down the field.
There is no doubt the Cougars are a good team and they should continue to show that as they suit it up for their next game.
The Cougars will be at home for their next game on Friday when they will welcome the undefeated South Fremont Cougars to town for a 7 p.m. contest.
BEAR LAKE 0 0 0 8 — 8
FIRTH 14 12 6 13 — 45
Firth – 10:22 first qtr, Burton Park 11 yd run, PAT no good 6 — 0
Firth – 6:18 first qtr, Sam Park 11 yd run PAT (2 pt) good 14 – 0
Firth – 5:32 second qtr, Gage Vasquez, 1 yard run PAT no good 20 – 0
Firth – 1:31 second qtr, Austin Jacobsen, 6 yr pass from Gage Vasquez, PAT no good, 26 – 0
Firth – 2:30, third qtr, Sam Park 28 yard run, 2 pt PAT no good 32 –0
Firth – 11:02 fourth qtr, Sam Park 48 yard run, 2 pt PAT no good 38 – 0
Bear Lake – 6:17 fourth qtr Crane, 3 yard pass from Neal, 2 pt PAT good 38 — 8
Firth – 0:54 fourth qtr, Burton Park, 12 yard run, PAT good 45—8
RUSHING: Bear Lake, Matthews, 15-39 yards, Neal 6 – 18 yards, Alleman, 4-17 yards, Shaul, 1 – yards; Firth, Sam Park, 17 – 214 yards, Burton Park, 10 – 97 yards, Gage Vasquez, 5-9 yards; Riley Barber, 2 – 4 yards
PASSING: Bear Lake, Neal, 9-16-1 td, 116 yards; Firth, Gage Vasquez, 7-8-1 td, 96 yards
RECEIVING: Bear Lake, Crane, 4-60 yards, Alleman, 1-1 yard, Beresford, 2-18 yards, Garbert, 1-20 yards; Firth, Alex Vasquez, 3-41 yards, Burton Park, 2-25 yards, Austin Jacobsen, 3-51 yards