FIRTH – The Firth Cougars opened the season a week ago with a tough opponent — The top-ranked team in the state in West Side, on the road, and came away with a loss 28-18.
The Cougars, sporting a very young roster with a lot of freshmen and sophomores suiting up for the game, figured to improve off of that effort and they were at home against an untested team in Soda Springs.
The Cougars got a first quarter touchdown pitch and catch from senior quarterback Jace Erickson to senior wide out Teague Shook and carried that 6-0 lead into the fourth quarter.
That is when they turned the ball over to the running game and it responded, mainly on the legs of sophomore Sam Park who would eventually carry the ball in from 17 yards out to push the score up to 12-0 in favor of the Cougars and that is where the game would end.
In between the two scores, it was a lot of plays being made by the underclassmen. The youngsters stepped up and produced for the Cougars and a classic example of that was an interception by freshman Gage Vasquez. There were plays being made all over the field by the youngsters.
Park was clearly the star of the game, making numerous receptions for just over 50 yards and rushing the ball for another 50 plus yards and a touchdown. He also intercepted a Cardinal pass midway through the second quarter to stop a Soda Springs drive as time was winding down in the half.
The fourth quarter is where the senior leadership took over and the game was put out of reach. It was time consuming drives led by senior quarterback Jace Erickson and crushing runs by senior Canon Carpenter that whittled the clock down and forced the Cardinals to gamble and that just didn’t work against the ball hungry Cougars.
“I owe all of my success to my teammates,” Park said. “I got a great block from Canon (Carpenter), the line blocked well all night and Jace threw the ball well. It all added up to a big team win for us tonight.”
The win was the first for new head coach Jordan Bartlett who has gotten the team as a whole to buy into his new schemes and football philosophy.
“This was a big win for all of us,” Bartlett said. “I think that we will all look back to this game as the one that started this team on to bigger and better things. I thank everyone involved for making this a special night for all of us.”
While this one game will not make the season, it shows that this is a team that can make plays, plays a strong and quick defense, and is building the resume that will be important when the playoffs roll around in six or seven weeks.
On the season, Firth is now 1-1, 0-0 in conference play and will travel to take on Snake River on Friday with kick off slated for 7 p.m.