The Lost Rivers Pirates ended their season with a 26-6 loss, giving up the state championship title to the Prairie Pirates at the Moscow Kibbie Dome last Saturday.

“The kids gave a tremendous effort,” said coach Travis Drussell of Mackay. “It came down to executing.”

Drussell said Prairie came prepared for a state game. He said their defense was too strong for Lost Rivers to put up their usual number of scores. The only touchdown came from running back Brady McAffee who ran the ball 69 yards for the score.

The loss ends Lost Rivers’s undefeated season. Entering the season as an unknown, the mixed team of Mackay and Arco athletes rose to No. 1 in state media polls. They averaged more than 51 points a game and would regularly keep their opponents to one or two touchdowns, or sometimes zero TDs.

Drussell said he is proud of his team and their accomplishments. He said the season was a bigger success than anyone expected.

“The boys learned a lot of good life lessons and I hope they maintain the friendships they made on the team,” said Drussell.

Drussell and his fellow coach from Arco, Sam Thorngren, don’t know if they will be able to continue their joint team next year. According to rules set by Idaho High School Activities Association, Butte County High in Arco will have too many players to qualify for eight-man, 1A football next year.

IHSAA board members recommended Butte County move up to 2A football, but Thorngren said it’s unrealistic because it would mean moving every player from the junior varsity team up to varsity. The recommendation would also leaves Mackay without a football team because not enough students are projected to join next season to fill the roster.

“We will continue conversations with the state,” said Drussell.”We’ll continue fighting for next year.”