REXBURG — Sophomore lineman Mario Lizaragga was beside himself.
He and the Firth Cougars had just collected the runner-up trophy in Saturday’s 2A state championship game at Madison High School, walloped 39-0 by the West Side Pirates.
The final horn had sounded.
Helmets were off, heads were low, and tears were tracking through the eyeblack.
Seeing Lizarraga in his moment of despair and regret, Firth senior Taedyn Jacobsen proved senior leadership does not stop at season’s end.
“You’ll get ‘em,” Jacobsen said, putting his right hand on Lizarraga’s shoulder pads. “Get in the weight room, go hard, and you’ll get ‘em.”
At those words Lizaragga sucked up his tears and nodded to his captain.
This and scenes like it were repeated by the Firth Cougars, who closed out the 2020 season with a silver trophy on a sunny, cold afternoon in Rexburg.
For Jacobsen, the message from senior to sophomore was the only thing to say.
“I’ve been playing this game my whole life, and now it’s over.” Jacobsen said. “Now I just want these younger guys to have the change experience the (state championship) I didn’t.”
West Side defended its 2019 with a dominant defensive show against the Cougars, allowing Firth just 149 total yards, including 35 in the first half.
The Pirates had four interceptions and ended 10 of 11 Firth possessions with a 3-and-out or a turnover.
“We knew we had a tough matchup today, and our offense really struggled,” Jacobsen said. “We came out with energy, but they came out with more and came ready to smack us in the mouth.”
West Side took a 19-0 lead into the half, and took advantage of short fields throughout the game that were set up by a menacing Pirates’ defense.
The Pirates put up 376 yards of offense on the other side, getting three touchdowns out of tailback Cage Brokens.
West Side (11-0) has now won seven straight against Firth in an established eastern Idaho rivalry. The Pirates have also won 21 straight overall and are 32-2 since 2018.
For senior lineman Brandon Richards, Saturday’s loss was his final game in the blue-and-black. Though the finale wasn’t his ideal, it was the camaraderie he will miss the most.
“We had hoped for a different outcome, but I am proud of the season we had,” Richards said. “These guys are like my brothers, and I would do anything for them, even 10 years down the line.”
WEST SIDE 39, FIRTH 0
W — Cage Brokens 4 run (kick failed) 4:25
W — Brokens 52 pass from Blaize Brown (Jackson Stewart kick) 2:13
W — Bryler Shurtliff 43 pass from Brown (kick blocked) 6:19
W — Brokens 11 run (Cristian Plancarte run) 5:12
W — Brown 1 run (kick blocked) 10:33
W — B. Shurtliff 62 interception return (kick failed) 6:39
RUSHING — Firth: Jason Tucker 11-44, Gage Vasquez 10-28, Alex Vasquez 1-12, Trent Telford 2-6, Kyle Jacobsen 2-(-2), Burton Park 7-(-3). West Side: Brokens 9-34, Brown 7-34, Parker Henderson 9-31, Josh Reeder 2-31, Easton Shurtliff 4-12, Plancarte 3-(-1)
PASSING — Firth: G. Vasquez 7-25-4-64 West Side: Brown 11-17-1-235
RECEIVING — Firth: Taedyn Jacobsen 4-39, K. Jacobsen 1019, A. Vasquez 1-3, Park 1-1. West Side: B. Shurtliff 5-81, Brokens 2-56, Plancarte 1-50, Jacob Stokes 1-21, Henderson 1-20, Stewart 1-16.