Firth High School
Conference: 2A Nuclear Conference
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Head Coach: Keith Drake
Years as Head Coach: 6th Season
Previous Experience: Defensive coordinator in 2010, Jr. High Head Coach from 2001-2009, High School assistant coach from 1994-2000
Record Last Year: 4-5
State Titles: 1988, 1998, 2005, 2006
Trevor Killpack, OL, Senior
Audric Reid, OL, Senior
Key Players lost from last year:
Lucus Orme – 1st Team All-Conference Safety
Brodie Cade – All-Conference Quarterback
Incoming impact players:
Remington Chapman, RB, Junior
Coby Johnson, RB, Junior
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)
Firth had many opportunities last season to make a statement to the rest of Idaho that they had the talent and capabilities to make a run in the playoffs.
Unfortunately for the Cougars, mistakes led to missed opportunities and a subpar season by Firth’s standards.
Firth opened up the season with a close 8-0 loss against perennial contender West Side, before easily rolling in games against Malad and Soda Springs. The Cougars then started out their game against South Fremont with fire before penalties took hold, leading them to a 29-0 defeat. Firth then rebounded with a 20-0 win at Salmon before their biggest tests of the regular season came knocking. A loss against West Jefferson in the final moments and a shellacking at the hands of North Fremont brought the Cougars down. An easy win over Ririe catapulted Firth into the playoffs as the district’s third seed. Missed opportunities and a controversial call didn’t help the Cougars bid to upset then-No. 1 ranked Aberdeen, eventually falling 16-12.
This season, sixth-year Firth head coach Keith Drake knows what his team has to be better at to find more success.
“Eliminating turnovers,” he said. “That is the ‘X-Factor’ to our season. We have to score more and be more efficient without committing turnovers.”
As the Cougars enter the 2016 season, they will have to replace a few familiar names on the roster. All-Conference selections Brodie Cate and Lucus Orme have graduated along with fellow seniors Connor Burkhart, Dylan Holley, and Clay Elkington. All of those players were skill position players and Drake has the pieces to replace them.
“Remington Chapman and Coby Johnson, both juniors, will take over at running back,” he said. “They will be impact players for us,” he said. The Cougars averaged 19.8 points per game last season.
Those two (and anyone else who lines up in the backfield) will certainly be aided by Firth’s offensive line.
“Our returning offensive line will certainly be a strength”, said Drake.
Defensively, as many of the previous players mentioned played on both sides of the ball, the Cougars will have to find their stride with new starters. Drake mentioned the need to limit big plays as a defensive key for the entire season and that he believes Firth has the personnel to accomplish it.
“We return our defensive backfield this year. They are a strong point for us,” he said. Firth’s defense gave up an average of 15.7 points per contest last season.
The Cougars will need to adjust quickly to the new personnel as they open the season against a perennial contender.
“We have a lot of games to be excited about on our schedule,” said Drake. “We play a very competitive schedule starting with West Side and finishing up with West Jefferson and North Fremont.”
While Firth hosts West Side in Week 1, the Cougars will take on Soda Springs and Malad in consecutive weeks before playing the lone 3A team on their schedule, the South Fremont Cougars. Conference play then arrives as Firth hosts Salmon on September 23, followed by games at Ririe and at West Jefferson before returning home to host North Fremont in the final game of the regular season.
High school football is all about how much you improve from Week 1 through the final week. Drake says he loves the challenge.
“Getting a chance to compete and improve with the team from week to week is what I’m most excited about entering the season,” he said.