Head Coach: Keith Drake
Years as Head Coach: 8th Season
Previous Experience: Assistant (1994-2000, 2010)
Junior High Coach (2001-2009)
Record Last Year: 8-4
State Titles: '88, '98, '05, '06
John Tucker IV
Colton Mecham, CB/RB, 12
Grayson Nelson, QB/TE/DE, 12
Clayton Gain, RB/LB, 12
Returning Players with Honors:
Colton Mecham – 1st Team All-State
Grayson Nelson – 1st Team All-Conference
Key Players lost from last year:
Remington Chapman, RB
Gunner Vasquez, QB
Hesston Jolley, OL/DL
Victor Burkhart, RB
Coby Johnson, WR
Photo By: Steve Conner - #7 Grayson Nelson
Incoming impact players:
Cannon Carpenter, CB, 11
Jace Erickson, QB, 11
Kimball Williams, LB, 11
Vance Day, DE, 11
Written By: Matt Harris
2017 was a wild and wacky year in the Nuclear Conference. Plenty of upsets occurred, forcing coaches and administrators to dig deep into the tiebreaker scenarios to determine who would move on to the playoffs.
In the end, the Firth Cougars emerged on top of the heap and earned themselves the ‘A’ seed from District 6. But the Cougars were just getting started.
After rolling Soda Springs 54-0 in the first round, the Cougars smashed Orofino 34-12 and flattened New Plymouth 38-16. While they came up short in state championship game, falling to an undefeated and powerful Declo Hornets team 47-6, Firth had put together a great run in the postseason with good momentum heading into 2018.
This year’s cast of characters may be slightly different, but Firth’s goal is no different: get back to (and win) the state championship.
A few key players from last year’s state runner-up team have graduated, including running backs Remington Chapman and Victor Burkhart, lineman Hesston Jolley, quarterback Gunner Vasquez, and wide receiver Coby Johnson. But the Cougars, despite their roster trending towards more youth than experience, return plenty of talent to make another run in the Nuclear Conference.
Taking over running back duties this season will be seniors Colton Mecham and Clayton Gain, who will look to help shoulder the offensive playmaking load along with senior Grayson Nelson, slated to see time at tight end and at quarterback. Junior Jace Erickson will also take snaps from under center.
Firth head coach Keith Drake said he hopes to be more balanced with the run and pass ratio this season which, in turn, will hopefully allow them to be more consistent on offense. In 2017, the Cougars relied heavily on their rushing attack.
Defensively, look for Nelson and junior Vance Day to lead the way on the line. Gain and junior Kimball Williams will anchor the linebacking corps, while Mecham and junior Cannon Carpenter will protect the defensive backfield.
Drake added that his team will bring a physical brand of defense to opposing teams and wants that unit to force more turnovers this season.
As with any small school, health will play a major factor in the potential success of the Cougars. Drake said their biggest factor on their season will be if they can remain healthy at key positions.
This year, Firth will play a 7-game schedule which kicks off at home on Aug. 24 against long-time first week opponent West Side.
“West Side is always a tough game,” Drake said.
The Cougars will then play three straight games away from home: Aug. 31 at Soda Springs, Sept. 14 at South Fremont, and Sept. 21 at Ririe. The Ririe game marks the beginning of conference play.
Firth will then finish their season with home dates against Salmon and North Fremont on Sept. 28 and Oct. 12, respectively, and a matchup on the road in Terreton against West Jefferson on Oct. 19.