Firth High School
Conference: 2A Nuclear Conference
Head Coach: Keith Drake
Years as Head Coach: 5th Season
Previous Experience: 1994-2000 Firth HS Assistant Coach, 2001-2009 Firth Jr. High Head Coach, 2010 Firth HS Defensive Coordinator
Record Last Year: 5-4
State Titles: 1988, 1998, 2005, 2006
Lucas Orme, WR, Senior
Brodie Cate, QB, Senior
Clay Elkington, RB, Senior
Miguel Garcia, OL, Senior
Connor Burkhart, WR, Senior
Returning Players with Honors:
Brodie Cate – 1st Team All-Conference QB
Lucas Orme – 1st Team All-Conference WR
Clay Elkington – 1st Team All-Conference KR
Jared Anderson – 1st Team All-Conference LB
Miguel Garcia – 1st Team All-Conference OL
Connor Burkhart - 2nd Team All-Conference WR
“Key Players” lost from last year:
Jackson Thompson, WR/RB/DB – Signed with College of Idaho, 2A 2nd Team All-Idaho RB/DB
Dallan Bingham, OL/DL – 2A 1st Team All-Idaho DL, 2A 2nd Team All-Idaho OL
Written by: Matt Harris (@IdahoSportsMatt)
In the last four seasons, the Firth Cougars have been a 2A state tournament staple.
In 2011 and 2012, the Cougars advanced all the way to the state championship game before bowing out to Grangeville and Declo, respectively. In 2013, Firth came up just short in overtime of the state semifinals against West Side. And in 2014, the Cougars lost a hotly contested first round battle with eventual state runner-up Aberdeen.
While the last four seasons have not culminated in a state championship as they would have hoped, their success during that timeframe should not go overlooked. The Cougars are 31-13 in the last four seasons. And the man who has been there every step of the way is head coach Keith Drake.
Drake enters his 5th season at the helm of the program. He will have a good mix of veterans and some newcomers available to try to bring home Firth’s fifth state football championship in school history.
Leading the way on offense is returning senior quarterback Brodie Cate. The signal-caller will have plenty of weapons to work with in the Cougars offense, including returning wide receiver Lucas Orme along with skill players Jared Anderson, Dylan Holley, Clay Elkington, and Mason Giles. Connor Burkhart, a 6'7" All-Conference Second Team selection at wide receiver, will add a big target on the outside for the Cougars offense.
On the line, All-Conference selection Miguel Garcia leads a young group of Cougars, including juniors Dylan Madsen, Trevor Killpack, and Audric Reid. As is it with any new group of linemen, it may take some time for the unit to gel.
When asked about desired improvements on offense in 2015, Drake emphasized three points.
“Like any team, we need to score more,” he said, noting that last year’s offense averaged 25.0 points per game. “We need to be more efficient overall and do so without committing turnovers.”
Defensively, the Cougars bring back a lot of firepower, as Orme, Anderson, and Elkington will lead the way on a unit that only gave up 13.5 points per game last season.
But there was one glaring aspect that punished Firth last season – one that Drake hopes can be corrected this year.
“We have to limit big plays,” he said.
It was those big plays that hurt his team in all four of their defeats last year, including three losses by six points or less. If the Cougars can limit big plays and manage turnovers, they could be right in the mix again this season.
That is, if they can get out of the gauntlet of Southeastern Idaho 2A football.
Over the last 11 years, a team from District 5/6 and from the eastern portion District 4 has won the state championship a whopping EIGHT times. This season, the competition looks to be fierce once again, which should set up for an excellent schedule.
“I think there are lots of games to be excited about this season,” said Drake. “We play a very competitive schedule starting with West Side and finishing up with West Jefferson and North Fremont.”
Drake is not only happy about the schedule ahead, but also excited for the opportunity to work with the young men of Firth again.
“I’m excited to get a chance to compete and improve week-to-week with the team,” he said.
Many people around the state will be watching to see what comes of these Firth Cougars this season. They are perennial contenders at a school that perennially contends in almost every sport.
If there is one thing that will happen without any doubt, it’s this: The Cougars will scratch and claw and battle until the very last second ticks off the clock.