Firth High School
Conference: 2A Nuclear Conference
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Head Coach: Keith Drake
Years as Head Coach: 7th Season
Previous Experience: Assistant Coach – 1994-2000, 2010
Junior High Coach – 2001-2009
Record Last Year: 7-2
State Titles: Four total – 1988, 1998, 2005, 2006
RB Remington Chapman, senior
WR Colby Johnson, senior
RB Victor Burkhart, senior
OL/DL Heston Jolley, senior
OL/DL Kobe Cox, senior
Key Players lost from last year:
OL/DL Trevor Killpack
Incoming impact players:
Grayson Nelson, QB/TE, junior
Clayton Gain, RB, junior
Written by: Matt Harris
It’s not always about how you start a season – it’s about how you finish. And sometimes, the finish is not what you expected.
For the Firth Cougars, the finish has come all too early for them in recent years.
During the last three seasons, the Cougars’ dreams have ended in the play-in round to the Aberdeen Tigers. This year, Firth hopes to be able to shake off their struggles and advance deep into the postseason.
“I’m most excited about getting a chance to compete and improve week to week with this team,” said Firth head coach Keith Drake, now in his seventh season leading the Cougars.
Drake pointed to an improvement that needs to be made if his team is to get past the first round in 2017.
“Turnovers,” he said. “Eliminating turnovers is our X-factor.”
This year’s team features a lot of senior experience, which Drake said should only boost his team. Returning to the fold are senior running backs Remington Chapman and Victor Burkhart, along with junior running back Clayton Gain. They’ll be joined by senior Colby Johnson at wideout. Up front, the team will look to seniors Heston Jolley and Kobe Cox to help anchor the line.
Firth will also turn to junior quarterback Grayson Nelson to take over under center. Nelson, who also has played tight end, is expected to make a big impact. Drake hopes that his presence along with the senior experience on the team will aid the Cougars offensively.
“Like any team, we need to score more and be more efficient without committing turnovers,” he said.
Defensively, many of the same players from offense will also have duties on the opposite side of the ball. Drake said that the senior leadership will be key.
“We have good speed and good experience,” he said, “but we have to limit big plays and tackle better overall.”
The Cougars’ season opens on the road at West Side on Aug. 25, a traditional opening game that these two teams have played for quite some time. Firth then returns home to face Soda Springs on Sept. 1, before travelling south to face Malad on Sept. 8. The black-and-blue then complete their non-conference schedule at home against 3A South Fremont on Sept. 15, a game which is scheduled to be video streamed live on IdahoSports.com.
The Nuclear Conference slate opens on Sept. 22 when Firth takes the long jaunt to Salmon. Following a bye week, the Cougars will host two consecutive games beginning with Ririe on Oct. 6 and West Jefferson on Oct. 13. The team completes the league schedule on Oct. 20 at North Fremont.
The reigning Nuclear Conference champions look to not only repeat, but translate a potentially successful regular season into a deep playoff run. Firth has the athletes to make such a run and, if they can cut down on turnovers, don’t be surprised to see the playing into November this season.