Photo By Randy Jones - #1 Sam Park
Written by Hailey Stewart
Although Firth ended the 2019 season with a first-round playoff loss to Bear Lake, the Cougars are looking to extend some of last year’s momentum to this year, even with the loss of some key players.
Head coach Jordan Bartlett said the team will miss recent graduate and tackle Josh Jolley, who anchored the line on both the offense and defense.
While the Cougars have lost some integral players, Bartlett is excited about the addition of Gage Vasquez as the team’s new quarterback.
As a 5-foot-2 freshman during the 2019 season, Vasquez made the Varsity team last fall and acted as backup quarterback during the Cougars’ first-round playoff game at Holt Arena. A state wrestling champion and now a sophomore, Vasquez looks to bring strength to his new position on the gridiron this coming season.
“He should make some noise as an electrifying playmaker with his legs and arm,” Bartlett said.
In addition to Vasquez’s playmaking abilities, Bartlett said the key to gameday success is due to a strong string of offensive linemen and their ability to create wide-open space for the team’s running backs.
“We try to have a balanced offense, but every game will have a different strategy and will dictate our game plan,” Bartlett said.
Bartlett will look to junior running back Sam Park — a dynamic player in both the rushing and passing game — to act as another leader on the offensive end.
On the defensive end, Bartlett expects an aggressive group of defensive players to break out this fall.
“We preach individual responsibility and gang tackling. We expect our players to be aggressive and fly to the ball,” Bartlett said.
Junior defensive end Athan Blonquist and senior linebacker Jason Tucker will be key players this season. Blonquist looks to be a “game wrecker,” while Tucker is expected to be the team’s leading tackler on most nights, Bartlett said.
Bartlett said the Cougars are looking forward to another matchup against the formidable North Fremont Oct. 23.
“It is our last game of the regular season and I expect it to determine the Nuclear Conference champions,” Bartlett said.
Firth will once again open the season Aug. 28 against West Side.
Check back with IdahoSports.com for updated scores and schedules.