Cougars hold on for big win over Pirates
Morgan Giles looks down field during a first quarter run at Firth High School on Friday evening.
FIRTH â€” A 6-0 Butte County team invaded Firth on Friday night, looking to complete a perfect regular season and capture a 2A Nuclear Conference Title.
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The Cougars were having none of that nonsense on their senior night however as they started fast and then held on late for a 36-60 victory.
"This was a huge win, basically if we can win out we will be conference champs which is what our goal was setting out," Firth head coach Dee Harrison said. "We're getting better. The offensive line did a great job, the defense was awesome it was just a great game."
Firth took the lead with 2:49 remaining in the first quarter as Mitch Orme pushed across the end line on a fourth and two and then completed a 2-point conversion pass to Kory Andersen for a 8-0 Cougar lead.
On the Pirates first play on offense they fumbled the ball and the Cougar defense pounced on the opportunity several plays later as Orme tallied his second touchdown of the quarter and then once again hit Andersen for the 2-point conversion and a 16-0 lead.
"They win if we don't come out and do that," coach Harrison said. "We came out fired up on a big night for my seniors who have played for me for four years. This was for them on their home field and I have enjoyed coaching them."
After a Pirate score and conversion Firth once again went on a nice drive, capping it with a 5-yard touchdown burst from Morgan Giles. Firth was successful on the 2-point try as Brenner Coughlan hauled in the pass from Orme giving the Cougars a 24-8 lead with 2:51 remaining.
It looked as if the Pirates were going to score just before the half but a huge tackle by Kent Jolley at the 1 foot line preserved the 16-point advantage heading into the break.
"It felt great we were fired up," Morgan Giles said. "Unfortunately we came out a little flat there in the second half but we were able to hold on and stick it out."
Butte County got the ball to begin the second half but Morgan Giles quickly got the ball back for the Cougars as he picked off a pass on the second play from scrimmage, setting the offense up on the 31-yard line.
Two-minutes later Orme crossed the end line for his third touchdown of the game, once again from a yard out pushing the lead to 30-8.
Later in the quarter Orme connected with Coughlan on a 30-yard pitch and catch and the Cougars were rolling 36-8.
There is a reason why the Pirates were undefeated heading into the contest however, they just will not quit and over the last 17-minutes of game play the Pirates mounted a furious comeback, eventually pulling to within one score at 36-30 with 2:54 remaining in the game.
On the ensuing onside kick, Butte recovered the ball on the Cougar 46. That was as close as they got on that opportunity however as Logan Wynn picked off a pass in the flat, returning the ball down to the Pirate 30-yard line.
Butte was able to hold on a fourth down getting the ball back with 1:13 remaining but the Cougar defense was equal to the task, holding off the late charge for the biggest win of the year.
"Keith Drake is our defensive coach and our scheme was great," coach Harrison said. "The plan was to put Ben [Cornia] in the middle and have him blow things up and he did his job and that's what we needed him to do. He's a big guy and he is getting better and better each week."
"We're on a roll, two games in a row and we need to continue to get better," Harrison continued. "I love these guys, they've done everything that I've asked them to do and they are just getting better every week."
With the win Firth evens their season record at 3-3. More importantly they are 2-0 in conference play and control their own destiny for the conference title.