POCATELLO – The Firth Cougar football program took a huge step back to where it has historically been on Thursday evening as it knocked off the Malad Dragons 33-26 in the first round of the 2A state football playoffs.
Mitch Orme led the way for a Cougar team that was looking to exact a little bit of payback on the Dragons from a heartbreaking two-point loss two months ago.
Orme was fantastic as he accounted for three touchdowns for the Cougars, a pair rushing and another through the air as he amassed 102 yards on the ground and 83 through the air.
“I was just thinking back to when I was a freshman and we went 0-8. To come out here and get a win tonight just feels great,” Orme said. “Tonight was just like the last time when we played them with the game going back and forth until the end. We just kept at it until we pulled it off.”
With just under nine minutes in the fourth quarter it looked as if the Cougars had salted away a blowout victory as Firth scored back-to-back touchdowns to push its lead to 33-14.
After a Connor Montgomery interception set the Cougar offense up on the Dragon 15-yard line, Orme then took a handoff and outraced the Dragon defense to the pylon for the touchdown. Brenner Coughlan then hauled in a Jacob Orme two-point conversion pass.
On the ensuing kickoff, the Dragons fumbled and bumbled the ball away into the waiting arms of Taylor Richards, giving the Cougars the ball back on the 28-yard line.
On the next play, Coughlan sprinted his way through the Dragon defense for the score and the seemingly insurmountable 18-point lead.
“Our guys all year have continued to work and continued to believe in one another,” Firth coach Keith Drake said. “They are mentally tough. Malad is a great team. They have great coaches and great athletes so we knew that they weren’t going to quit.”
Malad didn’t quit. Instead the Dragons mounted a furious comeback attempt, scoring a touchdown with 5:12 left in the game and then again with 41 seconds left on the clock.
On the onside kick, Malad recovered, setting the stage for a dramatic finish on the turf.
With the ball sitting on the Cougar 38-yard line, Malad movee the ball down to the Cougar 19-yard line with nine seconds remaining.
Back-to-back incompletions, the last on the goal line sealed the deal, however, as the Firth team members erupted in celebration on the sideline with their first playoff win in some time.
“I just couldn’t wait for the game to end,” Mitch Orme said.
“Nothing comes easy that’s for sure,” Drake echoed. “Malad just killed us last year and they are such a good team. To get this win here, in the playoffs, just makes it a little sweeter.”
Firth (4-5) will next face off with the winner of today’s Declo-Ririe game in round two of the state playoffs next week.
Firth 0 12 6 15 – 33
Malad 8 0 6 12 – 26
8:44 M T.C. Bercier 1yd run 2pt good 0-8
8:23 F Mitch Orme 56yd run 2pt fail 6-8
3:37 F Mitch Orme 56yd pass 2pt fail 12-8
8:50 F Jacob Orme 1yd run kick fail 18-8
3:42 M Devin Robbins 36yd pass 2pt fail 18-14
9:04 F Mitch Orme 15yd run, 2pt good 26-14
8:44 F Brenner Coughlan 28yd run kick good 33-14
5:12 M T.C. Bercier 3yd run 2pt fail 33-20
0:41 M Dallas Degn 1yd run 2pt fail 33-26
Firth: passing – Jacob Orme 9-13 TD INT; rushing – Brenner Coughlan 12-72 TD, Mitch Orme 12-102 2TD, Jacob Orme 1-1 TD, Connor Montgomery 7-30, Cooper Clemens 2-1; receiving – Mitch Orme 4-83 TD, Braden Boyer 1-1, Connor Montgomery 3-11, Brenner Coughlan 1-29