POCATELLO — Four was a prevalent number for the Firth Cougars on Saturday evening. After starting the season 0-4, the Firth Cougars got 4 touchdown passes from Jacob Orme, all of which went to cousin Mitch Orme and the defense got a huge goal line stop on fourth down as the Cougars dumped New Plymouth 26-7 for a trip to the 2A state championship game next Friday in Moscow.
"We were a good 0-4," Firth head coach Keith Drake said. "I'm just very proud of the kids. They could have very easily quit with the start to our season but they stayed together, believed in each other and this coaching staff and now we are heading to the title game."
Firths impressive late season run continued on the games opening possession when they won the coin toss, elected to receive and then methodically marched the ball down field for a 10 play, 68 yard drive that culminated with a 33 yard touchdown strike from Jacob Orme to Mitch Orme.
"I don't know what it is about Jacob and I," Mitch Orme said. "Tonight we just clicked. He laid the ball out there to me perfectly and I just went and got it."
On the ensuing defensive possession, New Plymouth came out firing with their spread read option look as they chewed up big chunks of yardage on each of their first five plays from scrimmage.
The Pilgrims then tried to throw the ball however, which proved to be a mistake as Brenner Coughlan was waiting at his cornerback position where he picked off the pass and returned the ball to midfield.
"On that opening defensive possession I think that we came out just a little bit nervous," Coach Drake said. "We haven't seen a quarterback as talented as New Plymouth's quarterback since our game with South Fremont. He was a tough kid and caused us some match up problems early but once the kids settled down we were able to keep our responsibilities and we did well."
Later in the quarter the Orme tandem hooked up once again when a simple swing pass to the flat turned into a 57-yard touchdown pitch and catch and the Cougers led 12-0.
The score remained that way until midway through the third quarter when New Plymouth took advantage of a pair of big defensive penalties by the Cougars which kept their opening second half drive alive, eventually ending with a 6-yard touchdown pass. After the successful kick the game was an uncomfortably close 12-7.
"As a team we played really good defense but on their scoring drive we just helped them along way too much," Coach Drake said.
New Plymouth turned in a good defensive series after a botched onside attempt gave the Cougars the ball near midfield, forcing the Cougars to punt. In all, the Cougar offense ran just 6 total plays in the third quarter as New Plymouth tried to mount the comeback.
The Firth defense was having none of that however as Conner Montgomery turned in a highlight reel type interception on the 40-yard line and then rambled down field on the return to the New Plymouth 9-yard line.
Two plays later, Mitch Orme hauled in a 6-yard strike from Jacob Orme and then caught the 2-point conversion making the score 20-7.
New Plymouth had one last gasp offensively as they marched the ball down to the Firth goal line, but Firth stiffened at the three on a fourth and goal giving the ball back to the Firth offense and thwarting the Pilgrims from closing the gap.
"We had a big swing of momentum there in the fourth quarter," Brenner Coughlan said. "They had a big drive going and we really stepped it up when we needed to. We've really come together more as a team and now we are stepping up and finishing games."
Firth eventually took that ball the length of the field as they put the finishing touches on their semi-final win with the fourth Orme to Orem touchdown pass, this time a 24 yard toss into the corner of the endzone.
Firth will now take on Grangeville next Friday night in the Kibbie Dome on the campus of the University of Idaho in Moscow. The game will kick off at 8:30.
"We just need to come out and smack them in the mouth," Brenner Coughlan said. "We know that we can beat them and we will just go up there and give it our best."
Firth 12 0 0 14 - 26
New Plymouth 0 0 7 0 - 7
7:22 F-Mitch Orme 33 pass from Jacob Orme (kick failed) 6-0
1:50 F-Mitch Orme 57 pass from Jacob Orme (run failed) 12-0
4:47 NP-Dakota Stallions 6 pass from Raymond Evans (Marcus Davis kick) 12-7
11:13 F-Mitch Orme 6 pass from Jacob Orme (pass good) 20-7
3:21 F-Mitch Orme 24 pass from Jacob Orme (run fail) 26-7
Firth passing - Jacob Orme 4-10 120 4TD; Rushing - Mitch Orme 13-61, Brenner Coughlan 13-68, Conner Montgomery 4-34, Haggen Clemons 1-1, Dallen Bingham 1-6, Jacob Orme 6-27; Receiving - Mitch Orme 4-120 4TD