West Side will defend their state title in the championship round of the state football playoffs on Thursday, Nov. 18 at Holt Arena in Pocatello at 9 p.m.
All they have to do to win a third straight title is beat Firth. The Pirates opened the season with a 26-20 overtime win over the Cougars and they will finish against them. Firth will come hungry to knock off the two-time champions and have a little extra incentive, too, as they want to avenge their early-season loss.
To get there the Pirates defeated Bear Lake 47-8 at home in the semifinals on Nov. 12 and extended their winning streak to 31.
West Side led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter with touchdowns by Cage Brokens on a 55-yard run and Christian Plancarte from two yards out.
In the second quarter, after Bryler Shurtliff scored on an 18-yard pass from Blaize Brown to make it 20-0, the Bears scored their only touchdown and nearly scored another when the Pirates lost the ball on a fumble.
Bear Lake quarterback Tayson Neal completed a 57-yard pass to running back Brady Shaul, providing a bit of a wake up call to the home team. A touchdown would have made it a one possession game going to the half, but West Side was up to the challenge and defended those final 10 yards by forcing a 5-yard gain, then three straight incompletions to force a turnover on downs and reclaim momentum.
“That goal line stand was the game because you never know,” Moser said. “They score right there and the score is (potentially) 20-16 at halftime, you never know what happens. I mean, hopefully we come out and respond but you just never know, momentum is a crazy thing.”
The Pirates went on to score two more touchdowns in each of the remaining quarters — Parker Moser and Brokens in the third, and Blaize Brown and Owen Nielsen in the fourth — with Plancarte converting on three of the extra points.