By ROBERT S. MERRILL
West Side figured out how to stop New Plymouth’s passing attack in the second half of Thursday night’s quarterfinal, state playoff game in Pocatello and that gave the Pirates, now 8-2, an eight-point win 21-13.
The victory pits West Side against the Firth Cougars next week in a semi-final contest. The Cougars are ranked No. 1 in the state in 2A football and beat West Side at Firth in the first game of the season 44-18.
West Side assistant superintendent Spence Barzee on Friday morning told The Citizen he doesn’t know the time of next week’s game. “But it appears it will be on Saturday Nov. 10 in Holt Arena. We won’t know the time until Monday or Tuesday.”
Thursday’s game in Holt Arena matched West Side against 7-2 New Plymouth.
The Pirates scored early and led 7-0 in the first quarter on a one-yard touchdown plunge. But from then on in the first half it was all New Plymouth. Their sophomore quarterback Kyler Harris threw for several pass completions and the Pilgrims led 13-7 just before the break. Harris ended the night going 14-22 for 193 yards and two touchdowns.
With just about two minutes left in the half Jon O’Brien broke loose for a 60-yard touchdown run, giving West Side the one-point edge at the break.
In the second half the Pirate defense stiffened and pressured Harris extensively. The New Plymouth quarterback was sacked five times and intercepted once by Lane Meek after the ball was batted at the line. West Side’s defense also keyed on Pilgrim running back Dakota Stallions, who had amassed 1,400 yards coming into the game. He was held to just 31 yards.
Probably the most important defensive stop in the game came in the fourth quarter with about six minutes left. West Side was leading 21-13 when Harris threw to a wide-open New Plymouth receiver in the end zone. O’Brien got to the receiver and was flagged for interference.
That gave the Pilgrims the ball on the Pirate 21 yard line, but they turned the ball over on downs. The Pirates ran out the clock and that was the game.
West Side rushed for 327 yards on the night. O’Brien ran for 217 yards and one touchdown.
Pirate Coach Tyson Moser said at half time his offensive line said they wanted to run the ball because they felt they could power-out their opponents in the second. As a result, West Side all but abandoned throwing the ball.
“I told the offensive line we could win by getting three-plus yards per play and getting first downs. That’s what we did,” he said.
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