This is not a broken record. This is a new story. The Lake City High football team continues to keep itself in the headlines.
For some obvious and not so obvious reasons, LC coach Van Troxel allowed his team to savor its victory Friday a little longer than its previous four wins.
Yes, LC’s 27-26 comeback win over Lewiston was its first Inland Empire League victory. Yes, it came against the league’s model program. Yes, Lewiston is the defending State A-1 Division II champ and, yes, the Bengals were ranked No. 1.
Lewiston hadn’t lost since a 41-21 defeat to Madison in the 1995 state title game. And, finally, it was the Bengals’ first league loss since Oct. 22, 1995 (41-20 to Post Falls).
LC accomplished something else Friday. The win guaranteed the Timberwolves their first winning season and the first by a Coeur d’Alene team since 1993, the year before LC opened.
At the start of the season - long before an upset over Lewiston was conceivable - Troxel figured his team’s best hopes of earning a state playoff berth would be Friday when the T-Wolves (5-1 overall, 1-1 in league) visit Post Falls (2-3-1, 0-1).
“There were more people talking about football at school (Monday) than any previous Monday,” Troxel said. “But strange as it sounds, this week is the biggest game of the season for us.”
LC could be the first IEL team to all but lock up a playoff berth. A victory over Post Falls coupled with an expected win over outmatched Coeur d’Alene in two weeks could earn the Timberwolves a league title, a share of it or second place among several possible scenarios. Three teams advance to the playoffs.
A loss could knock LC out of the playoff picture.
“Our kids know how important the game is,” Troxel said. “Realistically we could go 7-2 now and have a great year and not make the playoffs.”
Like LC, Post Falls has been eyeing this week.
“All season long, probably every day in practice, we’ve talked about the last three games being our season,” Post Falls coach Jeff Choate said. “Our season’s been up and down. Maybe I should have told the kids our season started sooner.”
It’s Post Falls’ homecoming, and Choate hopes that will inspire his team.
In another IEL game Friday, Coeur d’Alene (1-5, 0-1) faces the unenviable task of traveling to Lewiston (4-1-1, 1-1).
Most night games begin at 7.
The countdown to crowning an Intermountain League champion and runner-up for the league’s two state playoff berths begins this week.
League-leading Lakeland (4-1-1, 3-0) visits St. Maries (4-1, 1-1), Moscow (3-3, 2-0) goes to Priest River (6-1, 2-1) and Kellogg (0-6, 0-4) goes to Bonners Ferry (1-5, 0-2).
Lakeland clinches a playoff berth if it wins and Moscow beats Priest River. If that scenario transpires, St. Maries would be eliminated from the hunt.
Historically, the Lakeland-St. Maries winner has either won the league championship or earned the runner-up playoff berth.
Lakeland’s longest losing streak in league is to St. Maries (two in a row). Lakeland won the league title the last time it defeated St. Maries (1994), and St. Maries captured league two years ago and was a playoff survivor last year in a three-way Kansas Tiebreaker.
The teams have two common opponents. Lakeland defeated Kellogg (33-12) and Priest River (33-6), and St. Maries defeated Kellogg (49-14) and lost to Priest River (7-6).
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: District soccer tourneys set Pairings are in place for the North Idaho Soccer League’s girls and boys district tournaments next week. Although the boys play their regular season in the spring, the state tournament is contested in the fall. Three teams in both tournaments advance to state. The girls begin Tuesday with a pair of loser-out matches. No. 6 Lakeland will go to No. 3 Moscow while No. 5 Lewiston visits No. 4 Lake City. Both matches are at 4 p.m. Play continues Thursday when the LC-Lewiston winner is at No. 1 Sandpoint and the Moscow-Lakeland winner goes to No. 2 Coeur d’Alene in 4 p.m. matches. The tourney finishes Saturday at the highest remaining seeds. Four teams will vie for state berths in the boys tourney, beginning Wednesday. In opening matches, No. 4 Lakeland will go to No. 1 Coeur d’Alene and No. 3 Sandpoint is at No. 2 Lake City. Both matches are at 4 p.m. Play concludes Friday at the highest remaining seeds.