The Lake City Timberwolves like to keep things pretty simple.
So it was no surprise that the recipe they used to defeat the Post Falls Trojans 26-7 Friday in an Inland Empire League football matchup included two simple but familiar ingredients.
A huge offensive performance by running back Scott Bushnell and an inspired effort by an improving defense proved to be the downfall for the Trojans, spoiling their homecoming before a crowd of about 1,500 at Trojan Field.
Prior to the game, Post Falls coach Jeff Choate said his team needed to establish the run to beat Lake City.
Problem was, it may have been the T-Wolves who took his comments to heart.
Bushnell, the league’s leading rusher, certainly heard him. The senior carried the ball 32 times for 245 yards and scored all four Lake City touchdowns, including runs of 67 and 69 yards.
Lake City coach Van Troxel was quick to praise Bushnell following the win.
“They were huge (Bushnell’s two TD runs),” Troxel said. “He hits it, he hits it, he hits it, and all of a sudden, when he does break one - boom, he’s gone.”
Despite Bushnell’s huge offensive numbers, the first half was a defensive battle.
The first four drives in the game failed to result in a first down and both teams’ punters were getting plenty of practice.
But Lake City (2-1 IEL, 6-1 overall) got on the board with 5:49 to go in the first quarter when Bushnell broke through the line and beat two Post Falls defenders in a 67-yard foot race to make it 6-0.
Post Falls (0-2 IEL, 2-4-1) had a couple of opportunities in the first half, but may have been its own worst enemy.
Its most serious threat came just before halftime. Two passes from quarterback Ben Sharon to wide receiver Chad Quesnell took the ball to Lake City’s 36.
But three illegal procedure penalties and a dropped pass killed the drive.
“You can’t play a good team like Lake City and expect to win when you do that,” Choate said. “They’re a good football team. They came out and executed and we gave up the big play.”
Lake City appeared to break open the game midway through the second half, scoring twice in a 6-minute span. The first score came on a nice pass from quarterback Chad Troxel, who looked left and then found Bushnell in the right corner of the end zone to make it 12-0.
The T-Wolves increased their lead to 19-0 early in the fourth quarter on Bushnell’s 69-yard run.
Post Falls struck back quickly, however, on its next possession, completing a 65-yard drive when Sharon found wide receiver Josh Miller down the right sideline.
Miller had a step on the defender and Sharon’s pass was perfect and Lake City’s lead was cut to 19-7.
But the T-Wolves defense came up big down the stretch when Post Falls was forced to throw.
Lake City’s defensive front and linebackers put constant pressure on Sharon, who had just five completions in 15 attempts in the fourth quarter.
“We really geared up for this game,” linebacker Brandon Taylor said. “We wanted to show them who the new team in the league is.
“We had to take this game to have a shot at the playoffs.”
Lake City would add a fourth-quarter score on an 11-yard run by Bushnell.
Lake City’s win moves them a little closer toward a possible state playoff berth, the first in the school’s history.
Lake City 26, Post Falls 7
Lake City 6 0 6 14 - 26
Post Falls 0 0 0 7 - 7
LC-Bushnell 67 run (kick failed)
LC-Bushnell 8 pass from Troxel (pass failed)
LC-Bushnell 69 run (Stroh kick)
PF-Miller 26 pass from Sharon (Stafford kick)
LC-Bushnell 11 run (Stroh kick)
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo