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Don’t judge Lake City by its 3-6 mark

They were 0 for September. Heck, they were 0 for the first half of the season.

I’ve heard several people the past few days ask a rhetorical question. Something like this: How can a football team with a losing record like Lake City be in the state playoffs?

My knee-jerk response is: Welcome to Idaho. But that would be suggesting that Lake City somehow backed into the state playoffs. That’s not the case here.

Forget for a moment that Lake City’s overall record is 3-6. The most important number is the one left of the hyphen. LC went 3-0 in the 5A Inland Empire League. It doesn’t matter what the Timberwolves did in the other six games.

LC, which qualified for the state playoffs for a 13th consecutive year, doesn’t have to defend its record. I can tell you that no other 5A team in the state plays a more challenging non-league schedule year in and year out than LC.

Had the other three league teams played LC’s non-league schedule, each would have more losses and fewer wins.

LC had more questions going into the season than the other teams. The senior class was the least experienced than any coach Van Troxel has had since the early years.

Still, here we are on the eve of the state playoffs and I’m not convinced LC is the best 5A IEL team. But LC, no doubt, played better than Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and Lewiston in league play. The last time I checked, state playoff berths were decided by which team played best in the moment, not based on which team was perhaps better on paper.

LC won’t catch CdA by surprise Friday when the teams face off for a rematch at LC. The Vikings will be out to redeem themselves.

From players to coach, CdA was steaming after losing 23-15 at LC two weeks ago. The T-Wolves outplayed the Vikings in many facets.

Troxel said after his team beat CdA that the Vikings would be like a “bunch of wild hornets” if they met in the playoffs.

CdA coach Shawn Amos expects an inspired effort.

“When you watch film, it was a pretty good football game,” Amos said of the first matchup. “What happened to us is we thought it was going to be easier than it was. This team has grown and matured through adversity. Everybody starts doubting, and all of a sudden you’re a bad football team. These guys didn’t buy into it. They kept believing.”

4A: In a playoff opener Friday, Middleton (7-2) visits No. 4 Sandpoint (7-2) for the second time this season. Sandpoint quarterback Daniel Charvoz completed 15 of 20 passes for 306 yards and five touchdown passes to lead the Bulldogs over Middleton 36-14 on Sept. 11.

The Bulldogs have a balanced offense. In their league games, they piled up 488 yards in a 33-0 win over Moscow and 469 yards in a 50-12 win over Lakeland.

3A: Fourth-ranked Timberlake (8-1) plays host to No. 5 Payette (7-2) Saturday at 1 p.m. at Spirit Lake. Timberlake has won seven straight.

1A Division I: Wallace (6-3) plays host to fourth-ranked Potlatch (8-1) at 1 Saturday. Potlatch won just two games the previous two seasons. The Loggers are coached by Pat Amos, older brother of CdA coach Shawn Amos.

1A Division II: Mullan (3-6) visits top-ranked Kootenai (9-0) in an opener at 7 Friday.

Kootenai romped past Mullan 58-12 in the first league game in September and Mullan had to forfeit to Kootenai two weeks ago after being hit hard by the flu.