Throughout preseason camp, Lake City football coach Van Troxel emphasized starting fast.
Troxel’s Timberwolves provided the fresh beginning Friday he desired after back-to-back miserable starts.
Lake City rolled to a pair of touchdowns in the first two quarters, cruising to a 41-7 win over Lakeland in a season opener at Corbit Field in Rathdrum.
The Timberwolves piled up 456 yards total offense and the defense was equally effective. A 50-yard interception return by safety Beau Martz put LC up 14-0 barely 5 minutes and 31 seconds into the game.
“Good opener,” Troxel said. “It was a chance to get a lot better, a chance to go against a good solid opponent, and we needed to see somebody other than ourselves. One of the real keys with this group is developing some confidence and believing in themselves. Yeah, we made a number of first-game mistakes, but I think we played hard and I’m excited to look at the video.”
Second-year starting quarterback Mark Smyly played like a veteran, passing for 166 yards and three touchdowns while completing nine of 13 passes and running for another 51 yards. Eight other T-Wolves carried the ball, too.
That won’t happen every game, Troxel emphasized. And when things count the most, the ball will be in the hands of Smyly and running backs Allen Carmichael and Jacob Bowman.
Still, each LC player who had a chance to contribute did.
Bowman put LC ahead 21-0 with a 1-yard TD plunge with 3:30 to go before halftime. After forcing Lakeland to punt moments later, the T-Wolves needed just two plays and 13 seconds before Smyly found Robbie Quinn on a 28-yard post in the end zone for a 28-0 lead at halftime.
LC’s first offensive unit scored one more TD when Smyly found tight end Scott Turner behind the secondary, hitting him in stride for the 22-yard TD with 1:07 remaining in the third quarter.
“We came out great,” Smyly said. “A couple of quick scores and played really hard. Our defense really stepped it up a lot. They (the Hawks) had one first down in the first half. We still have a lot to work on, but it was a good first win.”
Lakeland finished with more yards passing (101) than rushing (93), and that could likely be a trend this season for the usually ground-oriented Hawks. Quarterback Eric Cooper and receiver Daniel Whitesitt connected on a 22-yard TD midway in the fourth quarter.
“I don’t think there was one play in the first half that everybody on our team executed what they were suppose to do,” Lakeland coach Tim Kiefer. “There was always somebody doing something wrong. I know that’s normal for the first game. When you play a team like Lake City, that’s what happens.”