They weren’t the only plays that influenced the outcome, but they were two of the biggest.
Late in the first half with the score tied, Post Falls High, facing fourth-and-1 at Lake City’s 4, opted to pass out of the Wildcat formation and it worked to perfection as Marcus Colbert hit Tyson Johnson in the end zone.
That touchdown gave the Trojans a 17-10 halftime lead and their defense made it stand up with a key fourth-quarter stop. On fourth-and-goal at the Post Falls’ 4, Lake City tried to run wide, but defensive back Johnny Haskew dragged Kaleb Mitchell down for a 1-yard loss.
The fourth-ranked Trojans ran out the final 5:41 to preserve a 17-10 win Friday in Post Falls, their second victory over Lake City in five weeks.
Friday’s was more meaningful because it served as the 5A Inland Empire League football opener for both teams. Post Falls (5-1) took a big step toward its first state playoff berth since moving up to 5A in 2005. Lake City (2-3) is in danger of missing the playoffs for first time in 15 years.
“Twice in one year, it feels good,” Post Falls coach Jeff Hinz said. “It’s a big one, but the season isn’t over. We have Sandpoint next week, then Coeur d’Alene and Lewiston, who we have to beat as well to get into the dance.”
An offensive shootout in the first half gave way to a defensive struggle in the second. The teams had nearly identical yardage totals in the first half, though most of Lake City’s 187 came via quarterback Bobby Traverse’s eight completions for 163 yards. The Timberwolves would have exceeded 200 yards by half if not for four dropped passes. Post Falls was more balanced with 70 yards on the ground and 115 passing.
Lake City tied it at 10 on Andrew Hocking’s 31-yard field goal with 5:05 left in the second quarter, but Post Falls answered with a 69-yard drive. Facing fourth-and-5 at LC’s 36, Colbert hauled in a 23-yard pass from sophomore quarterback Joey Pfennigs. Four plays later, Post Falls needed another fourth-down conversion and got it when Colbert lined up at quarterback, took a couple of steps forward to make it look like a running play and floated a pass to Johnson.
“We just put it in this week,” said Colbert, who is taking a basketball recruiting visit to Montana State today. “I saw Tyson get past the first ‘backer and he was in the seam so I hit him.”
Lake City caught a break early in the fourth quarter when Tim Mueller’s punt hit an up-back and deflected backward to the Trojans’ 20. LC picked up a first down and two short passes moved the ball to the 3. Colton Houlihan was stopped for a 1-yard loss and Mitchell was swarmed on fourth down.
“We should have gone to our two-point play, that’s why we practice it,” Timberwolves coach Van Troxel said. “We didn’t trust our instincts. … You can blame that on me.”
Johnson rushed for 82 of the Trojans’ 147 ground yards. Pfennigs finished 10 of 18 for 173 yards. Traverse passed for 202 yards, but LC managed just 44 rushing.