A common theme dominated the first half of Friday’s Inland Empire League football matchup between the Lakeland Hawks and Lewiston Bengals.
It was simply a case of the old “bend-but-don’t-break” defensive slugfest and for a while, it looked like neither team would break into the scoring column.
But Lewiston, on the strength of a late first-half score and two fourth-quarter touchdowns, was finally able to put away the Hawks 21-6 at Corbit Field in Rathdrum.
Both teams were actually able to move the ball on offense in the first half but just couldn’t seem to find the end zone.
The two teams combined for five stops on fourth down inside their own territory.
Lakeland failed to convert fourth-down plays on its first two possessions of the game.
“There were a couple of situations on fourth down when our running backs needed to get it done and they didn’t,” Lakeland coach Tim Kiefer said. “Sometimes you need to make a hole when there isn’t one. At times, we were our own worst enemy. We self-destructed a couple of times tonight.”
Lewiston (2-1 overall, 1-0 IEL), which was plagued by penalties all night, finally got on the scoreboard with just 1:08 to go in the first half.
Starting at their 35, the Bengals put together an impressive 12-play drive, picking up four first downs. A 13-yard swing pass to running back Brooks Reynolds gave Lewiston a first-and-goal at the Lakeland 1-yard line.
The Hawks (1-2, 0-1) were able to stop Reynolds cold on his first attempt to score but not a second time. His 1-yard plunge and the failed point after kick made it 6-0 Lewiston at the half.
“We finally had a series without any penalties and with no missed assignments,” said Lewiston coach Emmett Dougherty, whose Bengals suffered a 62-7 loss to Bishop Kelly last week.
Lakeland moved the ball effectively in the first half but couldn’t come up with the big play when it was needed. Hawks quarterback Jack Vanderlinden completed his first five pass attempts for 83 yards and Lakeland had a fourth-and-goal at Lewiston’s 6 early in the second quarter but came up short.
But with Lewiston turning up the defensive pressure, Vanderlinden completed just 1 of 7 in the second quarter.
“Lakeland does a real good job with play action and getting guys out in the flats,” Dougherty said. “We started getting our linebackers in and out and making sure they knew about flat coverage. Overall, I think we played pretty well defensively.”
Lewiston increased its lead early in the fourth quarter when quarterback Shane Moser scrambled in from the 9, completing an 80-yard drive.
The big play came on a 30-yard catch-and-run by tight end Demar Love. Moser’s two-point conversion run made it 14-0.
The Hawks cut that to 14-6 on its next possession, putting together an impressive drive, going 80 yards in 11 plays. Running back Chase Roberts plunged in from the 3.
But the Bengals quickly put away the game, taking just more than 2 minutes to score the deciding touchdown, this one on a 42-yard scamper by Reynolds.
Reynolds carried the offensive load for Lewiston, gaining 180 yards on 24 carries.
“After that last touchdown, running off the field, I was tired,” Reynolds said. “I love my offensive line. They controlled the game tonight and they finished.”
Lewiston also got 135 yards passing from Moser, 91 of those going to running back Noah McKay.
Vanderlinden recovered from his second-quarter slump. He completed 12 of his 22 pass attempts for 186 yards.
Versatile senior Joey Lovell accounted for four touchdowns as Sandpoint came back from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat Skyview 27-21 in overtime at Nampa. Lovell caught a 14-yard TD pass from Mat Lawrence to open scoring, then threw a 41-yarder to Chad Hecker and an 8-yarder to Jesse Keeney in the fourth quarter to force OT. Lovell won the game for the Bulldogs (1-2) on a 9-yard run in overtime. He finished with 179 passing yards on 13-of-17 passing. … In other 11-man action, Kelly Otto threw for two touchdowns and scored on a game-winning 1-yard run as Moscow improved to 4-0 and defeated host Bonners Ferry 23-17 in a non-league game. The Badgers (2-2) led 17-9 in the third quarter against their Inland Empire League opponents, but gave up Otto’s 14-yard TD pass to Kyle Legall in the third quarter and his run in the fourth. Sam Botkin threw for 145 yards and one TD for Bonners Ferry. … Daniel Childers and Clayton Foster each ran for three touchdowns as Kamiah routed St. Maries (0-4) 41-0 at Kamiah.
•Heath Peterson ran for 237 yards and Wallace’s first three touchdowns as the Miners defeated Mullan 36-28 in a non-league game between two North Star League teams at Mullan. Peterson had a 54-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, a 38-yarder in the second and another 54-yarder in the third to give Wallace (2-1) a 20-0 lead. But Mullan (2-1) evened the score by the end of the third quarter on a Joe Ploharz 4-yard run and a pair of Jesse James 1-yard runs. Cory Pehan led the Tigers with 101 rushing yards. … In other 8-man action, Kyle Kelly threw for five touchdowns and ran for a sixth as Colton/Pullman Christian defeated host Clark Fork 52-26. Chilton Williams caught two scores and ran for a 21-yard touchdown as the Wildcats (3-0) racked up 40 first-half points against the Wampus Cats (1-2). … Brandon Messier ran for 125 yards and Andrew Walls added 121 as Post Falls Christian defeated Kootenai 20-14 in a non-league game between two North Star teams in Post Falls. Max Munson threw for 126 yards and a score for the Eagles (1-1), who were led on defense by Matt Rouse‘s three interceptions.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.