Central Valley football coach Rick Giampietri’s wide smile said it all.
The Bears, coming off a tough loss to Coeur d’Alene a week ago and four straight defeats to close last season, returned to the win column with a solid 26-0 road victory Friday night over Lake City.
“I’ll tell ya, we’ve needed this one for a while,” Giampietri said.
The Bears (1-1) took control immediately, marching 70 yards on their first series. Alec Doyle covered the last 7 yards for the touchdown.
Lake City (0-3) drove to the Bears’ 21 but turned it over on downs. It was one of six LC possessions in Central Valley territory that came up empty.
“We have to figure out how to come up at the right time and make a couple plays,” Lake City coach Van Troxel said. “I still like these guys and they’re still working hard. We need some things to go right so they can have a little fun.”
The Bears struck again when quarterback Tanner Sloan hit Ben Craig in stride for a 68-yard touchdown. Lake City turned it over on downs again at CV’s 21 and Ryan Rehkow’s 31-yard field goal gave the Bears a 17-0 lead at halftime.
Central Valley’s front seven continued to bottle up the Timberwolves’ ground game and apply pressure on quarterback Collin Hunter, forcing a pair of three-and-outs to open the second half. Doyle barreled in from 7 yards out to cap a short drive, boosting the Bears’ lead to 24-0 midway through the third quarter.
Lake City’s most promising drive would become its most frustrating. First, the Timberwolves lost standout running back/safety Scott Helsper to a left knee injury. Two plays later from the Bears’ 15-yard line, Hunter fooled CV’s defense and was racing toward the goal line, only to be stripped of the football. The Bears recovered in the end zone.
Central Valley returned the favor with a fumble, but Lake City couldn’t take advantage. Defensive end Jaydon Russ, who was in the Timberwolves’ backfield all night, sacked Hunter for an 11-yard loss.
“We played solid defensively in the second half and that was kind of the key,” Giampietri said. “Our front four (Russ, Jordan Talafili, Cole Ackerman and Terrell Harrison) played great and our linebackers did a good job, too. They spread you out so wide you have to make plays in space and we tackled hard.”
Sloan had 172 of his 195 passing yards in the first half. Nathan Bannon had three catches for 45 yards and Craig picked up 82 yards on two receptions. Gage Connole (50 yards) and Doyle (35) paced the ground game.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.