It was a tale of two halves. And Post Falls’ defense, led by junior cornerback Zach Clark, owned the second half – and the final score.
Clark returned an interception 20 yards for a pick-6 and the go-ahead score in the third quarter – the first of his three interceptions in the game – and the Trojans came from 13 points down to beat visiting Lake City 34-13 on Saturday in a nonleague game between league rivals.
Post Falls (3-1) came out flat and trailed 13-0 at halftime. But the Trojans came up with five interceptions in the second half and finished with six.
“It was the defensive that stepped up in the second half with the interceptions,” Post Falls coach Blaine Bennett said. “The defense scored, kind of got the momentum going. And that’s what we needed. So the defense just played an amazing second half and shut them out.
“No question there’s two halves to football, and second half belonged to us.”
“We didn’t we didn’t finish like we should have,” Lake City coach Brian Fulp said. “Our effort was not what it should have been.
“We’ve had three really tough close ones in a row. We just gotta, we gotta figure it out and that’s on us, that’s on me. We gotta figure out how to finish games.”
After the Trojans pulled within one score on their second possession of the third quarter, LC’s Chris Irvin was trying to hit Matthew Whitcomb in the flat on third-and-10 at the 20. Clark stepped in front of the receiver and had an easy trip down the sideline for the score.
“I just saw the out route, came under, picked it and just kept going,” Clark said. “You know, I’m striving to do my best.”
Clark has six interceptions in four games this season.
“He’s just a great young man,” Bennett said of Clark. “He played for us last year as a sophomore and learned a lot, and now he’s one of those main guys as a junior. Excellent ball skills, football knowledge is excellent and just a neat young man, so I was pleased to see that he had such a great game.”
“The defense came out with way more intensity in the second half,” Clark said. “You know, the first half, we came out flat-footed. We made the improvements and we got going.”
Lake City, looking to bounce back after a 20-15 loss to 4A Sandpoint last week, got out of the blocks quickly. The Timberwolves (1-3) scored on their first possession of the game on Uriah Chavez’ 4-yard plow after a muffed punt snap gave them the ball at the Post Falls 33.
On the first possession of the second quarter, Irvin made a couple of long-distance connections and an eight-play drive resulted in a 2-yard TD pass to Whitcomb and a 13-0 lead.
“I thought Lake City came out did a great job in that first half,” Bennett said.
“I’ve said it before, I think Lewiston and Lake City and Post Falls, you know, we’re all pretty similar, and certainly that first half you got to give them a lot of credit. We didn’t move the ball offensively and they put up a couple of scores and got the momentum.”
Early in the third, linebacker Josiah Shields picked off Irvin at the Trojans 38. Post Falls marched down the field and scored on a 35-yard pass play from Jaxon Anderson to Tommy Hauser on a crossing route.
Three plays later, Clark went to the house for a 14-13 lead.
At the start of the fourth, Jaxon Anderson (11 of 24, 120 yards, two TDs) looked for Cole Rutherford on the sideline. The pass went through a defender’s hands and into Rutherford’s, who scooted 48 yards for the score.
After a good kick return Lake City picked up a first down, but Clark’s second pick ended the momentum. Ten plays later, junior backup QB Paxton Page – who entered for the nicked up Anderson – connected with Hauser on the receiver’s second score of the day.
“We’ll always try to get him the ball,” Bennett said of the play-making Hauser. “We tried to single him up today but we just couldn’t quite get him the ball. We think he needs to touch it 12-15 times for us to be successful so it will be no secret, I think every team that we go against knows that.”
Hauser finished with five catches for 58 yards and two scores. He has 36 receptions in four games.
Clark sealed the win with his third interception with just under 3 minutes to play, and Nicolas McLeod added a 9-yard touchdown run for the final score.
Irvin finished 14 of 24 for 127 yards with a TD and six interceptions.
“I mean that’s not – those are not all on him,” Fulp said. “We as receivers, everybody, that’s – we got a whole team, we got to help everybody out, so that is not on him.”
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