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Lake City football rolls into semifinals

EAGLE, Idaho – Lake City High football coach Van Troxel stood smiling from ear to ear at midfield, soaked in a Gatorade bath and absorbing the moment.

For the first time since 2007, Troxel’s Timberwolves are headed to the Idaho 5A state semifinals.

Junior tailback Gavan Rosteck rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns, while Lake City’s defense snagged four interceptions and stymied Eagle in a convincing 24-10 victory Friday at Thunder Stadium.

“I couldn’t be prouder of our players,” Troxel said. “It’s not often you get a chance to rectify things against a team that beat you earlier in the season. Holding Eagle to 10 points and running the ball the way we did … the players just did a great job out there.”

The Timberwolves outgained the Mustangs 343-129 on the ground, dominating the time of possession and disrupting Eagle’s offensive rhythm. Senior Brandon Johnson added 89 rushing yards and sophomore Jerry Louie-McGee chipped in 78 and the clinching TD.

“Lake City was just better than us on the line of scrimmage,” Eagle coach Paul Peterson said. “Their ability to run the football limited the amount of possessions in the game and magnified our turnovers.”

Lake City struck first with a long first-quarter scoring drive capped by Rosteck’s punishing 9-yard TD run.

Eagle’s Austin Diffey returned a second-quarter punt 70 yards for a TD, giving the Mustangs their only lead of the game, 7-6.

Lake City squandered a golden opportunity on its next possession when Rosteck lost a fumble inside the 1-yard line. But the T-wolves got the ball right back as senior defensive end Bailey Anderson intercepted a screen pass, setting up Andrew Hocking’s 31-yard field goal just before halftime.

After a scoreless third quarter, Lake City seized command in the fourth with a 91-yard drive capped by Rosteck’s 4-yard run. The 5-foot-10, 250-pound junior steamrolled Eagle’s defensive front, averaging 9.9 yards per carry.

“We stepped up,” Rosteck said. “I was mad when I lost that fumble, but you just have to pick your head up, go back out there and do what’s best for your team. We all did that tonight.”

Lake City tacked on Louie-McGee’s late TD and ended Eagle’s final two drives with interceptions. The Timberwolves advance to play top-ranked Madison in the semis next weekend.

“We’ll be underdogs again, no doubt,” Troxel said. “But that’s OK. We are going to focus on getting better every day, and we look forward to the next challenge.”