The Greater Spokane League football game between Lewis and Clark and host University on Friday night was played in fits and starts.
The teams compiled plenty of yardage, but most of it was squandered between the 30-yard lines. Fumbles, interceptions and bad snaps plagued them both.
When push came to shove, however, the Tigers (2-2) put the load on the back (and strong legs) of Coleton Fitzgerald, scoring twice in the final quarter for a 14-9 triumph.
“I would say it was a defensive struggle,” LC coach Dave Hughes said. “We had the big turnover when we were going in to score. But I give our guys credit because they came back and believed in the system and continued to do what we coached them to do.”
That meant a big dose of Fitzgerald. He rushed 29 times for 162 yards, 19 of those carries in the second half with a dozen coming in the final period when LC wiped out a 3-0 deficit.
“We really just had to punch it in,” Fitzgerald said. “Our front had some big blocks and helped me out. I love being in this position. It’s what we live for.”
While LC is known for its power running offense, Hughes said the team has had passing success this year. Standout receiver Brennan Schon, however, was limited to just two catches, including LC’s first score, and 15 total yards.
Both teams moved the ball so well that they eschewed punting in most cases, but couldn’t finish the drives.
U-Hi (1-3) connected on a second-quarter field goal. The Tigers missed twice. Three times center snaps went awry. The Titans lost three fumbles, LC one. Each quarterback threw an interception.
Then it became Fitzgerald’s time. He set up the 6-yard Andrew Black-to-Schon connection with 3 minutes, 36 seconds remaining. LC got the ball back and Black broke free on a 53-yard run that left the Titans with just more than 2 minutes to rally.
Garrett Schmerer took over at quarterback. The 138-pound sophomore passed the Titans into the end zone. The ensuing onside kick failed.
“This was a good win,” Hughes said. “I challenged the seniors at halftime that the season was in their hands. They responded.”