If the Lake City football team didn’t believe before Friday it believes now.
The Timberwolves upset visiting Chiawana, the No. 3-ranked 4A team in Washington, 33-26 in a nonleague game.
It took a defensive stand for the T-Wolves (5-2) to hold off the Mid-Columbia Conference-leading Riverhawks (6-1) of Pasco.
LC opened a 12-0 lead but the Riverhawks fought back for a 13-12 lead by halftime, and the game tilted back and forth until the wild finish.
The T-Wolves’ undersized defense stepped up big twice in the final quarter. First, when they forced the Riverhawks, who led 26-25, to punt with 6:39 to play.
Chiawana pinned LC deep in its territory at the 8-yard line.
The T-Wolves, though, plodded their way up field, using 12 plays before fullback Gavan Rosteck bowled in from 2 yards out for a 31-25 lead with 2:09 to play.
LC coach Van Troxel opted to go for a two-point conversion. Senior quarterback Tucker Louie-McGee rolled left as if he might try to run into the end zone. But he pulled up just in time to lob the ball in the back corner to his brother, junior Jerry Louie-McGee, to extend the score to the final margin.
The bigger and physical Riverhawks started their final drive at their 34. Although they moved down the field, it appeared they were living on the edge from play to play.
Chiawana advanced to LC’s 24 where on first down junior defensive end Jacob Ramey sacked Chiawana quarterback Joey Zamora for a 9-yard loss.
LC’s secondary withstood three straight incompletions to lock up the win.
“Tonight proved we can play,” Troxel said. “What I’m most excited about is our defense really came up and made plays when they had to in the fourth quarter.”
“We didn’t come to play there for awhile,” Chiawana coach Steve Graff said. “Then we showed up and quit playing again.”
Graff didn’t make excuses.
“They wanted it a helluva lot more than our kids did,” Graff said. “It was pretty obvious by the way they play.”
Still, Chiawana piled up 231 yards total offense in the first half to LC’s 84.
The big reason LC opened a 12-0 lead came when Jerry Louie-McGee returned a punt 66 yards for a touchdown.
What Chiawana’s defense did to LC in the first half couldn’t be repeated in the second half.
“It was hard in the first half,” Troxel said. “We started out alright but we didn’t get many plays. In the second half when we got that first drive and got some continuity it really started to make things.
“They had us worried there. It looked like they were going to steamroll us for a while.”