Lewis and Clark coach Dave Hughes said it best:
“We are better football team when Keani’s on the field all the time.”
Keani Guthmueller rushed for 142 yards with touchdown runs of 1, 31 and 65 yards and hauled in two interceptions – including a pick on fourth-and-long inside of 2 minutes to go – and the Tigers held off Post Falls 43-36 in an early afternoon nonleague game at Albi Stadium on Saturday.
The game was postponed from Friday night after lightning delayed the early game at Albi for almost two hours.
“We needed to get this one,” Hughes said. “We know that we’re a good football team. We proved it against (Central Valley, in a 31-28 loss), and we’re going to just keep fighting until the end.”
If you like offensive football, this game was for you – the teams combined for more than 1,000 yards.
“It was a stressful game to be part of,” Hughes said. “It was a fun game. I thought both teams played really hard. I thought it was a good football game.”
LC’s Jace Parbon finished 19 of 30 for 264 yards with two TD passes and added 110 yards rushing and a score. Josh Bewick had 10 catches for 140 yards with a TD, and Conner Martin had a 14-yard touchdown catch.
Guthmueller played in his third game for the Tigers (2-3) after missing the first two games of the season.
“It was real nice seeing our skill guys make some plays,” Parbon said. “Our O-line really stepped up. I was really happy to see that.
“Glad Keani came back. He made some great plays, good cutbacks, some great runs.”
“Our team, everyone, does their job,” Guthmueller said. “There’s 11 guys on the field, we just do our job and we work hard every day. Defense, offense, doesn’t really matter, you know?”
Post Falls (4-2) was led by Derek Pearse, who went 34 of 54 for 383 yards with three TD passes. Christian Curlee had nine catches for 123 yards and two TDs, and Eli Gondo and Nicolas McLeod added scoring runs.
Despite all the offense, it came down to a late defensive play – by Guthmueller, of course.
Post Falls started at its 24 late in the fourth. Pearse scrambled to get out near midfield, and LC was called for roughness on a pass incompletion to set up a first down in Tigers territory with just more than a minute to go.
Pearse threw two incompletions and was sacked. On fourth-and 17 with 55 seconds left, Pearse tried to hit on a slant, and Guthmueller stepped in front of the receiver to seal it.
“Keani is a very good defensive back,” Hughes said. “And he’s a great running back and a good receiver.”
Tied at 21 at half, LC committed two holding penalties to set up first-and-30 at the PF 41.
No matter, as Guthmueller took a pitch off the left end, hit the sideline and took it to the house to put the Tigers up 28-21.
Post Falls responded. On fourth-and-6 at the Tigers 18, Curlee made a back-shoulder catch for a score to tie it again.
After trading interceptions, Parbon hit Martin on a down-and-out at the goal line to put LC up 35-28 with 1:58 in the third.
The Trojans worked their way downfield, and with first-and-goal at the 9, McLeod went off-tackle to score. A two-point conversion put PF up 36-35.
On the Tigers’ next play, Guthmueller hit the sideline with a pitch, cut back to the middle of the field and picked up a downfield block by Martin for a 65-yard touchdown run.
Parbon ran in the conversion for a 43-36 lead with 11:10 left.
“I ran a hitch,” Martin said. “And all I saw was him cut back. And you know, there were two or three of their players and I thought, ‘I better get up there and help my guy out.’ ”
“You could see that (Guthmueller) just kind of slowed down, waiting for the receiver,” Hughes said. “And then once the receiver got in position, then he went. We’re happy to have him back.”