ELGIN — Lake City High School football coach Trevor Narum wasn’t surprised. He expected a battle.
“I knew it could get sloppy and ugly,” he said. “I thought it might be low scoring."
An afternoon rain Friday helped turn Narum’s pregame hunch into reality, as slick field conditions limited both offenses during a critical Southeast District matchup between the third-ranked Tigers and No. 7 Plainview-Elgin-Millville. The game produced just three combined touchdowns, and two combined scoreless quarters.
And Narum’s team came out on top.
Lake City senior quarterback Justin Wohlers threw for two touchdown passes, including the game-winner with less than three minutes to play in the fourth quarter as the Tigers escaped Elgin with a gritty 13-7 victory in the Post Bulletin’s Game of the Week.
Wohlers finished 14 of 18 from the pocket for 185 yards, as big passing plays down the stretch separated two otherwise evenly matched teams.
“I’m just proud of our kids,” Narum said. “When you win a 13-7 game, I just told them, that’s tough, good, hard football and I’m just really proud of the effort and our resilience.”
Senior wide receiver Carson Matzke led the Tigers’ aerial effort, reeling in five catches for 88 yards. Wohlers found six different receivers in all, including senior Matt DeMars, who put the Tigers in front for good late in the fourth quarter with a contested 19-yard touchdown grab.
“I knew it was going to be a battle the whole way through,” P-E-M coach Kevin Lamb said. “I knew it was going to be a four-quarter battle. I expected both teams to put up a few more points, to be honest, but it turned out to be the kind of high school football game that everybody loves, especially if you’re on the winning end.”
P-E-M’s only sniff of the end zone in the first half came on its opening drive, as the Bulldogs (3-1 overall, 2-1 Southeast District) ate up more than six minutes en route to the Lake City red zone. That drive, however, ended with a turnover as junior running back Hunter Tentis — who led P-E-M with 69 rushing yards on 12 carries — lost the first of his two lost fumbles.
Lake City opened the scoring late in the second quarter, with Wohlers finding senior Jon Harvey for a 20-yard touchdown.
After a scoreless third quarter, P-E-M finally drew level with a big passing play of its own, as quarterback Connor McGuire found Peyton Schumacher for a 19-yard touchdown pass. That made it 7-7 with 10:33 to play in the fourth. The Bulldogs then forced a quick three-and-out on defense, reclaiming the ball with 6:29 remaining and a chance to go in front.
The Tigers (4-0, 3-0) held them, though, drawing a quick three-and-out of their own to reclaim possession with 4:08 to play.
Wohlers needed just four plays from there, first completing a 31-yard strike to senior Zach Dather before eventually finding DeMars for the game-clinching touchdown.
“It’s clear that they wanted to stop us,” Wohlers said. “They held us down, but we held them down, as well.”
Lamb expects the Bulldogs to bounce back.
“That’s the best our team has played this year, and so that was a really good feeling, even for the players,” Lamb said. “I know they’re hurting right now because of the loss, and we all are. We’re certainly not satisfied and not happy with that, but there is a little solace in the fact that we played well and had a chance to win this game.
“We’re still right where we want to be in terms of section playoffs. I would much rather lose this one and get better as the season progresses and maybe get a chance to play them again in the playoffs.”
NOTES: The Bulldogs are back in action next week as they travel to 1-3 Lourdes on Thursday, while the Tigers are on the road again at Pine Island on Friday. … McGuire finished 11-of-18 passing for 147 yards and the touchdown to Schumacher. McGuire also added 20 yards on the ground. … The P-E-M defense sacked Wohlers seven times, including three in the third quarter.
LAKE CITY 13, P-E-M 7
LC 0-7-0-6 — 13
PEM 0-0-0-7 — 7
LC — Jon Harvey 20 pass from Justin Wohlers (Carson Matzke kick), 2:22.
PEM — Peyton Schumacher 16 pass from Connor McGuire (Glen Schmidt kick), 10:33.
LC— Matt DeMars 19 pass from Wohlers (kick failed), 2:42.
RUSHING: LC — Kris Ryan 14-36, Wohlers 16-minus 5 (seven sacks), Matzke 1-minus 3, Team 1-minus 1. PEM — Hunter Tentis 12-69, McGuire 9-20, Jason Feils 1-1, Team 4-minus 33.
PASSING: LC — Wohlers 14-18-0-185; PEM — McGuire 11-18-0-147.
RECEIVING: LC — Matzke 5-88, DeMars 3-43, Harvey 1-20, Ryan 2-10, Seth Harteneck 1-7; PEM — Schumacher 2-46, Victor Martinez Sosa 4-38, Zach Dather 1-31, Kaiden Peters 1-30, John Wayne Evers 2-18.