Football: Lake City makes it look easyLAKE CITY — Elliot Cox has a simple strategy at running back for Lake City, waxing philosophical at the end of Friday’s game against Winona Cotter.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
LAKE CITY — Elliot Cox has a simple strategy at running back for Lake City, waxing philosophical at the end of Friday’s game against Winona Cotter.
“I just try to run as fast as I can and run into the end zone,” Cox said.
After the junior led the Tigers with 184 yards rushing on 12 carries and three touchdowns, upping his Hiawatha Valley League-leading touchdown total to 14, it’s difficult to question Cox’s ability to execute that strategy.
“It’s certainly a nice weapon to have,” Lake City head coach Trevor Narum said of his team’s big-play ability. “How do you not take a 60-yard run? That’s part of who we are and it’s nice.”
And Cox isn’t the only one on a roll for the Tigers, who won their fifth consecutive game Friday with a 47-9 victory against Winona Cotter, as they’ve outscored their last three opponents by a combined score of 156-33.
“It’s just been a lot of work in the off-season,” Cox said. “We may not be the biggest team but we’ll outrun you. And we have a good defense to back up our offense.”
Lake City’s defense was lethargic to start the game as Cotter scored first on a 29-yard field goal by Ryan Grant at 4 minutes, 58 seconds of the first quarter to lead 3-0.
“We played very sluggishly for the first quarter-and-a-half,” Narum said. “I thought we tackled poorly to start the game.”
It took the Tigers until 15 seconds remained in the first quarter to tally their first points on a 4-yard touchdown run by senior Mitch Kuchinka to go up 7-3.
Cox busted out for his first touchdown at 10:01 of the second quarter on a 47-yard run to put Lake City ahead 14-3. But with 2:58 remaining in the half, the Ramblers put a scare into the Tigers with a 36-yard scoring strike from John DeMarais to Joe Koll to pull within five at 14-9 after the missed extra point.
Those fears quickly disappeared into the blustery air as Lake City senior Jake Griebenow brought back the ensuing kickoff 81 yards for the touchdown, yanking momentum away from Cotter.
“That was the difference in the ballgame,” Narum said. “That was huge in terms of momentum. … All of the sudden it’s 27-9 at halftime and you’re feeling a whole lot better about yourselves. It’s like a snowball rolling downhill.”
An interception by senior Ben Schramski gave the Tigers the ball with 1:25 left in the half, and Cox followed less than a minute later with an 18-yard score to give Lake City its 27-9 halftime lead.
Kuchinka added a 3-yard touchdown run with 7:54 left in the third quarter and Schramski tallied a 41-yard quarterback scamper for a touchdown to give the Tigers a 40-9 blowout lead at the end of the third quarter.
Cox scored Lake City’s final touchdown from less than a yard out at 10:43 of the fourth quarter. The Tigers finished with 449 yards of total offense.
Lake City’s defense forced three turnovers –- one fumble recovery and two interceptions –- and converted them into 14 points.
Senior Christian Custer led the Tigers’ defense with 13 total tackles, including 1.5 sacks and four tackles for loss.
“I thought Custer had a lights-out game,” Narum said. “That’s par for the course with him though.”
Next, Lake City will travel to Goodhue next Friday attempting to remain atop the Hiawatha Valley League Gold Division and keep up the offensive fireworks.
“We’re sending out a pretty strong message to everyone in the state,” Cox said. “We’ll see where we are at the end of the season when it matters.”