Football: Dream season comes to an end for Lake CityROCHESTER – Lake City’s two losses this season came by a total of 13 points. And if not for a few bad breaks Friday night against Rochester Lourdes, the Tigers might be headed to their first state tournament since 2001. Instead, Lake City’s season was ended with a 20-14 loss to the top-ranked and top-seeded Eagles in the Section 1AAA finale at the Rochester Regional Sports Stadium.
By: Chris Harrell, The Republican Eagle
ROCHESTER – Lake City’s two losses this season came by a total of 13 points. And if not for a few bad breaks Friday night against Rochester Lourdes, the Tigers might be headed to their first state tournament since 2001. Instead, Lake City’s season was ended with a 20-14 loss to the top-ranked and top-seeded Eagles in the Section 1AAA finale at the Rochester Regional Sports Stadium.
“If (Lourdes) wins state, I’ll be convinced we’re the second best team in the state,” Lake City head coach Trevor Narum said. “This is the kind of game we expected it to be … a one-score type of game.”
The two teams came into Friday’s matchup as the top two scoring teams in Class 3A but the defenses made the biggest plays. Seventh-ranked Lake City turned the ball over three times – two fumbles and one interception -- and Lourdes lost one fumble and threw an interception, both in Tiger territory. Narum said Lake City lost one fumble the entire season.
“We knew coming in that the team that turns it over the most will probably come out on the losing end,” Narum said. “We left 14 points out there.”
Lake City’s first drive of the game ended on a fumble deep inside the Eagles’ territory. The Tigers also lost senior Coleman Sweeney, the team’s leading receiver and starting safety coming into the game, with an ankle injury on the second play. He never returned after catching one ball for 24 yards.
“To lose him on the first series, from a momentum standpoint, took a little bit of wind out of our sails,” Narum said, “but we recovered.”
Lourdes took advantage of the turnover and low morale with a 6-play, 87 yard drive that ended with a 41-yard touchdown pass from Mark Pagel to Jordan Treder with 5 minutes, 59 seconds remaining in the first quarter. After that score, neither offense found any rhythm until the fourth quarter.
The Eagles gained 103 yards total in the second and third quarters, while Lake City tallied 87 in the second quarter but was held to only 20 total yards in the third quarter.
“We expected a battle,” Lake City quarterback Ben Schramski said. “We all knew that.”
With 7:23 remaining in the fourth quarter, it appeared the Tigers scored their first touchdown of the game on an interception return for a touchdown by Elliot Cox. But the play was called back on a disputed roughing-the-passer call. The shift in momentum allowed Lourdes to score five plays later on a 1-yard quarterback sneak by Pagel.
“I got to look at it on film,” Narum said in response to the penalty call. “What can you do? We responded well after that.”
Lake City returned the ensuing kickoff back its own 41-yard line and used a hurry-up offense to march down the field. Schramski scored the Tigers’ first point on a 6-yard touchdown run with 2:23 remaining in regulation to pull within 14-7.
But the onside kick attempt could not have gone worse for Lake City. Pagel snatched the popped-up kick and returned in 51 yards for a 20-7 lead after the missed extra point.
Again, the Tigers kept fighting and Schramski added a 10-yard touchdown run with 1:06 left in the fourth quarter. He finished with nine rushes for 59 yards and the two touchdowns, both season highs.
“There’s no quit in us,” Schramski said. “There was so much heart in all our players.”
Instead of attempting another onside, Lake City elected to kick it short and hope to stop the Eagles’ offense with two timeouts left. The Tigers held Lourdes for three plays Lourdes converted a 3rd-and-6 play with 56.7 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
It was a toss-up between two talented teams and the final stats don’t lie: The Eagles finished with 290 yards of total offense, while Lake City had 289.
“It was a credit to them, they’re a dang good team as everybody knows,” Schramski said. “We had our chances tonight. We just didn’t have the breaks go our way.”
The Tigers finished with a 9-2 record.