SANDPOINT — With their postseason lives on the line, the Bulldogs didn’t show any nerves.
From the opening kickoff, Sandpoint bullied league rival Lakeland en route to a 48-20 victory Friday night.
“We challenged the boys this week,” Sandpoint head coach Ryan Knowles said. “We got embarrassed last week and we had a really salty taste in our mouth and its a lot of emotions from last week and its not easy to face those emotions so I was proud of the boys for stepping up, handling them, taking care of their business and executing on the field.
“I was pretty happy to see us wash away last week.”
17 seniors were honored pregame before they stepped on the field for the final time in front of the Bulldog faithful and they disappoint the home crowd.
The Bulldogs dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball to wear down the Hawks. Sandpoint racked up 349 yards on the ground and a majority of them came from the Bulldogs two-headed monster of junior Braden Kappen and sophomore Gerrit Cox.
The pair of running backs stole the show and each of them had their own unique running style that gave the Hawks trouble all night. Kappen was shifty and elusive, breaking tackles, juking defenders and stiff arming any Hawks in his path when he needed too. He finished with 131 yards on 20 carries.
Cox on the other hand, went downhill right at the teeth of the Hawks defense. Sometimes it seemed like Cox was covered in butter with the amount of arm tackles by Lakeland defenders he shook off. He dragged Hawks with him on nearly play and tallied 138 yards and three touchdowns on 20 touches.
But both of them had some help as the offensive line did the dirty work and opened a number of holes for the Bulldogs to plow through.
Offensive linemen Jackson Prior, Brandon Casey, Jake Suhr, Connor Hutchings and Marcus Anderson manhandled the Hawks defensive line all night as the Bulldogs ate up the clock and kept Lakeland’s offense on the sideline.
And on the defensive side of the ball, junior linebacker Isaac Webb got after the quarterback all night recording three sacks.
The Bulldogs defensive linemen were getting off blocks left and right which forced the Hawks to become one dimensional and rely more on the passing game then they wanted too.
It took a drive for the Bulldogs offense to get going Friday night, but once it did it was humming. Sandpoint scored four touchdowns in the first half including a pair of touchdowns runs by senior quarterback Jaxon Pettit and a 3 yard score from 6-foot-4-inch, 280 pound lineman Keith Jensen.
The Bulldogs defense also forced four three-and-outs in the first 24 minutes to help the team take a commanding 30-7 lead into halftime.
Lakeland scored two touchdowns within the first six minutes of the second half to close the deficit to 30-20, but the Bulldogs continued to stick with what was working and grinded out 18 unanswered points to pull away from the Hawks.
“This game was a double down from last week,” Knowles said. “You lose this one and you spiral into a really dark place being 0-2 and out of the playoffs in the IEL. Correcting our mistakes from last week and getting back to 1-1 in conference is huge and we got a shot at the playoffs now.”
With league play over, the Bulldogs (5-3, 1-1) will now wait to see how next week’s game between Moscow and Lakeland plays out. If the Hawks beat the Bears then the two teams from the league that advance to state will be determined by tiebreakers. If Moscow wins, the Bulldogs will secure a spot to play in state.
Sandpoint will head to West Seattle 7 p.m. next Friday to face Evergreen High School.
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Game
SHS 14 16 0 18 48
LL 7 0 13 0 20
Q1 SHS Keith Jensen 3 yd run (Peterson kick)
Q1 LL Colton Boettcher 2 yd pass from Brandon Furey (Collin Bell kick)
Q1 SHS Gerrit Cox 3 yd run (Dylan Peterson kick)
Q2 SHS Jaxon Pettit 15 yd run (Dylan Peterson kick)
Q2 SHS Dylan Peterson Field Goal 27 yd Field Goal
Q2 SHS Jaxon Pettit 3 yd run (kick fail)
Q3 LL Colton Boettcher 8 yd pass from Brandon Furey (Collin Bell kick)
Q3 LL Ammon Munyer 71 yd run (kick fail)
Q4 SHS Dylan Peterson 27 yd Field Goal
Q4 SHS Gerrit Cox 14 yd run (Keith Jensen run)
Q4 SHS Gerrit Cox 10 yd run (Dylan Peterson kick)
SHS Rushing: Braden Kappen 20-131, Jaxon Pettit 11-50, Gerrit Cox 20-138, Keith Jensen 2-8, Blake Sherrill 1-7, Sam Puckett 4-15
SHS Receiving: Elijah Larson 2-13, Christian Niemela 6-69, Gerrit Cox 2-38
SHS KOR: Christian Niemela 2-56
SHS PR: Gerrit Cox 1-59