Written By: Will Hoenike
Second-year head coach Brian Fulp may not need to look any further than his own sideline to find one of the better 5A pass-catch combinations in junior quarterback Chris Irvin and senior receiver Logan Jeanselme.
The pair hooked up for five touchdowns in a win over East Valley last season. Seven more connections for over 80 yards in an overtime win against Sandpoint. When those two clicked, good things tended to happen for the Wolves.
Now, as Fulp enters his second season as the head coach – and first with a full offseason, after being elevated from assistant to interim head coach late in the offseason last season before having the “interim” tag removed – he and his staff will look to build on those successes in the tough Inland Empire League in 2019.
“This is our second year of implementing our system, and my first full offseason as the head coach,” Fulp said. “We were able to get a lot stronger and faster due to an increased buy-in to the weight room.”
It starts with Irvin, the junior who enters his second season as the starting quarterback for Lake City. He has Jeanselme and junior Jace Bowman on the outside to lead the passing game, but the Wolves will need to find a replacement for All-IEL running back Zack Lettau. Junior Uriah Chavez had a strong offseason in anticipation of seeing more time carrying the ball for Lake City. Could Seth Nutting be part of the answer as well? The senior is returning to football after not playing last fall. As a wrestler, Nutting finished top-5 in the state in the 5A 160-pound weight class, so strength and toughness should not be a concern.
The team had a three-game winning streak at midseason, scoring a total of 114 points in those three victories. In losses, the end zone was harder to find – the Wolves averaged just 14 points per game in their six defeats.
Defensively, the Wolves were inconsistent in 2018. There were solid efforts but Lake City only held one opponent below 27 points. They’re starting at the top.
“Russ Blank returns to the staff as the DC (defensive coordinator),” Fulp noted. “(He) took three years off after being on staff since the school opened.”
Fulp, Blank, and the other assistants do have some solid pieces to build around. Jeanselme was an All-Inland Empire League performer in the defensive backfield. Senior Connor Dremann will be a second-year starter at middle linebacker. Nutting should also figure in to the team’s defensive gameplan as well. If that group can improve upon last season’s average of 37 points per game allowed, the Wolves should float toward the top of the IEL standings.
“This team has a lot of key returners and players with experience,” Fulp said. “There is also a positive group of leaders that has taken control during the offseason.”
For the Wolves, the tests begin early in the season as the team heads to Rexburg in eastern Idaho to open up the brand-new football facility at Madison High School (a game that will be broadcast, live and free, on IdahoSports.com). Then it is back-to-back foes from the Greater Spokane League as Lake City plays Lewis & Clark at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane before hosting Ferris in Coeur d’Alene.
Like with the rest of the IEL, Lake City’s season basically comes down to the final three weeks and the Wolves will get two games on its home field. After going to Post Falls, LC wraps up the campaign with consecutive league games at home against Lewiston and rival Coeur d’Alene.
There’s no reason why Lake City cannot play November football. With an experienced quarterback and capable receivers, the Wolves should be able to score points. They key likely will come on the other side – slow down the opposition and create some turnovers. If they can do that? The IEL, as usual, is strong but the Wolves absolutely have a chance to play their way into the 5A postseason.