Another State Season for Football


#88 Alden Waddington leads the Lakeland Hawks Varsity Football Team out to the field on August 27th at Lakeland High School.

Liam Bradford, Sports Writer

The Lakeland Hawks football team finished the 2021 season with a record of 5-5 and clinched a berth in state for the second straight season. The Hawks started the season with an 0-2 record and were put into a challenging situation going into September winless. 

The Hawks quickly bounced back from season-opening losses to Preston and Lake City with a commanding 39-14 win on September 3 in a road matchup with the Columbia Wildcats. 

John Cornish was the deciding factor for the Hawks this season. At times it seemed as if when Cornish had success, the team as a whole succeeded and vice versa. He averaged 45 yards on the ground through the first three games, and then, after starting 1-2, something seemingly clicked for Cornish and the Hawk’s offense. 

Lakeland hosted West Valley in the fourth game of the season on September 10, which resulted in a coming-out party for the Hawk’s offense. Devon Suko threw for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns, one for Richie Thomas and one for Alden Waddington. John Cornish had 20 rushes for 121 yards and three touchdowns as the Hawks steamrolled the Eagles, 41-12. 

The Hawks won their third straight game in the fifth game of the season on September 17 in a battle against the St. Maries Lumberjacks. John Cornish rushed for 111 yards and two touchdowns, while Elijah Sindt also crossed the goal line for two rushing scores of his own. The offense totaled nearly 350 yards in a 56-0 destruction of the Lumberjacks. 

The Hawks were riding high on three straight victories after shutting out St. Maries but faced their most challenging game to date against the Post Falls Trojans on September 24 in Post Falls. The Hawks went back and forth with the Trojans in the first quarter, and each team was knotted up at 14, courtesy of two John Cornish touchdown runs.

What many may not know at first glance while watching the Trojans homecoming game against the Hawks was that the Hawks were very ill on both sides of the ball and were very shorthanded. The sickness that plagued the Hawks led to their downfall as they seemingly ran out of gas, and the Trojans took advantage with a 34-14 win as the Hawks fell to 3-3. 

In an attempt to bounce back from their loss to the Trojans, the Hawks hosted the Timberlake Tigers on senior night on October 1. The game was over before it started as the Hawks dominated on their way to a 49-0 victory. Thomas Calder led the offense with two touchdowns, one on the ground, one through the air. Alden Waddington, Skyler Huber both caught touchdown passes from Devon Suko, who also rushed for a touchdown. John Cornish contributed another 100-yard two-touchdown game. 

The Hawks hosted the Moscow Bears for their homecoming game on October 8. John Cornish had the best game of his career, rushing for 193 yards and four touchdowns. The Bears couldn’t get anything going on either side of the ball and only had 22 percent efficiency on third down. Richie Thomas and Alden Waddington each contributed a touchdown, as well as Cornish. 

In the district championship game, the Hawks faced the Sandpoint Bulldogs on October 22. Despite an 80-yard touchdown sprint in the second quarter by John Cornish, the Bulldogs outlasted the Hawks in a 37-10 game. Lakeland’s offense struggled to make ends meet and only had 16 percent efficiency on third and fourth down. 

Lakeland had already clinched a state berth for the second straight year and was set to play the Skyline Grizzlies on October 29. The Hawks started with a 14-0 lead, but unfortunately, the Grizzlies outnumbered the Hawks and came back to end a great Lakeland season in a 42-21 game. Lakeland only had 7 percent efficiency on third and fourth down. 

When asked about the season, coach Dustin Frank said, “We played very well defensively this season, and our offense was strong the majority of the time. I really feel for this group of seniors that are leaving, and I’m very proud of the season we played.” Coach Frank mentioned that he looks back very fondly on the season and is proud of what the team was able to put together.

John Cornish finished the season with an average of 99.2 yards per game and, in total, scored 16 touchdowns. Offensive lineman Taylor Winkelkotter said, “I felt that our offensive line was one of the high points of our roster and that we could move anybody when we were at our best. Obviously, we would’ve liked to play another game, but I’m very proud of how the season played out, and I’m looking forward to next season.” Winkelkotter mentioned that his favorite game of the season was the homecoming game against Moscow.