SANDPOINT — While it might not be reflected in the wins and losses, the Bulldog football team is continuing to take baby steps in an effort to change the culture of the program, a quest that continues tonight when they travel south to face Lake City.
Sandpoint (1-4) is coming off a tough loss against Cheney, a game in which eight different Bulldogs picked up a personal foul. Many of the penalties were borne of inexperience, and will no doubt be cleaned up in the future as head coach Satini Puailoa continues to preach consistency from his team.
“At times, we look really good, other times, it’s like ‘where did that come from?’” he said, noting all four losses have come against senior-laden teams. “It’s not a lack of effort, it’s that attention to detail. We’re going through a changing of the culture and the kids are figuring out a whole new concept.”
Tonight marks arguably the toughest test of the season, as the 5A Timberwolves (3-1-1) are coming off back-to-back wins over Post Falls and Lewiston. Lake City has won seven of the last eight meetings against the Bulldogs.
Per usual for a Van Troxel-coached team, the Timberwolves will feature a dangerous veer option attack that forces a defense to play disciplined and cover all areas of the field.
Last week against Cheney, the Bulldogs’ defense made a host of great plays to force third and long situations, but could not close the deal and get off the field much of the time.
Offensively, receiver Chase Rodriguez has 14 catches for 250 yards and two scores in the past two games, but the Bulldogs are missing the slot presence of Tommy Fury, who is still injured.
Puailoa knew heading into the season that winning wouldn’t happen overnight, and at the halfway point in the year he’s impressed with the Bulldogs’ improvement.
“We’re winning in so many ways, it’s just not on the scoreboard yet,” he said. “I’m happy to watch the evolution of these young men, and the kids are starting to galvanize in that concept.”
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Lake City High School.