CLARK FORK — The Wampus Cats’ football season came to close Wednesday night as they honored their six seniors and crowned the homecoming king and queen.
Clark Fork (4-4) lost 44-34 to Lakeside (6-1), but they battled from the start and left everything on the football field.
Head coach Brian Arthun was proud of the fight his team showed after falling to the Knights 28-6 in their second game of the season.
“After [Lakeside] scored their last touchdown,” he said, “we huddled up near the end zone before the kickoff and I told them, ‘hold your heads up high and here at Clark Fork weren’t not quitters and we fight to the end no matter what,’ and I told them ‘these seniors have four minutes left of their football careers to fight as hard as they can to go down and get a score.’ ”
And the Wampus Cats did. They marched the length of the field on their final drive of the game and fittingly, senior running back Josh Constantin punched it into the end zone.
Clark Fork didn’t give up and Arthun credits his seniors for instilling that attribute in the team this year.
“We rely on our seniors to be leaders and they did a great job of leading by example,” he said. “They’re just a bunch of great guys that took the younger kids under their wings and just showed them the way we do things here at Clark Fork.”
The Wampus Cats took an early 8-0 lead in the game but Lakeside scored two unanswered touchdowns to take a 14-8 lead after the first quarter.
But Clark Fork responded as Constantin dove across the end zone to help the Wampus Cats take back the lead and gain a 16-14 advantage after a two point conversion.
Lakeside fumbled on the ensuing drive and Clark Fork made them pay as junior quarterback Cameron Garcia snuck the ball in from a yard out for a touchdown with just over two minutes left in the first half.
The Knights would add a touchdown just before the half to make it 24-22 Clark Fork at the break.
Lakeside started the second half fast with a rushing touchdown to regain the lead. After a failed two-point conversion, the Knights led 28-24.
Clark Fork drove all the way down to the Lakeside 1 yard line on the ensuing drive before fumbling the ball just short of the goal line.
On the next play, the Lakeside quarterback got penalized for intentional grounding in the end zone which resulted in a safety.
Clark Fork fumbled the ball on the following kickoff and the Knights gained control of the game from there. Lakeside outscored the Wampus Cats 16-8 the rest of the game to secure the victory.
Arthun said his team showed a lot of character after starting the season slow and he was encouraged by the improvement he saw.
“We got a bright future moving forward and I’m looking forward to that,” he said.
This team was special to Arthun as he tried to treat every player on the team as his own kid.
“I wouldn’t want to coach any other team then the guys that I got,” he said.