It wasn’t a four-game stretch Coach Craig Tefft’s team wanted to dwell on any longer than necessary.

Still, the Lumberjacks’ bye week bumped against a three-week stoppage due to COVID, so they had some time to think about their situation.

Which made last Friday’s win at Orofino all the more sweet.

“That was much-needed,” Coach Tefft said. “These kids have been through a lot psychologically this season.”

Playing its first game since mid-September, St. Maries got past the Maniacs behind three touchdowns from Trey Gibson and put itself in position to win the Central Idaho League with a victory over Grangeville Friday.

“They always circle us on their calendar, just like we circle them,” Coach Tefft said. “It wouldn’t matter if we were 4-0, 1-3, or 3-1 going into league play. All that matters now is how we play our league games. And to have a chance to win this thing is pretty exciting.”

The Bulldogs have won two games this season, a 7-6 victory over McCall-Donnelly and a 41-12 win over Orofino.

Grangeville played Kellogg Sept. 24, losing 21-33. The Lumberjacks lost their season opener at Kellogg 0-32.

Since starting its season 0-4 with losses to Kellogg, Lakeside (Nine Mile Falls), Freeman and Lakeland, St. Maries’ first four opponents have gone 25-7 in their games this season. Lakeside, Wash. is 8-0 and Freeman is 6-1, and the two will meet this week. Kellogg is 6-2 and Lakeland is 5-4.

“This has been possibly the toughest schedule we have played,” Coach Tefft said.

The winner of Friday’s game in St. Maries between the Lumberjacks and Bulldogs will qualify for the 2A state playoffs, while the loser’s season will end.

“It seems like most years it comes down to this game between us and Grangeville,” Coach Tefft said. “The winner of this game gets to keep playing.”

St. Maries earned its first CIL win with a 28-7 result at Orofino Saturday, scoring three touchdowns in the second quarter.

“The kids played really well, especially in the first two quarters,” Coach Tefft said. “It was good to see the kids smiling and happy. They needed that one.”

Sean Elliott scored on a seven-yard rush in the first quarter and Trey scored three times in the second frame to put the contest out of reach.

“I would say Trey probably had his best game,” Coach Tefft said. “He did a good job of reading his blocks, and the kids did a good job of blocking for him, too.”

Up Next: St. Maries (1-4, 1-0 CIL) hosts Grangeville (2-5, 1-0 CIL) Friday in what will be the Central Idaho League championship. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. at St. Maries High School.

St. Maries 28, Orofino 7

SM 8 20 0 0 28

OHS 0 0 0 7 7

Passing: Elliott – 7/16, 116 yds., 2 INT

Rushing: Gibson – 24 carries, 178 yds., 3 TD; Larson – 3 carries, 18 yds.; Elliott – 5 carries, 4 yds., 1 TD, 1 fumble; Wicks – 2 carries, 1 yd.

Receiving: Wicks – 3 rec., 51 yds.; Gentry – 2 rec., 46 yds.; Banderob – 1 rec., 6 yds.

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