Don't count Trout Lake out of a return trip to the state 1A/B boys soccer Final Four just yet.
According to their coach, the Mustangs may be playing their best football of the season.
"That's the way we've tried to plan it. We've been working to peak out at the right time," said Mustangs Coach Dick Steward.
Trout Lake notched its school record-tying 14th victory last Friday with a 4-0 win over Riverside Christian in a Greater Columbia B League playoff match that marked the close of Trout Lake's home season. The Mustangs carried the day with goals by seniors Kris Huffsmith (2), Matt Dearden and Ian Smith.
This Friday, Trout Lake takes on Northwest Christian of Colbert in an Eastern Regional play-in match that starts at noon, at Kennewick's Lampson Stadium, for the right to play the winner of the St. George's-Moses Lake Christian qualifier on Saturday, also in Kennewick. The winner of that match, which is scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m., will advance to the Final Four next weekend at Curtis High School in University Place.
"We're optimistic going into Friday's game," Steward said. "It's going to be real tough, but we think we can hang in there with them."
Trout Lake (14-4) enters Friday's match coming off a tough 3-2 loss last Saturday to Moses Lake Christian in a regional seeding match played in Moses Lake.
The Mustangs trailed, 2-1, at halftime, thanks to a goal by senior Peter Schmid, who used his body to deflect "a great free kick by Kris Huffsmith" into the back of the Lions' net, Steward said.
Trout Lake evened the score early in the second half with a goal by senior Mark Poland, but the Lions regained the lead with about 12 minutes remaining, then held on for its fourth victory of the season over the Mustangs.
"Moses Lake is a tough club," Steward said. "I thought this might be our chance to finally beat them. The guys played about as well as they could be expected, but a couple of breaks went against us and that was that."