LAKE CITY — It’s homecoming week for the Evart Wildcats and coach Pat Craven’s squad hopes to bounce back from a loss last week to Lake City, which put the Wildcats at 5-2.

A near perfect first half was not enough for the Evart football team in a 32-21 loss to Lake City.

Evart fell to 3-2 in the league and plays 2 p.m. Saturday at home against Mesick.

It’s a non-conference game but still gives Evart a chance to achieve two goals: win its homecoming battle and automatically qualify for the playoffs with the sixth win.

The Bulldogs have struggled at 0-7 and have been shut out five times. They lost to Suttons Bay 26-12 last weekend.

“They’re a young team with talented athletes,” Craven said. “We’ll have to play good sound football. We want to focus on getting better and work on our goal of getting to the playoffs. We need to be a better football team Saturday afternoon than what we were last week.

“There’s a lot of tradition around homecoming and a lot of people that are back. Our kids will want to play well.”

Last Friday, the Wildcats took a 21-7 lead going into halftime, but three third quarter turnovers proved costly with Lake City scoring 19 points in the quarter to gain control.

“We dominated time of possession in the first half and ran the ball really well,” Craven said. “We just kind of imploded in the third quarter and turned it over three times.”

Evart was led on the ground by John Danley with 19 carries for 84 yards and two touchdowns, while Austin Grein had 69 yards on 11 carries.

The Wildcats got 12 tackles and a sack from Larry VanBuren, while Robert Burg added 11 stops.

“I felt that our kids played a sound first half and that was a large part of the reason we were up by two touchdowns going into halftime,” Craven said. “I felt like the third quarter...we let them get back in the game then we started making some turnovers. That’s never a good recipe for success.”

Lake City basically did what he expected, Craven noted.

“We knew we were going to have to shut down their quarterback (Drew Marion) who accounted for 100 percent of their offense,” Craven said. “We weren’t able to do it. If we don’t take crucial penalties and don’t turn the ball over, it’s a different ballgame. We have to do a better job of taking care of the ball.”

Pioneer Sports Editor Martin Slagter contributed to this report.