La Center advances to state quarterfinals

Senior Evan Honore leads the way with a three-touchdown performance

WOODLAND — Evan Honore had a game Friday night that football players dream of.

La Center’s senior scored a touchdown on a pass reception, another on a rushing attempt and a third on an interception that he returned 90 yards for a touchdown to lead the Wildcats to a 42-24 victory over Mount Baker in the first round of the Class 1A state high school football playoffs Friday at Woodland High School.

La Center running back Collin Namanny (12) leaps over a Mount Baker defender during the Wildcats’ victory Friday in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs at Woodland High School. Photo by Mike Schultz
La Center running back Collin Namanny (12) leaps over a Mount Baker defender during the Wildcats’ victory Friday in the first round of the Class 1A state playoffs at Woodland High School. Photo by Mike Schultz

Of all of Honore’s heroics, it was his defensive touchdown that proved to be the most important for La Center, which improved its season record to 9-2 with its ninth straight victory.

With his team leading 21-18 in the final seconds of the half and Mount Baker threatening to convert a go-ahead scoring opportunity, Honore intercepted a pass and sprinted 90 yards untouched for the touchdown. The play ended with no time left on the clock and after the extra point conversion, the Wildcats went into the locker room riding the momentum and a 28-18 lead.

“It was a huge turning point in the game,’’ said La Center coach John Lambert. “Evan made a great play and then he just outran everybody.’’

It wasn’t a surprising performance for Honore, who was recently named the Trico League’s co-Defensive Most Valuable Player.

La Center’s players celebrate after defeating Mount Baker in the first round of the Class 1A state high school football playoffs Friday at Woodland High School. Photo by Mike Schultz
La Center’s players celebrate after defeating Mount Baker in the first round of the Class 1A state high school football playoffs Friday at Woodland High School. Photo by Mike Schultz

“He’s out version of Earl Thomas,’’ said Lambert, comparing Honore to the standout defensive back of the National Football League’s Seattle Seahawks. “He led our team in interceptions. He’s all over the place.’’

La Center carried that momentum out of the locker room and scored on its first possession of  the third quarter to extend its lead to 35-18. That score came on a run from Wyatt Dodson, who led the Wildcats with 156 yards rushing on 28 carries.

Mount Baker returned the game’s opening kickoff to the La Center 3-yard line and converted the scoring opportunity for a 6-0 lead.

Honore then scored his first touchdown, on a 17-yard pass from Hayden Williamson and after the extra point the Wildcats led 7-6.

 

La Center coach John Lambert couldn’t help but smile after his Wildcats posted yet another playoff victory Friday. Photo by Mike Schultz
La Center coach John Lambert couldn’t help but smile after his Wildcats posted yet another playoff victory Friday. Photo by Mike Schultz

 

After Mount Baker scored to go ahead 12-7, Dodson scored the first of his two touchdowns on a 14-yard run to give the Wildcats a 14-12 lead.

Again Mount Baker answered, this time making the score 18-14 after the visiting team failed to convert its extra point for the third straight time. On the conversion attempt, Mount Baker’s starting quarterback sustained an injury and was forced to leave the game.

Williamson then scored on a 16-yard run to give the Wildcats a 21-18 lead, setting up Honore’s heroics just before halftime. Honore added his third score of the game in the second half, on a 23-yard run, to complete La Center’s scoring.

In addition to the standout performances by Honore and Dodson, Lambert praised the play of his quarterback Williamson.

La Center quarterback Hayden Williamson (2) was at the controls of the Wildcats’ offense during a victory over Mount Baker Friday at Woodland High School. Photo by Mike Schultz
La Center quarterback Hayden Williamson (2) was at the controls of the Wildcats’ offense during a victory over Mount Baker Friday at Woodland High School. Photo by Mike Schultz

“Two of those touchdowns were on run-pass options when Hayden really drew the defense to him,’’ Lambert said. “He really set the tone for us.’’

It’s the second consecutive season that La Center has eliminated Mount Baker from the state playoffs. Last year, the Wildcats accomplished the feat in the quarterfinals.

La Center will now meet the winner of Saturday’s matchup between Nooksack Valley and Cascade Christian. The Wildcats will be on the road for that quarterfinals matchup. La Center will attempt to advance to the state semifinals for the third time in the school’s history.

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About The Author

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Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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