La Center prevails in 3-OT thriller

Wildcats going back to state football semifinals after 41-35 victory over Cascade Christian

In a finish for the ages, the La Center Wildcats outlasted Cascade Christian in three ovetimes and will return to the Class 1A state football semifinals.

Hayden Williamson scored on a 5-yard touchdown run in the third OT possession late Saturday night, and the La Center defense stopped the Cougars on the 1-yard line for a 41-35 victory at Sparks Stadium in Puyallup.

Hayden Williamson (2), shown here earlier this season, scored the game-winning touchdown Saturday for La Center on a run in the third overtime. Williamson threw two TD passes as well, helping La Center to a 41-35 win over Cascade Christian. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hayden Williamson (2), shown here earlier this season, scored the game-winning touchdown Saturday for La Center on a run in the third overtime. Williamson threw two TD passes as well, helping La Center to a 41-35 win over Cascade Christian. Photo by Mike Schultz

A defensive battle turned into the offenses playing a game of “top this” in the final quarter and three overtime periods. It was 7-7 after three quarters, and then the teams combined to score 62 points.

La Center will be on the road again next week in the semifinals, taking on Meridian of Bellingham. (Time, date, and place to be determined.)

For tonight, for Sunday, too, the Wildcats will allow themselves to just celebrate this epic victory.

Consider:
La Center was shut out in the first half, then tied it in the third quarter on the first of three touchdown runs from Wyatt Dodson.

Dodson found the end zone again for a 14-7 lead late in the fourth quarter, but, it turned out, in plenty of time for a lot more offense.

Wyatt Dodson (36), shown here from a game earlier this season, scored three touchdowns in La Center’s 41-35 triple-overtime win against Cascade Christian on Saturday night. Photo by Mike Schultz
Wyatt Dodson (36), shown here from a game earlier this season, scored three touchdowns in La Center’s 41-35 triple-overtime win against Cascade Christian on Saturday night. Photo by Mike Schultz

Cascade Christian scored on a long pass but missed the 2-point try, allowing La Center to maintain a 14-13 advantage.

La Center responded with a touchdown pass from Williamson to Jackson Leslie with about 3 minutes to play, giving the Wildcats an eight-point lead.

Less than a minute later, the Cougars scored and got the 2-pointer to tie the game at 21.

Both teams had the ball in the final two minutes, in scoring position, too. Instead, the game headed to overtime.

First play of the first OT, Dodson scored on a 25-yard run. Plus La Center got the 2-pointer for an eight point lead.

Seen this before, though, right?

Once again, the Cougars scored, got the two, and tied the game at 29.

The Cougars got the ball first in the second overtime, scored, but missed the conversion.

La Center responded, converting a fourth down on its drive, and scoring on a Williamson pass to Evan Honore. But Cascade Christian blocked the extra point, keeping the score 35-35.

 

Evan Honore (9), shown here earlier this season, tied the game with a touchdown in the second overtime. Photo by Mike Schultz
Evan Honore (9), shown here earlier this season, tied the game with a touchdown in the second overtime. Photo by Mike Schultz

 

The Wildcats got the first try in the third OT. Williamson capped the scoring drive with a 5-yard TD run.

Then the La Center defense stopped the Cougars just short of the goal line to secure the victory.

The Wildcats improved to 10-2 and are on a 10-game win streak. This will be the program’s second consecutive trip to the state semifinals and third overall. La Center has never made it to the championship game.

After Saturday’s game, though, this team believes it can achieve anything.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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