Tanner Dreyer steps into lead role and responds with 160 yards rushing
WOODLAND — When high school football teams reach the postseason, it’s not uncommon for them to experience players with more than just a few bumps and bruises. It is uncommon, however, to see players step into increased roles and succeed the way Tanner Dreyer did for La Center Friday night.
With running backs Wyatt Dodson and Collin Namanny in uniform but on the sideline resting injuries, the versatile Dreyer stepped into the lead running back role in the Wildcats’ offense and all the senior did was rush for 160 yards on 19 carries, including a 38-yard touchdown run to lead La Center to a 49-12 victory over Forks in a Class 1A state qualifier playoff game played at Woodland High School.
“We were resting a couple of guys who were beat up,’’ said La Center coach John Lambert, referring to Dodson and Namanny. “Tanner was our fifth or sixth running back this year. It was great to have him step up and carry the load for this game.’’
Lambert said Dodson and Namanny could have played if needed, but Dreyer made that a moot point with his performance.
“He rotates at wide receiver, wing back and slot (receiver),’’ Lambert said of Dreyer. “He can even play tight end if we need him to. So, he can play multiple positions and that’s big for us. It’s nice to have him as an option.’’
La Center jumped on top of Forks 14-0 in the first quarter with touchdown runs by Evan Honore (16 yards) and Colton Dolezal (2 yards). Dolezal added a second touchdown in the second quarter when he bulled into the end zone from 1-yard out.
Hayden Williamson added a 33-yard run for a score in the second quarter and La Center was off to the races with a 28-6 lead at halftime. Williamson would finish with 71 yards rushing in the game.
In addition to Dreyer’s touchdown run in the fourth quarter, La Center got two third quarter scores from its defense. Thomas Dreyer intercepted a pass and returned it 49 yards for a touchdown and Clint Smith scooped up a fumble and returned it 26 yards for a score.
Those two defensive touchdowns really put the game away,’’ Lambert said. “That kind of sealed it.’’
It was the second straight year that La Center ended Forks’ season with a lopsided victory in the state qualifier round. Now, the Wildcats move on to an even more familiar opponent, Mount Baker.
“I think this will be the sixth time we’ve played them in the playoffs,’’ Lambert said of his team’s upcoming opponent, which La Center defeated in the state quarterfinals last season. “They are a mirror image of us. Their coach has been there for a long time. Their kids are tough and physical and talented. They won’t back down from anybody.’’
La Center, now 8-2 on the season after winning its eighth consecutive game, will be the home team for the first round state playoff game with Mount Baker. The game will be played either Friday or Saturday at Woodland High School.
LA CENTER 49, FORKS 12
Forks 0 6 0 6 – 12
La Center 14 14 14 7 – 49
La Center – Evan Honore 16 run (Sean Fox kick)
La Center – Colton Dolezal 2 run (Fox kick)
Forks – Caleb Peters 1 run (pass failed)
La Center – Dolezal 1 run (Fox kick)
La Center – Hayden Williamson 33 run (Fox kick)
La Center – Thomas Dreyer 49 interception return (Fox kick)
La Center – Clint Smith 26 fumble return (Fox kick)
La Center – Tanner Dreyer 38 run (Fox kick)
Forks – Cole Baysinger 67 run (run failed)