La Center’s playoff run ends in state semifinals

VANCOUVER — One of the most successful football seasons in La Center High School history came to an end Saturday at McKenzie Stadium.

Connell jumped out to a 14-0 early lead and relied on its stingy defense to keep La Center at bay the rest of the way as the Wildcats were on the losing end of a 24-7 score in the semifinals of the Class 1A state high school football playoffs Saturday at McKenzie Stadium.

La Center running back Jeffrey Mayolo (24) runs for yards against Connell. Photo by Mike Schultz
La Center running back Jeffrey Mayolo (24) runs for yards against Connell. Photo by Mike Schultz

The loss eliminates La Center from the playoffs. The Wildcats finished the season with an 11-2 overall record. It was the second time since coach John Lambert took over the La Center program in 1999 that the Wildcats had advanced to the semifinals of the state playoffs.

After Connell jumped out to a 14-0 lead Saturday, La Center got on the scoreboard via a touchdown from quarterback Jeremy Scott early in the second quarter. That touchdown made the score 14-7.

La Center running back Thomas Dreyer (23) pushes away a Connell defender on a run. Photo by Mike Schultz
La Center running back Thomas Dreyer (23) pushes away a Connell defender on a run. Photo by Mike Schultz

Connell appeared on the verge to go ahead by two touchdowns minutes later but its scoring attempt ended when a ball carrier fumbled on the 1-yard line and the ball rolled into the end zone, where La Center recovered to end the threat.

Despite playing an admirable defensive game, La Center was unable to solve Connell’s defense, which entered the game allowing opponents less than 13 points a game this season.

La Center running back Jeffrey Mayolo (24) is stopped by a Connell defender. Photo by Mike Schultz
La Center running back Jeffrey Mayolo (24) is stopped by a Connell defender. Photo by Mike Schultz

The Wildcats held Connell to less than half of its season scoring average. Prior to Saturday’s game, Connell had averaged 50.4 points in its first 12 games.

La Center head coach John Lambert speaks to the players after the loss to Connell. Photo by Mike Schultz
La Center head coach John Lambert speaks to the players after the loss to Connell. Photo by Mike Schultz
La Center running back Jeffrey Mayolo (24) is emotional after being eliminated by Connell in the semifinals. Photo by Mike Schultz.
La Center running back Jeffrey Mayolo (24) is emotional after being eliminated by Connell in the semifinals. Photo by Mike Schultz
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About The Author

Joanna Nicole Yorke is a 2010 graduate of the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication at Washington State University in Pullman. She has a bachelor's degree in journalism with a minor in political science. Yorke is a Clark County native, growing up on her family's 12-acre farm in La Center where her family still resides today. She was previously a reporter at The Reflector Newspaper, covering the city of Battle Ground, the Battle Ground School District and a variety of other areas and topics.

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