La Center back to winning ways in Trico League
La Center Wildcats (1-4, 1-0 Trico League)
Week 5: La Center 41, King’s Way Christian 12
Next: at Stevenson, 7 p.m. Friday
The champs made it to league play last week.
Then the champs reminded everyone that they are still the defending champions of the Trico League.
A brand new team — seriously 20 new starters — and a tough schedule left the La Center Wildcats at 0-4 for the first time in coach John Lambert’s long tenure. But he knew they were improving.
Once league play hit, the Wildcats proved him right.
“We felt like we were due,” Lambert said. “We’ve been improving. Part of it was learning where the kids could be at, the best players for the best positions. I feel really good with where we’re at with the players and where they’re playing. That’s starting to show on the field.”
King’s Way Christian played tough for a half, three quarters even, but it was all La Center down the stretch.
“We played a much cleaner game in the second half,” Lambert said. “We’re a good team when we do that.”
Sam Kitchel has made a name for himself at defensive end. Not a starter at the beginning of the season, now he is too good to take off the field. The coaches knew he had talent but his play has surprised them, Lambert said.
“He’s so instinctual and quick, which we didn’t anticipate,” Lambert acknowledged.
Wyatt Dodson continued his strong season at linebacker. A star running back, this is his first year starting on defense.
“We give him a lot of freedom to make plays,” Lambert said.
Dodson also rushed for 150 yards in the win. Tom Lambert was efficient at the quarterback spot. Andrew Scott had a 100-yard receiving game.
For the linemen, a shout-out to Cyrus Zumstein, who had several pancake blocks for the Wildcats.
Next up for La Center is a road game at Stevenson. Just about every team in the Trico is looking at this year’s La Center team as the chance to get the Wildcats. Stevenson, clearly, has an opportunity.
“They have some tremendous playmakers,” Lambert said, noting that most of Stevenson’s impact players are seniors. “It’s going to be a huge challenge for us to go down there and try to somehow contain those guys.”
King’s Way Christian learning from the defending champs
King’s Way Christian Knights (2-3, 0-1 Trico)
Week 5: La Center 41, King’s Way Christian 12
Next: vs. Castle Rock, 6 p.m. Friday at King’s Way Christian High School
For first-year coach Brian Rodriguez, it was nearly the perfect way for his first league game.
Everything except the result on the scoreboard.
“It was a lot of fun. In the most respectful way, I’m very glad we opened up with La Center and (coach John) Lambert,” Rodriguez said. “The league runs through La Center. Lambert is a phenomenal coach. I’m young. There is a lot I can learn from him and their program.”
La Center has won the past two Trico League titles.
Plus, it was a perfect night for football at a special place. La Center really supports its team. Even though the Knights are a small school in a small league, their school is in Vancouver. Playing in La Center, Rodriguez said, had that “small-town feeling” and his players were excited to be part of that event.
The Knights even played the defending league champions tough for three quarters.
“You’ve got to play all four quarters,” Rodriguez said. “You gotta finish the game. You gotta finish blocks. You gotta finish assignment. I knew (the Wildcats) were going to be ready. Those kids were ready, and they played harder than us.”
He was still impressed with his team’s preparation.
“We did some really good things. Then we did some things where we did show some youth,” Rodriguez said. “We’re learning.”
Bryson Metz had another 100-yard receiving game for the Knights. Mason Packer had a strong day on offense and defense. Lambert told Rodriguez after the game that King’s Way quarterback Kemper Shrock looks like a completely different player this year, playing with confidence.
Seton Catholic getting closer to league win
Seton Catholic Cougars (3-2, 0-1 Trico)
Week 5: Stevenson 28, Seton Catholic 19
Next: at Columbia HS – White Salmon, 7 p.m. Friday
If Stevenson is one of the top teams in the Trico League, then Seton Catholic is not that far off this season. Yes, the Cougars are improving, and proving they belong.
Seton Catholic had a third-quarter lead in Week 5.
After the third quarter, Stevenson was only up by a point. Sure, the Bulldogs would get the next two touchdowns to take command, but this was a battle.
Taj Muhammad, by the way, who seems to find the end zone in different way every week, had a touchdown run for the Cougars and also an interception return for a touchdown.
Next for Seton Catholic is a road game at White Salmon.