The La Center Wildcats kept up the hunt for the playoffs tonight as they beat the King’s Way Christain Knights 38-21. The win brings the Wildcats to a 5-0 record and sets a milestone as John Lambert rang in his 150th win as head coach of the Wildcats.
“It’s really the relationships with the kids,” Coach Lambert said when asked about his favorite part about his last 21 years of coaching. “The great thing is seeing the kids come back. Some coach for me.”
Lambert said his motto for the past 21 years has been “loving what he teaches” both on an off the field.
“Our core covenants are effort, integrity and family,” Lambert said about the football team. “I think that’s something they can use further down the road.”
Since Lambert started as head coach of La Center High School football in 1999, he has led the Wildcats to 18 winning seasons, with an overall record of 150-72.
As for the season, Coach Lambert said working toward the 5-0 record started last year with rebuilding as the Wildcats graduated 23 seniors in 2017.
“We really had to do some self examination,” Lambert said about the 2018 season. “We worked hard and kept on working.”
This year, the Wildcats team motto is to go 1-0 every week and “always get better.”
Lambert said the team hit the weight room in the offseason to get to where they are now.
“We had a really good camp where we bonded and came together as a family,” he said.
Lambert’s son and varsity quarterback Tommy Lambert echoed his dad’s thoughts about the team coming together as a family.
“We have three core covenants,” Tommy Lambert said. “And we go hard by those three covenants.”
Tommy said his favorite aspect of the program is the family and brotherhood on the team.
“It’s something I haven’t felt yet in high school," he said. "It’s amazing.”
Tommy scored the final La Center touchdown off a 30-yard quarterback run with just over 9 minutes left in the fourth quarter of the game.
“We’re 5 and 0 and that feels good,” Tommy said.
The run brought the score to a final 31-21 after a heated fourth quarter between the Wildcats and Knights.
The game started off with a field goal from La Center in the first quarter followed by a three-yard touchdown run from Andrew Scott bringing the score to 10-0 Wildcats at the start of the second quarter.
With King’s Way scoring a touchdown within the first minute of the second quarter, Coach Lambert told the kids to bring on the hustle, and that’s what they did.
With just under six-minutes left in the half, Andrew Kysar scored on an incredible 11-yard run. With the extra point good, the half sat at 17-7, Wildcats.
“We needed to fix all of the little things we were mistaking (in the first half),” Tommy said. “We just had to fix some small things. Easy things.”
La Center came out of half-time looking to show King’s Way Christian they were there to keep their record going. La Center junior Irving Alvarez scored a touchdown with 7:30 left in the third quarter.
“We just had to work harder,” coach Lambert said.
The Wildcats celebrated Lambert’s 150th win with signs, photos and the football classic, drenching the coach in water.
“La Center is lucky to have you these 21 years molding our student athletes,” La Center Athletics Director Matt Cooke said on the Wildcats Twitter account.
The Wildcats are on the hunt for a 6-0 record as they play the Stevenson Bulldogs at home next week.
“Next week, we practice hard,” coach Lambert said in the team huddle.
Other scores from around the county
Prairie 38, Kelso 22
The Falcons head to 5-0 after this win over undefeated Kelso. Ian Davis caught a 40-yard pass from Devante Clayton during the game. Head coach Mike Peck and the Falcons will attempt to keep flying high next week as they play Mountain View at home next Thursday, Oct. 10.
Skyview 63, Battle Ground 14
The Tigers fall to 1-4 with this loss to the 4-1 Storm. They play at Heritage High School next Thursday, Oct. 10.
Ridgefield 24, Washougal 21
The Spuds go to 3-2 with this win over the Panthers. Ridgefield plays R. A. Long at home next Friday, Oct. 11.
Hockinson 41, Woodland 0
Hockinson head coach Rick Steele celebrated his 99th win as head coach of the Hawks with this victory. The Hawks go 3-1 with their win over the 1-3 Woodland. Hockinson heads to Mark Morris High School on Friday, Oct. 4. The Beavers will play Montesano at home.