The La Center High School Wildcats football team sat at a 9-1 record as they headed into the playoffs.
On Nov. 11, La Center lost its game against Cashmere, 22-17, bringing its season to an end.
Coach John Lambert had high hopes for his team prior to the Friday night game as he reflected on what the team had accomplished up to that point.
“We lost our first game and it was a good thing for us,” Lambert said. “It really challenged us in many ways and often I feel with adversity, good things come from it if you learn from it and grow from it, and I think we grew quite a bit from that experience.”
He said the first game of the season forced the kids to lock in and focus on what needed to be done to get better.
“Ever since then, we’ve been progressively getting better. And so it’s nice to see, and I think that loss helped a lot with us improving and not taking anything for granted,” he said.
Lambert said the team improved in “every aspect,” like their passing, defense and blocking. This year’s team featured a lot of newer players.
La Center played Hoquiam in the crossover and won 63-14 to earn their spot in the playoffs.
“Once you get to the playoffs, everyone’s good,” Lambert said prior to the Nov. 11 game against Cashmere. “Everyone’s either a league champion or right there, so going into this week, we play Cashmere at Woodland. The hope is that we continue to grow as a team and get better.”
Lambert said senior Levi Giles balanced the roles of quarterback and running back during the season, securing multiple touchdowns. There was also left guard Clayton Muffett, center Landen Rader, and left tacklerAdam White.
“These guys have been in the system for four years. They understand the offense, they understand the expectations. Any time you have seniors on the offensive line, it really helps because they really understand what we’re trying to accomplish and what we’re trying to do,” Lambert said.
One “explosive” player, Davari Grauer, was considered the fastest player on the field.
“He’s electric when he gets the ball in his hands,” Lambert said.
Running back Lane Roberts, on the other hand, is a force on defense and brought a “tremendous physicality to a game,” Lambert said.
“I think we’ve talked about how fleeting these moments are in life and how this could end any week,” Lambert said. “Football’s really a sport you can’t replicate in your life. The bonding of teammates and all the things that we teach through football … these are Friday night lights, you can’t get these back.”
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