Fourteen months without an organized high school football game due to the coronavirus pandemic is enough to make any team anxious, but Tom Lambert, Coby Namanny and the La Center Wildcats looked like they hadn’t lost a step.
With snow piled up beyond each end zone after a February snowstorm, Lambert and Namanny hooked up on four touchdown plays to lead La Center to a 58-0 victory against Fort Vancouver Saturday at Kiggins Bowl in Vancouver.
Lambert completed 19 of his 32 passes for 373 yards and seven touchdowns. He also rushed for 100 yards on six carries. Namanny caught eight passes for 137 yards and four touchdowns.
Waiting months for their senior year of high school football to begin, Namanny and Lambert established their connection on the game’s opening drive. Namanny caught a Lambert pass over his shoulder, dodged defenders and dove across the goal line for a 17-yard touchdown.
After La Center got the ball back, Lambert kept the drive alive on a fourth down dash for two yards. On first-and-goal from the three, Lambert scooped up a fumbled snap and tossed the ball over the defensive lineman to a waiting Namanny in the end zone.
The Wildcats forced a fumble on defense and Jalen Ward recovered the football. Next play, Lambert riffled the ball to a wide open Namanny for a 54-yard catch and run to the end zone.
La Center led 22-0 before the end of the first quarter, and then tacked on 20 more points in the second. Andrew Kysar turned a short pass from Lambert into a 44-yard touchdown. Jeremy Humphrey added a 9-yard touchdown catch. One more Lambert and Namanny connection in the end zone gave the Wildcats a 42-0 lead before halftime.
Fort Vancouver had a first-and-goal opportunity near the end of the second quarter, but the drive ended when Tyler Normine intercepted the ball in the end zone for La Center.
Lambert’s day wasn’t done, despite eclipsing the 300-yard passing mark in the first half. David Grauer generated Lambert’s seventh touchdown on a 53-yard breakaway to the end zone. Austin Nixon delivered a 21-yard touchdown run to round out the scoring for the Wildcats.
La Center is scheduled to host Goldendale at 7 p.m. Friday. The Wildcats will also host Montesano March 5 and Castle Rock March 19 during this shortened season.