LA CENTER — Three second-half touchdowns by Patrick Mayolo and a clutch defense gave the La Center Wildcats a 35-20 victory over the visiting Rochester Warriors for their first win of the season.
Mayolo rushed 12 times for 106 yards, and Taylor Dreyer added 48 yards rushing for the Wildcats.
La Center strayed away from its passing game for most of the night, but picked up quality yardage with a few throws. Jake Johnson completed four passes for 9 or more yards each.
The Wildcats carried a 14-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. Rochester brought the heat in the second half, but so did Mayolo. The senior ran for a touchdown in the third quarter and added two in the fourth quarter.
“I was impressed with how (Mayolo) carried himself on the field,” La Center coach John Lambert said.
Interceptions helped the Wildcats out on scoring front. Two of their three interceptions started drives that led to touchdowns.
Lambert was pleased with his defense, but maintained that there are improvements to be made.
“I thought the defense did a good job,” he said. “But there were too many blown assignments on defense.”
Two touchdowns were scored in the first half, with La Center reaching the end zone in each of the first two quarters.
“We were a little slow right off the bat,” Mayolo said. “We stepped up when we had to.”
Rochester’s passing game opened things up in the second half. Tyler Gedney split 18 completed passes between five different receivers and finished with 185 yards in the air.
La Center lost momentum at times, but Rochester’s penalties thwarted any equalizing attempts.
Dustin Veysey’s fourth-quarter interception was the deal sealer for the Wildcats. His interception and 20-yard run set up Mayolo’s second touchdown of the final period.
Mayolo ran 13 yards for his third touchdown and made it 35-13 in favor of La Center. The defense allowed one more touchdown, but the time ran out for Rochester.
The Wildcats begin their seven-game Trico League season next week at Toledo.
“Next week, we have league,” Mayolo said. “We gotta push to that and get better.”
Next up: La Center (1-1) at Toledo
Rochester 0 0 7 13—20
La Center 7 7 6 15—35
LC — Josh McNeal 7 fumble return (Conner Wonderly kick)
LC — Mike Polyakov 1 run (Wonderly kick)
R — Tim Rios 20 pass from Tyler Gedney (Noah Althauser kick)
LC — Patrick Mayolo 45 run (kick failed)
R — Chase Grimmett 12 pass from Gedney (run failed)
LC — Mayolo 26 run (2-point conversion, not available)
LC — Mayolo 13 run (Wonderly kick)
R — Rios 5 run (Althauser kick)
Rushing — Rochester — Tim Rios 29-90. La Center — Patrick Mayolo 16-169, Taylor Dreyer 14-50, Mike Polyakov 7-27, Tyrone Kulla 8-26.
Passing — Rochester — Tyler Gedney 19-39-3-236; La Center — Jake Johnson 3-7-1-47.
Receiving — Rochester — Danny Arellano 7-71, Chase Grimmett 6-52, Rois 1-20; La Center — Dylan King 1-18, Polyakov 1-9, Mayolo 1-8.