LA CENTER — It was all working for the La Center Wildcats in a 42-point rout over the Ilwaco.
Actually, it was the Wildcats’ offense dancing around the Fisherman defense to the tune of 502 rushing yards that was working. La Center spread the carries to nine different players, who all rushed for positive yards.
Mike Polyakov led the blistering attack with 182 yards on 16 carries and three touchdowns. Polyakov continually ran around, through, and over an Ilwaco defense that did not solve La Center’s hurry-up, Wildcat-style offense from the start.
On La Center’s first possession, Tyrone Kulla ran 26 yards to midfield, setting up a 35-yard Polyakov run to the Ilwaco 15. The Wildcats wasted no time, scoring on a 1-yard Alex Meza touchdown run.
“It was important for us to play hard and not play down to the level of our opponent,” La Center coach John Lambert said. “Ilwaco’s struggling, and they’re trying to get their program turned around, and there’s been times in the past for us to let off the gas and not be as aggressive and not be as crisp as we’d like to be.”
La Center kept its foot on the gas and scored 15 more points in the first quarter. The Wildcats then extended their lead to 29-0 at the first half.
It was the defense that set the tone in the beginning of the second half, forcing a punt on a Ilwaco 3-and-out series.
The Wildcat’s started their drive on their own 21-yard line, and for the first time in the game had trouble moving the ball. They found themselves with a fourth-and-8 situation, but converted on Jake Johnson’s second and final pass of the game, a 37-yarder to Austin Heldt.
The momentum from the throw led to Polyakov’s third touchdown — an 13-yard run — a few plays later.
“He actually came up and apologized to me, saying ‘I can do better,'” Lambert said. “He runs hard, he’s very smart, and picks things up very quick.”
Lambert gave the credit to his offensive line, the key to getting his running backs downfield.
“We worked hard this week and really focused on Ilwaco,” said Justin Van Tol, a La Center offensive lineman. “We knew they weren’t going to be a push-over, and really focused, and got it done.”
Van Tol said he liked watching his running backs take off down the field.
“It’s great. They thank us after each play. It’s fun. We’re family.”
Next up: La Center (3-2, 2-1) at Castle Rock
La Center 50, Ilwaco 0
Ilwaco 0 0 0 8— 8
La Center 22 7 14 7—50
LC — Alex Meza 1 run (Jake Johnson run)
LC — Meza 1 run (Patrick Mayolo pass from Johnson)
LC — Mike Polyakov 25 run (kick failed)
LC — Polyakov 9 run (Tony Sandoval kick)
LC — Polyakov 13 run (Sandoval kick)
LC — Mayolo 3 run (Sandoval kick)
LC — Andre Obot 35 run (Sandoval kick)
I — Justin Schenk 68 run (Tom Odneal run)
Rushing — La Center — Polyakov 16-182, Johnson 6-84, Meza 12-55, Obot 5-48, Mayolo 8-40.
Passing — La Center — Johnson 2-7-0-30.
Receiving — La Center — Austin Halp 1-17, Meza 1-13.