Game on: La Center will play Cascade Christian at 8 p.m. Saturday

No other suitable site could be found in the Puyallup/Sumner area, officials say

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor

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As it turns out, La Center will play its Class 1A state quarterfinal football playoff game against Cascade Christian of Puyallup at 8 p.m. Saturday after all.

La Center athletic director Matt Cooke said Tuesday that after directors of District 3 and 4 explored many other options, they ultimately decided the 8 p.m. kickoff at Puyallup’s Sparks Stadium proposed by Cascade Christian was the only viable option.

“Apparently, other football playoff games, soccer playoffs, and local club commitments that cannot be broken have these facilities booked solid throughout the day at other venues in the Puyallup and Sumner area,” Cooke said Tuesday. “I apologize to our team, to our student body, and to our families for this late of a start for our quarterfinal football game against Cascade Christian.”

On Monday, Cooke expressed dissatisfaction at the proposed 8 p.m. kickoff, saying it would result in a very late return home to La Center for the team’s players and supporters.

However, Cascade Christian’s home field of Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner will be in use all day Saturday, hosting the Class 2B/1B girls and boys soccer state championship and third-place matches. Also, Sumner High School is hosting a 4A state quarterfinal football game at Sunset Chev at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against Monroe.

Earlier Saturday, Sparks Stadium will host the 4A and 3A girls soccer third-place and championship matches, the last one being the 4A title game scheduled at 4 p.m.

Other facilities in the area were also booked. High schools often rent out their facilities to local youth and recreational soccer and football leagues on Saturdays.

Last week, Cascade Christian of Puyallup played a state first-round game against Nooksack Valley that lasted more than three hours. A game that long this Saturday would mean La Center’s game would not end until after 11 p.m.

That could lead to some weary-eyed Wildcat fans heading home early Sunday morning, a situation Cooke had hoped to avoid.

“That being said, I do believe that the district directors and (Cascade Christian athletic director) DJ Heltsley did what they could in trying to find another location in order to have an earlier start time,” Cooke said. “I appreciate their efforts in trying to accommodate La Center.”

This won’t be the first late-night trip home down I-5 for La Center fans this season.

On Oct. 13, the Wildcats played a 7 p.m. game against Burlington-Edison in Burlington, a four-hour drive from La Center.