Sunday, February 5, 2023
Feb. 5, 2023

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Stevenson storms back to knock off La Center 27-21

Bulldogs score 21 unanswered points to beat reigning league champions

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published:

STEVENSON – The Stevenson Bulldogs kept shouting it into the pouring rain, as if trying to convince themselves it was true.

“We beat La Center! We beat La Center! We beat La Center!”

The Bulldogs did just that, scoring 21 unanswered points and shutting out the defending Trico League champions over the final 2½ quarters to score a huge 27-21 Trico League victory on Friday night.

“No one on this team could say that they beat La Center until today,” senior Isaac Hoidal said. “And now, to beat them, we feel like we’re on top of the world. We couldn’t feel any better right now.”

Stevenson’s night got off to perfect start. Lincoln Krog recovered a Stevenson onside kick to open the game. Then on the first play from scrimmage he broke and spun out of tackles for a 45-yard touchdown run.

Stevenson led 6-0 just 15 seconds into the game. But then things swung in La Center’s favor.

Tom Lambert hit Jeremy Humphrey on a couple of long passes, and the offensive line opened up running room for Wyatt Dodson, who had 84 yards and three rushing touchdowns in the first half.

Dodson’s third TD gave La Center a 21-6 lead with 5:45 left in the second quarter.

The Wildcats appeared well in control when they stopped Stevenson on downs at their own 45 with 2:37 left in the half.

Then Krog intercepted a pass and returned it 20 yards to the La Center 40. Six plays later, quarterback Brandon Connell hit Hoidal with a 5-yard touchdown pass to cut La Center’s lead to 21-13 with six seconds left in the half.

“We got in the locker room at halftime, and Isaac Hoidal is telling the kids how we had momentum on our side now and we had to keep it going,” Stevenson coach David Waymire said. “I hadn’t even had the chance to say anything yet.”

The Bulldogs made some adjustment at halftime, then kept the momentum going.

They took the second half kickoff and drove 75 yards on eight plays, capping it when Connell hit a wide-open Krog in the end zone for a 40-yard touchdown pass.

Hoidal caught a pass from Connell for the two-point conversion, and suddenly it was a 21-21 game.

The Stevenson defense stopped La Center on its next drive on downs, stuffing Dodson for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the Stevenson 35.

Five plays later, Connell broke free for a 42-yard touchdown run and the Bulldogs led 27-21 with 2:59 left in the third quarter.

La Center moved the ball well most of the night. Dodson finished with 122 yards rushing. Lambert rushed for 106 and passed for 79.

But turnovers killed the Wildcats’ comeback attempt.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Lambert had the ball slip out of his hands while attempting a pass, and Stevenson recovered.

After holding Stevenson on downs, La Center was driving inside the Stevenson 25 when another fumble gave Stevenson the ball back with 5:21 left.

Most of Stevenson’s yards came on big plays. Krog’s TD run, TD catch and Connell’s TD run accounted for almost half of their 283 yards of offense.

But when they need it most, the Bulldogs asserted themselves.

“Hands down, it was the offensive line,” Connell said. “We wouldn’t have got this win without them.”

Running the ball like they hadn’t been able to all night, the Bulldogs kept moving the chains and eating clock.

They eventually turn the ball back to La Center with just 25 seconds left and the Wildcats 79 yards from a potential winning touchdown.

The game ended with another turnover – an interception.

“It’s amazing,” Hoidal said of the win. “It’s just what I asked for. It’s a dream. It couldn’t have been any better than that.”

No one in the Stevenson locker room could remember the last time Stevenson beat La Center, Waymire said.

Then again, no really cared, because the Bulldogs will remember this night the rest of their lives.

STEVENSON 27, LA CENTER 21

La Center             14           7              0              0—21

Stevenson          6              7              14           0—27

First quarter

S – Lincoln Krog 45 run (kick failed)

LC – Wyatt Dodson 2 run (Sean Fox kick)

LC – Dodson 3 run (Fox kick)

Second quarter

LC – Dodson 3 run (Fox kick)

S – Isaac Hoidal 5 pass from Brandon Connell (Andrew Garcia kick)

Third quarter

S – Krog 40 pass from Connell (Hoidal pass from Connell)

S – Connell 42 run (kick blocked)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING – La Center: Dodson 25-122, Tom Lambert 16-106, Collin Namanny 1-4, Nic Budke 1-(-3). Stevenson: Krog 10-62, Connell 8-62, Preston Lowry 5-28, Desmond Phillips 1-1, Alec Van Pelt 1-(-2), Hoidal 1-(-2).

PASSING – La Center: Lambert 4-8-2-79. Stevenson: Connell 13-22-0-134.

RECEIVING – La Center: Jeremy Humphrey 2-51, Andrew Scott 1-28, Namanny 1-0. Stevenson: Hoidal 6-79, Krog 5-51, Phillips 1-3, Lowry 1-1.

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