LA CENTER – When asked what he did on a rare Friday night off in the autumn, La Center coach John Lambert had to think a moment.
“Oh! I went to bed by 10,” Lambert said. “It’s the earliest I’ve gone to bed in forever.”
That was appropriate because one week after having a bye, Lambert’s well-rested Wildcats got a big wake-up call from Columbia-White Salmon.
But after the visiting Bruins closed to within one score in the fourth quarter, La Center got going.
Bryten Schmitz rushed for a 162 yards, including 75 on the Wildcats’ clinching drive, as La Center beat Columbia 28-14 in a Trico League game on Friday.
After Andrew Scott’s 13-yard touchdown on La Center’s first possession of the second half gave the Wildcats a 20-0 lead, things look well in hand.
But then the Bruins got something going, driving 69 and 65 yards on their next two possessions to cut La Center’s lead to 20-14 with 5:17 left.
“We were making adjustments to score, but then they made adjustments too, which kind of threw us off,” said Schmitz, a sophomore. “Then we made adjustments to stop them again. It was an adjustment game to see who can do it better.”
The final adjustment went to the Wildcats, who drove 71 yards on nine plays for the clinching score, a two-yard run by Schmitz, his second of the game.
“We really didn’t talk about the score, just our individual jobs,” La Center senior lineman/linebacker Max Muffett said. “We just want to make sure we knew what we were doing. … It’s all in the back of our minds (the score), but we’re not talking about it. It’s just remain calm and do your job.”
Lambert rushed for 45 yards and one touchdown and passed for 86. Scott had three catches for 84 yards and one TD.
Austin Charters led Columbia-White Salmon with 87 yards rushing, and Bowen Durkee rushed for 47 yards and two touchdowns.
Now, the Wildcats get ready for a trip to Castle Rock next week and a matchup for theTrico League championship.
“The week off was nice because we do have guys who had some aches and pains,” John Lambert said. “So they were able to rest. But also when you do that, you can also take the foot off the gas a bit. I think that’s what happened to us tonight. And that’s could be a good thing.”
The Wildcats (7-0, 3-0) know they’ll next to play better next week.
“Everything,” Schmitz said on what the team needs to work on. “We always try to improve on everything, and we’ll need to improve on a lot of stuff to beat Castle Rock. They’re a good team.”
LA CENTER 28, COLUMBIA-WHITE SALMON 14
CWS 0 0 7 7—14
La Center 0 14 6 8—28
LC – Tom Lambert 1 run (Bryten Schmitz run)
LC – Schmitz 10 run (pass failed)
LC – Andrew Scott 13 pass from Lambert (run failed)
CWS – Bowen Durkee 14 run (Zavier Smith kick)
CWS – Durkee 2 run (Smith kick)
LC – Schmitz 2 run (Schmitz pass from Lambert)
RUSHING – Columbia: Austin Charters 14-87, Durkee 13-47, Alarick Blankenship 2-5, Stanley Hylton 1-10, Smith 3-4, Angel Sanchez 1-(-4), team 1-(-17). La Center: Schmitz 15-162, Lambert 18-45, Andrew Kysar 5-15.
PASSING – Columbia: Charters 5-18-0-62. La Center: Lambert 5-11-0-86.
RECEIVING – Columbia: Kolby Riggleman 1-24, Eli Nielsen 1-24, Smith 2-17, Durkee 1-(-3). La Center: Scott 3-84, Darren Cepeda 1-3, Schmitz 1-(-1).