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La Center football preview: Wildcats enter season with chip on shoulder

La Center has effective passing game, for a change

By Joshua Hart, Columbian sports reporter
Published: September 3, 2019, 6:39pm

At a late July 7-on-7 in Ridgefield, La Center’s Andrew Scott stuck out like a sore thumb.

The 6-foot-3 wide receiver’s bounding gait is calculated as he times his leaps. Ball after ball, he hauls in. It’s no wonder why the Wildcats are throwing more these days.

“Everybody always says ‘Oh La Center, they can’t pass,'” Scott explains. “The last couple years, we’ve really changed that mentality.”

Scott caught 27 passes for 450 yards last season and was a two-way all-league pick. He’ll also enjoy the benefits of a more experienced La Center squad, which has won seven of the past nine 1A Trico League titles. Tom Lambert returns as quarterback after combining for 1,700 yards rushing and passing his sophomore season. Jeremy Humphrey and Scott are big targets.

High school sports fall tab 2019

This article is part of The Columbian's High School Fall Sports 2019 special section, published in print on Sept. 1. View it online.

Of course, La Center is first and foremost a power run-based offense, and Nic Budke and Bryten Schmitz will take leading roles in an perenially successful backfield.

Up front, the Wildcats return three all-league linemen in Sam Wilmot, Max Muffett and Sam Kitchel.

“I always think they’re the most important guys on the field, the linemen,” coach John Lambert said.

Defensively, the Wildcats return eight starters. Sean Fox, Micah Adams and Clay Roberts will be key contributors on that side of the ball, in addition to several of those mentioned on offense.

Perhaps most importantly, La Center is hungry to return to its Trico perch. After starting 0-4, the Wildcats saw amazing progress by Week 10. A continuation of that improvement is undoubtedly the expectation.

“There’s a different mentality this year,” Scott said. “Last year we were a fresh team with a lot to learn. I think we’re going to be a lot better.”

3 things to know

— Tom Lambert is coach John Lambert’s son.

— La Center went 4-2 last season after starting 0-4.

— The Wildcats have won 49 of their last 51 league games.

Columbian sports reporter