Honore, Tanner Dreyer and Jackson Leslie swarmed toward Tobeck, dropping him to the ground just a foot short of the goal line.
Game over. The Wildcats were headed to the state semifinals for a second straight year.
More importantly, that year’s class of 24 seniors had just minted their defining moment.
“It’s a game they’ll remember forever, just because of all the challenges going back and forth,” La Center coach John Lambert said.
The challenges of that day started before kickoff. Because stadiums in the Puyallup area were fully booked for other state football and soccer games, the game at Sparks Stadium didn’t start until 8 p.m.
What followed was a 3 hour, 11 minute slugfest that saw La Center’s offense run nearly 200 plays.
Though the game was tied 7-7 in the fourth quarter, the teams combined for nine touchdowns in the last five minutes of regulation and three overtimes.
“We tell our kids, the game usually hinges on six plays,” Lambert said. “That game had 12 to 14 of them.”
All the while, Honore was doing everything he could to stay in the game. After suffering the injury in the first quarter, the Trico League’s co-defensive player of the year endured multiple bouts of back spasms.
“I was like ‘OK, this sucks but whatever,” said Honore, who played free safety. “We tried rolling it out at halftime, but that didn’t work.”
Late in the game, he had to be carried off the field after making a tackle.
“Before the last series, I was behind our bench bawling my eyes out because I could barely move,” Honore said. “Coach came over and said ‘One more drive?’ I was like ‘OK, let’s do this.'”
Lambert wasn’t surprised his players found a way to win that game. He had been tracking that year’s senior class since youth football. He knew they were special.
“Moments when they were young and getting schooled, literally and physically, they were still tough enough,” Lambert said. “Even when they were juniors, we could hang with anybody.”
Honore didn’t play in La Center’s next game, a 34-14 loss to Meridian in the semifinals. But the experience of his final high school game remains with him today.
“I learned that the only way I’m ever going to give up is if I physically can’t do something,” he said. “I gained a lot of confidence from that.”