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Friday, February 23, 2024
Feb. 23, 2024

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Friday Night Flashback: La Center’s triple-OT win in 2017 quarterfinals showed true grit

Evan Honore helped seal win despite two broken vertebrae

By , Columbian Sports Editor

Before he helped make the game-winning tackle, Evan Honore didn’t know he was playing with two broken vertebrae.

The La Center senior had been enduring pain and back spasms since the first quarter.

Now in triple overtime of a 2017 Class 1A state quarterfinal game against Cascade Christian, Honore and his teammates dug deep for one final play.

“I remember we had faced adversity all game,” Honore said in an interview this week. “We said to each other ‘hey, there is no way possible we’re going to lose this game.”

Leading 41-35, La Center needed one more stop as Cascade Christian faced fourth-and-goal at the 5-yard line. The Cougars gave the ball to their best player, running back Madden Tobeck, who dashed toward the goal line.

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.'”

More in This Series

La Center wins triple-overtime playoff thriller, 41-35
Hayden Williamson’s 5-yard touchdown run in triple overtime gave the Wildcats the lead for good and the defense stopped Cascade Christian’s potential game-tying touchdown run…

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.”