LA CENTER — La Center football is plenty used to the feeling of winning a Trico League title. With a 26-6 victory over Castle Rock on Friday night, the Wildcats won their ninth in 11 years.
But there was also a new experience for the Wildcats: For the first time in more than two decades, La Center ended its season on a win.
Typically, there’s a postseason for La Center to move on to, but in this wackiest of seasons, this was the final game. And the Wildcats (4-1) played like it.
After a slow start, La Center rattled off 26 unanswered points to topple the Rockets. Senior quarterback Tom Lambert accounted for four touchdowns — two throwing and two running — and a fumble recovery.
It was the last time Lambert would suit up with his father, John, as coach. Lambert is still finalizing his collegiate football future.
“It’s bittersweet,” a teary-eyed Lambert said. “We won; we played a hard game, but it’s my last game with my dad. But we had fun … and we whooped some butt.”
Lambert, who threw for 263 yards and ran for 65, wasn’t the only senior who added a few more stellar moments in an illustrious football career. Micah Adams hauled in four catches for 103 yards, including a 44-yard second-quarter touchdown catch.
As a freshman, Adams “couldn’t catch a cold,” John Lambert quipped. Now, the 6-foot-3 tight end is headed to Whitworth University to play football.
“It’s something special to end your senior year with a win,” Adams said. “I couldn’t imagine a better game to end on.”
Senior Irving Alvarez, who stands no more than 5-foot-6, out-leaped everyone to catch a 10-yard fourth-down touchdown heave from Lambert in the third quarter. The baseball standout was also a stalwart on the defensive end — along with senior Jeremy Humphrey — for the Wildcats on Friday. La Center allowed just 187 total yards, the only scoring blemish a 68-yard second-quarter scoring strike from Chance Naugle to Lane Partridge.
Coby Namanny caught three passes for 54 yards in his final game with the Wildcats and caught a two-point conversion.
When it was determined that football season was a go earlier this year, Tom Lambert was thrilled to have one last run with his team. Looking back, did it live up to expectations?
“I think it surpassed it,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
LA CENTER 26, CASTLE ROCK 6
CR 0 6 0 0 — 6
LC 0 14 6 6 — 26
CR — Lane Partridge 68 pass from Chance Naugle (run fail)
LC — Micah Adams 44 pass from Tom Lambert (pass fail)
LC — Lambert 6 run (Colby Namanny from Lambert)
LC — Irving Alvarez 10 pass from Lambert (pass fail)
LC — Lambert 3 run (kick fail)
Rushing — CR: Austin McQuilliams 20-66, Chance Naugle 6-(-15), Lane Partridge 1-4, Landon Gardner 1-6; LC: Jalen Ward 2-14, Tom Lambert 17-65, Davari Grauer 1-2, Bryten Schmitz 10-51.
Passing — CR: Chance Naugle 7-24-0-126; LC: Tom Lambert 13-24-0-263.
Receiving — CR: Austin McQuilliams 1-3, Lane Partridge 3-85, Landon Gardner 3-38; LC: Colby Namanny 3-54, Micah Adams 4-103, Irving Alvarez 1-10, Levi Giles 2-66, Jeremy Humphrey 2-25, Bryten Schmitz 1-5.