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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Feb. 28, 2024

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La Center rallies late to beat Seton Catholic 14-13

Cougars led 13-0 until Wildcats scored twice final five minutes to win

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor

When the rain stopped, La Center got started.

At least, that’s how it seemed.

“Yeah, I don’t know if that was a coincidence or not,” La Center coach John Lambert said.

The Wildcats erased a 13-point deficit in the final five minutes with Parker McKinney’s 25-yard touchdown pass from Houston Coyle putting La Center up for a 14-13 win over Seton Catholic in a Trico League on Friday.

“In the third quarter, after they scored that second touchdown, we could have folded our tent or panicked,” Lambert said. “But we didn’t. That’s the leadership on our team going ‘keep on fighting. Keep on fighting to the end.”

And the Wildcats had to fight to the very end, even after taking that late lead.

Coyle’s 40-yard punt return put La Center on the Seton 40 with 8:40 to play. Nine plays later, the Wildcats were on the board on Jalen Ward’s 3-yard touchdown run, cutting the deficit to 13-7 with 4:13.

The La Center then got the three-and-out – the Wildcats’ first since the first possession of the game – and got the ball back. Coyle had a 25-yard punt return to put La Center on the Seton 32 with 2:15 to play.

Two plays later, Coyle found McKinney open in the end zone for the go-ahead score.

“I saw that (the Seton defensive back) jumped the out (route), and I just saw the ball and caught it,” McKinney said.

Coyle added: “It may not have been the best pass, but I’ve got trust in my receivers. They can go up and get the ball anytime. I got trust.”

Nate Rembisz’s point-after kick gave La Center its first lead, but Seton Catholic did not go away.

A 29-yard kickoff return by Teddy Wieczorek put the Cougars on the La Center 48. Four plays later, Seton had a first down on the Wildcats 22.

Seton quarterback Kolten Gesser made a fly-sweep toss to Wieczorek, who then reversed to Joe Callerame. Callerame lofted a pass in the end zone toward quarterback Gesser, but Coyle raced in front for a game-sealing interception.

“As soon as I saw that reverse, I was like ‘oh, I saw this on film,” Coyle said. “I watched film, studied and on the last play, I came for it. It came to be.”

For the first 43 minutes, it looked like a win by Seton Catholic – a team La Center scored 70 points on last year – was going to come to be.

Jacob Williams had a 34-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, then Ryker Ruelas pulled in a 21-yard touchdown pass from Gesser in the third quarter to go up 13-0.

“Seton Catholic played a great game,” Lambert said. “Their coaches did a great job. Their kids played light out. They really deserve a ton of credit for how they played.”

“Props to them; they are a good team,” Coyle said. “They are really good team. We didn’t underestimate them at all.”

And now La Center (7-0) is a better team for having battled the Cougars (6-1).

“They made us a better team today,” Lambert said. “There were things we didn’t respond well to what they were doing to us.”

McKinney said. “It gives us confidence, a lot of confidence that … even if we’re down, we can go back up, climb the ladder.”



La Center         0 0 0 14—14

Seton                0 6 7  0—13

Second quarter

SC — Jacob Williams 34 run (kick failed)

Third quarter

SC — Ryker Ruelas 21 pass from Kolten Gesser (Dalton Woods kick)

Fourth quarter

LC — Jalen Ward 3 run (Nate Rembisz kick)

LC — Parker McKinney 25 pass from Houston Coyle (Rembisz kick)


RUSHING — La Center: Jalen Ward 23-115, Issac Chromey 8-50, Houston Coyle 8-26, Kaden Emerson 6-12. Seton Catholic: Jacob Williams 29-146, Joe Callerame 2-32, Kolten Gesser 1-(-8).

PASSING — La Center: Houston Coyle 8-17-1-75. Seton Catholic: Gesser 9-14-0-79, Callerame 0-1-1-0.

RECEIVING — La Center: Parker McKinney 4-56, Emerson 3-11, Austin Nixon 1-8. Seton Catholic: Callerame 4-28, Ryker Ruelas 3-49, Kaiden Wilson 1-2, Jacob Williams 1-0.