Friday night lights: La Center, Ridgefield look forward to strong season


La Center Wildcats

Head coach: John Lambert

Classification: 1A

League: Trico

2021 season stats: 6-3

The La Center Wildcats football team is looking to rebound after they experienced a 19-14 loss to Hockinson in their season opener on Sept. 2 at home.

Coach John Lambert is dedicated to getting the team caught up after their first game.

“We laid an egg on Friday (Sept. 2) in the third quarter and lost to Hockinson,” Lambert said. “Other than that, (it’s) week one.”

Lambert said the team has performed well during practices.

“The kids are working really hard. This week, they’re particularly focused after losing to Hockinson, so I know they’re excited to get back out and start playing again,” Lambert said. “But I think we have a really talented team and we have some younger guys playing, and it’s going to take a little longer maybe for them to get to where they need to be. But they’ll get there and we’re working hard to get to that point where they have some experience under their belts.”

For this season, Lambert wants the team to win some conference games. From there, he wants the team to secure a victory in the playoffs for a chance to potentially attain the state title.

The current roster features a lot of returning players, he said.

“It’s always nice to have some veteran players returning, but every year, you have new players filling in and I think we have a lot of talent with the new players filling in,” Lambert said.

Ridgefield Spudders

Head coach: Scott Rice

Classification: 2A

League: Greater St. Helens League

2021 season stats: 11-1

The Ridgefield Spudders football team is ready for what’s to come this season, despite losing their first game to W.F. West on Sept. 2 with a score of 38-28.

Coach Scott Rice has high hopes for the team this season.

“We would’ve liked week one to have gone better,” Rice said. “(We) played a playoff team in W.F. West and battled really hard and worked really hard at it.”

He’s happy with where the team is at now compared to the last three years. Rice said they’re ahead of where they normally are this early into the season.

Ridgefield lost a lot of varsity players last year, but Rice said the athletes on the team gained experience along the way because of the schedule they played last year.

“We gained a lot of guys that got late reps,” he said. “They are inexperienced technically, but they got a lot of experience last year, if that makes sense.”

Last year, the team went 11-1. They lost their final game in the playoffs. It was the team’s first appearance in the playoffs since 1995, Rice said.

This year, he’s hoping for similar success for his players.

“We have a lot of guys that have really committed to the weight room, have really dove into being better,” Rice said. “The way we practice is better, the way we communicate is better, and every year that gets a little easier from a coaching perspective.”