The Wildcats hosted their first round football matchup against the Omak Pioneers in what was a season-ending, 21-7 loss on Friday, Nov. 10 in the first round of the 1A state playoffs.
La Center’s season came to a close 10-1, which was successful but not the postseason outcome anticipated.
“We’ve had a lot of seasons where we end with losses, and it’s never easy,” La Center head coach John Lambert said. “We had a lot of adversity this game, and the kids played hard all the way to the end.”
The undefeated season didn’t come easy as, midway through, starting quarterback Garrett Maunu went down with an injury requiring wide receiver Houston Coyle to step into the field general slot.
That Coyle could step in when needed for Maunu, one of the team’s four seniors, Lambert considers a positive sign.
“... I think that bodes well for next year for Houston [Coyle] and this group of juniors and sophomores we have,” Lambert said. “But the seniors, they left it all on the field. Ryan [Kawalek] was in a lot of pain and hurt his back, and Jalen [Ward] hurt his shoulder last week. He was in a lot of pain.”
With two of the three active seniors able to play through injury, Lambert said he was extremely proud of their determination.
“I just love to see how hard they work and sometimes in life, you can prepare yourself as best as you can, [but] you fail, right,” Lambert said. “And that’s just life. In a world where a lot of entitlement happens, I think it’s good, that part of it is good. … These kids will carry on.”
Lambert added that he hopes his team will be successful in school, enjoying other sports and spending time in the weight room.
In a week that the football team will never forget, the Clarkston Bantams defeated the Beavers, 44-6, ending Woodland’s postseason hopes.
Leading up to the weekend, the Woodland community chipped in to fund a travel bus, hotel and meals for the players. After the school levy was turned down by voters last school year, the team had no formal transportation for a road trip spanning roughly six hours by car.
Thankfully, fast-acting community members provided the funds needed for the roadtrip to be comfortable.
Woodland finished their season 8-3, which ended in the first round of the 2A state playoffs.