Day After Report: La Center 26, King’s Way Christian 24

Back in early August, Jonathan Stell was preparing for his junior season for the Seton Catholic football team.

Then a couple weeks before the season was set to start, officials at Seton decided the Cougars didn’t have enough players to play the upcoming season.

Luckily, the football season would continue for Stell and his Seton teammates as they were folded into the program at King’s Way Christian.

Stell, who played quarterback last year at Seton, is making contributions at running back and defensive back for King’s Way.

“It’s been pretty good,” Stell said. “I think it helped the team out a lot. Their kids have been very open to us. … There’s been no judgment, no matter what school we’re from. We hang out together all the time. We are one big family. We love each other.”

WILDCATS GETTING BETTER: La Center coach John Lambert talked about the improved execution his team had offensively in the second quarter after getting stymied in the first quarter.

“We shot ourselves in the foot with penalties in the first quarter, but a lot of that was forced by what they were doing defensively,” Lambert said. “Being able to execute better in the second quarter was critical for us. … But our execution needs to improve. This was a great game for us to see what we need to work on.”

The Wildcats opted not to punt on fourth down three times Friday night — twice around midfield, and once from their own 33 with 7 1/2 minutes left and leading only 26-17. King’s Way held, and seven plays later, Liam Nabors hit Matt Garrison on a 9-yard TD pass to set up the final tense minutes.

“We go for it a lot on fourth down,” Lambert said. “That’s not unusual for us. I know we were taking a chance when we do that, but I also have a lot of confidence in our defense.”

HALFTIME PEP TALK: Things did not go well for the Knights in the first half. La Center led 20-3 and the Knights managed only 62 yards of offense.

What did coach Colby Davies tell the Knights at halftime?

“As soon as we went in the locker room, the belief was there in the kids,” Davis said. “We talked about believing in the second half that we could mount this comeback. We knew this was a really good football team, and we had to answer the challenge if we were going to compete in this game.”

The Knights were frustrated by coming up short against La Center. But they are not discouraged about the direction their season is going.

“We’re not going to be down about this game,” Davies said. “We would have loved to have come out on top, but we know it’s a big game against Castle Rock next week. They took it to us last year (a 50-21 Castle Rock win), so we’ve got a lot to prove against them. We don’t want to start 0-2 in league play, so we’ll come back on Monday and be really focused, put in a good week of preparation for that game.”

DEFENSIVE STARS: Jere’s the defensive stat leaders from Friday’s game

  • King’s Way: Hunter Cofer 7 tackles, Riley Danberg 6 tackles, Chandler Wann 4 tackles, 2 TFLs, Luke Hoffman 2 TFLs
  • La Center: Isaac Johnson 8 tackles, Evan Honore 7 tackles, Jack Hiller 5 tackles, Judd 5 tackles, 1 sack, Jeremy Scott 3 pass breakups
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