The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Jaryd Cline

Wolves finish tough three-game stretch with 48-7 loss to La Salle


Jaryd Cline

BREAKING OUT: Goldendale running back Cort Ladiges carries a La Salle defender during one of his 15 carries on Friday at Barthlow Field. Ladiges rushed for a team-high 109 yards on Friday against the Lightning.

he brutal stretch for the Timberwolves is over.

Three weeks into its South Central Athletic Conference West schedule, Goldendale football already has played the conference's top three teams.

On Friday, the La Salle Lightning and their Blitzkrieg offense invaded Barthlow Field and left with a 48-7 win, although it was the Lightning's defense that set the tone early.

La Salle returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the first quarter and built a 48-0 halftime lead to spoil Goldendale's Homecoming contest.

Entering the game as the No. 10 ranked Class 1A school by the Associated Press, the Lightning offense accounted for 141 yards through the air and 168 rushing yards and improved to 6-0 overall and 4-0 in SCAC West play.

Goldendale head coach Alan Hale said before the game he expected the Lightning to try and score upwards of 80 points on the Timberwolves. La Salle averaged 53 points over its last three games and after it went up 27-0 after the game's first 12 minutes on Friday, it seemed as if it might be possible.

However, the Wolves didn't kneel over and quit. They got tougher. Emotion was running high, and after a couple of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties on defense in the second quarter, the Timberwolves started making some plays and picked their intensity up.

"It's that positive attitude you want to see out of the kids," Hale said. "Ignoring the scoreboard and going for it and giving it all they had."

Justin Wells picked off La Salle quarterback Bridger Parrish in the red zone, just his fifth interception all season, but had the ball muscled out of his arms as he was falling out of bounds, giving possession back to the Lightning.

Cristian Nadler and Joseph Randall also made big plays on defense, stuffing the Lightning ball carriers behind the line on multiple occasions.

And, in the second half, the Wolves found the endzone for the first time since a 48-12 win over College Place on Sept. 9.

After a false start on the Timberwolves moved the ball back to the nine yard line, Cameron Read took the ball on the first play of the fourth quarter and rumbled into the endzone for the team's only score.

"It was kind of a monkey off their back," Hale said. "To put a touchdown on the board and to have the offense work, everything click, that was just huge for the boys."

It was no fluke though. The Wolves moved the ball at will in the second half and finished the game with 168 rushing yards while averaging 6 yards per rush.

Read finished with 40 yards on five carries and Cort Ladiges, playing in his first game this season, logged 109 yards on 15 carries. "I wasn't expecting it," Hale said of Ladiges' 100 yard game, "but, I'll tell you what, I'll take it every time I can."

The Wolves also benefitted from the return of Nadler and Maverick Frantum, a pair of seniors who boosted Goldendale's speed and depth. The additions, as well as getting junior lineman Colton Ward back, will be key for the Timberwolves as they fight for a spot in the district playoffs.

At 1-5 overall and 0-3 in SCAC play, the Wolves' postseason prospects don't seem too high. But, with the top three teams out of the way, the Wolves now have a better chance to pick up their first SCAC West win this season.

Next up for the Wolves, the Granger Spartans. The toughest of Goldendale's three remaining opponents at 5-1 overall and 2-1 in SCAC West play, the Spartans sit in fourth place in the West standings. The top four teams in each division advance to districts, and plays the opposite seeded team from the other SCAC division.

The Spartans sit two games ahead of the Wolves in the West standings, having beaten winless Cle Elum and winless Highland. Granger lost 55-18 to the Lightning on Sept. 16. If Goldendale wins its final three games of the season and Granger drops its final three games, the Wolves are in the playoffs.

"At this point, we've got a shot at making the top four if we run the board," Hale said.

Playoffs? Don't talk about, playoffs. No coach Hale didn't pull a Jim Mora during the interview, but if the Wolves get past Granger, they have a legitimate chance to finish as the No. 4 seed from the West.

Granger likes to play smash mouth football and control the tempo of the game on the ground, so it will be interesting to see how Goldendale responds after playing against the quick La Salle offense.

"It's going to be a good fight," Hale said. "We'll get after each other and try and shut (Granger) down."

The Wolves topped the Spartans 21-14 last season behind an amazing 363 yards rushing. But that was then and this is now. Of the six players who gained rushing yards in last year's contest, none are on this year's team.

After Friday's game in Granger, Goldendale hosts Cle Elum on Oct. 21 and Highland on Oct. 28. The teams have a combined record of 0-7 in conference play.


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