The Panthers kept pushing and throwing and catching and running until the Lumberjacks cracked.
Washougal football (5-0) sent a shock wave through the 2A Greater St. Helens League by defeating R.A. Long 42-14 Friday, at Fishback Stadium. It started slowly and methodically on a 97-yard scoring drive that took nine minutes off the clock in the first quarter. Sam O’Hara finished the deal with a 1-yard touchdown run.
“I’m proud of the way our kids rallied together,” said head coach Bob Jacobs. “A talented team like R.A. Long is always just a couple of big plays from being right back in the game. We played tough defense, whether it was getting a turnover or a making a big stop on the 1-yard line.”
Just when the Jacks seemed to be rolling down the field at an unstoppable force, Caleb Howard snagged an interception out of the end zone to get the ball back for Washougal. And once again, O’Hara dashed into the end zone for his second touchdown.
Washougal then went to the air. Right after R.A. Long scored it’s first touchdown of the game, Colton Sullivan sent the football into orbit and it came down in the hands of Karsten Short. The 6-foot-3 wide receiver took the ball all the way to the end zone for a 75-yard catch and score.
“Colton put that one on the money,” Short said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better pass.”
Sullivan completed 12 of his 20 passes for 339 yards.
“It’s good to get out there, and have both the run and pass plays working,” Sullivan said. “It’s all about the league now. We’re back to square one. Nothing is going to be given to us. We got to be ready to take it.”
Besides the football flying around, there were plenty of yellow flags thrown by the officials. Both teams combined for 37 penalties. The game crawled along at a snail’s pace, but the Panthers never took their feet off the gas pedal.
A couple of pass interference calls gave R.A. Long a first-and-goal opportunity at the start of the third quarter. The Jacks ran the ball a couple times, but Stephen Camden, Jarrett Gregory and the rest of the Panthers closed all the gaps. R.A. Long then did a draw pass, but Michael Stainbrook and Short tackled the handler on the 1-yard-line. One more try for the Jacks on fourth-and-one, and the Panthers stopped them again to get the ball back.
Tension between the two teams began to boil over. It erupted into a fight, after Austin Toffell turned a short pass into a touchdown. A Washougal and an R.A. Long player were ejected for throwing punches.
“It appeared that we weren’t the instigators, but our kids did leave the box and there will be some repercussions for that,” Jacobs said. “We have to remember to play with class. We have to do it with our heads, our hearts and our pads. Just keep our mouths shut and play.”
After the game, the Washougal fans hung around to give the Panthers a rousing send off to the locker room.
“The fans are always out there supporting us. That’s what I love about Washougal,” Short said. “They were here when we were 0-9. Now that we’re 5-0, and the only undefeated team in Clark County, it’s such a great feeling.”
Fort Vancouver and R.A. Long have been paid back by the Panthers. On Friday, Washougal looks to avenge last year’s Homecoming game loss to Crook County. Kick off in Prineville, Ore., is at 7 p.m.
“The tour continues,” Jacobs said.