The long bus ride to Tenino two weeks ago sapped the energy out of the Panthers before they even stepped on to the football field.
But it was a different story for Washougal Friday, in Clatskanie, Ore. After a scoreless first quarter for both teams, the Panthers erupted for 21 points in the second quarter and marched to a 42-26 victory.
Bobby Jacobs rushed for 266 yards and scored three touchdowns. Randy Gubser gained 64 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Matt Randall caught a touchdown pass from Guy LaRue. Jacobs completed three long trips into the end zone on runs of 65, 75 and 25 yards. Gubser added 4- and 21-yard rushing touchdowns.
“Our line stepped it up and made a lot of critical blocks,” Jacobs said of Christian Edminson, Anthony Valdez, Luke Hiersche and the rest of the offensive line. “They led the way. In order to have a multitude of good running backs, you need a line to block. They are what makes everything possible.”
After a 67-point victory in their home opener Sept. 14, the Panthers return to Fishback Stadium to host R.A. Long for their Homecoming game. Kickoff is at 7 p.m., on Friday.
“This is going to be a huge deal for the players and the town,” Jacobs said. “We want to prove that we can compete against the rest of the teams in this league.”
Washougal defeated R.A. Long in 2011, before suffering three tough losses in a row to Woodland, Mark Morris and Hockinson to close out the season.
“There are still a lot of guys here who were on the sidelines last year. We know how hard that felt and we are determined not to let that happen again,” Jacobs said. “I feel like all of this work we have done in the weight room and on the field since last season ended has brought us closer together. As long as we continue to work hard and believe in ourselves, there’s no reason we can’t beat any team that’s in front of us.”
After R.A. Long, Washougal must prepare for road trips to Ridgefield and Aberdeen in the coming weeks. The Panthers then return home for another big game against Mark Morris, before wrapping up league at Hockinson.
“The hard part of our schedule is right in front of us,” said head coach Bob Jacobs. “Every game is going to be hard fought. The only thing I ask is that these kids play as hard as they can for as long as they can. If we do that, we have a shot at winning the game.”