Washougal carves Castle Rock

Panthers welcome Columbia River to town for first league game

The Panthers dig down deeper for a play in front of the goal line on fourth down. Washougal scored on a 1-yard touchdown run by quarterback Ryan Stevens (11).

With the hometown advantage in full effect, Kade Coons, Nathan Tofell and the Washougal High School football team carved up Castle Rock 41-14 Friday, at Fishback Stadium.

“All these fans coming out to watch us play football feels good,” Tofell said. “It just gives us motivation to go out there and do our best. I’m really thankful for all of them.”

Tofell notched 134 rushing yards and a touchdown. Coons collected 105 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Ryan Stevens added a touchdown run and kicked two field goals.

Coons said the Washougal offensive linemen are fulfilling their potential.

“On those breakaways, I just got lucky,” Coons said. “They blocked great, I saw a hole and I went.”

Tofell also said he doesn’t know what he would do without the offensive line. Those bulldozers just helped him take the ball right up the middle.

“I like the contact. I’m not such of a speedy guy. I like to be a little bit physical with my running,” Tofell said. “I love Kade to death. He’s one of my good friends. He just does a good job of finding the right reads and doing what he does best.”

After stopping Castle Rock on the opening drive, Washougal marched 88 yards up the field and scored. Coons collected three first downs, Tofell added one and Grant Lewis caught a first down from Stevens to keep the drive going. Coons then ran around the Rockets and dove across the goal line for a 7-yard touchdown.

Castle Rock answered with a touchdown to tie the score with 5.1 seconds left in the first quarter. Washougal regained the lead with a touchdown on its next drive. Stevens carried the ball across the goal line on fourth down to put the Panthers back up 14-7 with 8:37 left in the second quarter.

After both teams turned the ball over, Jakob Davis gave Washougal one more chance to put some points on the board before halftime. The sophomore beat his defender down the field, dove out and caught a 34-yard pass with 5.8 seconds left on the clock. Stevens kicked a 30-yard field goal to give the Panthers a 17-7 lead at halftime, but they weren’t satisfied.

“I threw out the comment that we lost that half,” Coons said. “Yeah, we were up by 10, but I believe that we lost that half because we should be dominating. I think that’s the type of team we are. We should be dominating every game. And so, I said we lost that half.”

Starting with the ball in the second half, it took Washougal less than a minute to score a touchdown. Coons had a 16-yard run, Tofell added a 23-yard run and Coons carried the ball 2 yards across the goal line.

Castle Rock made it up to the Washougal 20-yard line on its next drive, but a high snap over the quarterback led to a loss of 16 yards. The Rockets then fumbled the football and Blake Webb recovered it for Washougal.

After Davis made a leaping catch for 11 yards and Stevens ran for a first down, Coons took a short pass from Stevens and turned it into a 17-yard gain. Coons then crossed the goal line again, on a 5-yard run, for this third touchdown of the game.

Castle Rock fumbled the ball again and Davis recovered it for Washougal. Tofell broke loose for a 29-yard run and was brought down on the 1-yard line. The Panthers went right back to Tofell and he scored a touchdown.

Washougal forced the Rockets to turn the ball over on downs two more times. Stevens kicked a 39-yard field goal for the Panthers in the final minutes of the game. Castle Rock scored one more touchdown on a 69-yard run, but that was the end of it.

“Just down here, I told them we won that half. Everybody respected that,” Coons said. “It did put a little more trust in my mind. These are my brothers, these are the boys that I’ve grown up with, and they’ve got my back.”

Washougal (2-0) hosts Columbia River (0-2) in the first league game of the season Friday, at Fishback Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

“It’s going to be a fun week,” Coons said.

The Panthers want to avenge a 35-21 loss to the Chieftains in 2016.

“They got us last year. We have a little bit of urgency,” Tofell said. “We want to come out on top. We’re going to give it all we got — senior year.”

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