Football is getting fun again in Washougal

Panthers look forward to playing in front of their hometown Friday

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Friday nights are getting fun again for Washougal High School football players.

After beating Hudson’s Bay on a game-winning touchdown with 28 seconds to go, the Panthers broke out of their shells for a 42-7 smashing of White Salmon.

This Friday, Washougal (2-0) hosts Fort Vancouver (1-1) in the first game of the season at Fishback Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

“We are Washougal, and we can play some football. It’s nice to see some pride back in this building,” said head coach Bob Jacobs. “This place should be rocking on Friday. A lot of people will be here. I hope our kids play well, and I hope they play hard.”

The Panthers jumped out to a 21-7 lead at halftime against White Salmon. Aleksander Arzhanov had a 2-yard touchdown run, and Sam O’Hara added a 55-yard touchdown run. After the Bruins got on the board, Washougal quarterback Colton Sullivan connected with Nathan Adams on a 7-yard touchdown pass.

Sullivan racked up 220 yards passing to four different receivers. He also threw for three touchdowns.

“It’s nice to have multiple receivers you can count on,” Sullivan said. “These first two weeks have been an enriching experience. There’s lots of excitement for the home opener. It would be nice to get a win for our fans.”

O’Hara caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Sullivan in the third quarter, and a 74-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. The final score for Washougal came on a 28-yard TD run from Luke Lockard. O’Hara finished with 160 yards receiving, 124 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

“You want to see excitement brought back into this community,” said assistant coach Danny Howard. “You start breathing in a winning attitude, and the kids start believing. That transfers to the school and the community.”

Jacobs said the goal this week is to make sure Fort Vancouver has its hands full Friday. The Trappers are coming off a 45-27 victory over Battle Ground.

“Our kids are starting to realize they can compete. There are a lot more smiles, and the morale is good,” Jacobs said. “We have a lot of respect for Fort Vancouver, and their coaches. We have to be prepared. I’m not going into this game with rose-colored glasses.

“It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. We still have a lot of work to do,” he added. “Nobody expected us to be 2-0. Respect is earned. Nobody is going to give it to you. You got to earn it.”