A rowdy crowd at Fishback Stadium went wild Friday, when Colton Sullivan and Sam O’Hara hooked up for another Washougal touchdown two minutes into the third quarter.
Up by two, the young and ferocious Panthers galloped to the goal line again. It appeared nothing would stop Washougal from scoring again, except for a yellow flag and a holding penalty.
Stunned and disappointed, the Panthers punted away in hopes to getting the ball back. It would only get worse for Washougal. Fort Vancouver scored three touchdowns unanswered, and snatched a 31-14 victory.
“We played a good football team, and we played them tough,” said Washougal head coach Bob Jacobs. “Did I think we played to the best of our ability? Honestly, no.
“The kids know we can compete. Now, we got to figure out if we can compete for 48 minutes instead of just 24,” he added. “Play hard for four quarters, and show that we can still go. That’s the mind set I want these kids to have.”
Washougal took a 7-0 lead out of the gate, when O’Hara caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Sullivan. Fort answered with a touchdown in the second quarter, but the Panthers blocked the extra kick. The Trappers scored again, to take a 12-7 lead at halftime.
The howling Panthers regrouped during the break. Sullivan capped off a swift, 2-minute drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass to O’Hara, which gave Washougal a 14-12 lead. The Panthers drove to the goal line again, only to be called back for holding.
“Had we been able to score on that series, it might have been a different outcome. We never seemed to recover from that penalty,” Jacobs said. “Our kids played well, at times. Other times, they reverted back. Football is about running, blocking and tackling. Our offense needs to block.”
Jacobs said the Panthers will be working out the kinks in practice this week, in preparation for Friday’s game at Clatskanie High School, near St. Helen’s, Ore. Kick off is at 7 p.m.
“Our goal this week is to be more fundamentally sound,” Jacobs said. “We want to go to Clatskanie and play the kind of football we are capable of.”
The first league game for Washougal follows on Friday, Oct. 1 at R.A. Long in Longview. Jacobs and the Panthers look forward to that challenge.
“It’s important to want to play good football teams because they give you an opportunity to get better,” Jacobs said. “We want to put together a product that makes people come to Fishback and say, ‘that’s our football team.’ I will never lose sight of that.
“This town deserves a winning football program,” he added. “We’re going to get this turned around together.”