The fire hydrants on 39th Street in Washougal have been painted orange and black. What about the school bus?
The Washougal High School football team earned its third victory away from home Friday, beating Clatskanie, Ore., 24-8.
The road trip continues this week, as the Panthers travel to Longview Friday for their first league game against R.A. Long. Kickoff is at 7 p.m., at Longview Memorial Stadium.
“I am so proud for the town, and for these kids,” said Washougal defensive coordinator Tim Fox. “You play for your seniors, but we also have a great group of juniors, sophomores and freshmen and 70 seventh- and eighth-graders playing football in Washougal. It’s nice to see so many kids excited for football again.”
Sam O’Hara had two touchdown runs against Clatskanie, and Ryan Erdwins added one. Colton Sullivan kicked a 41-yard field goal on the first drive of the game.
“After we lost to Fort Vancouver last week, we wanted to come out fired up and ready to go,” O’Hara said. “To be able to march down the field and kick a field goal on our first drive set the tone. We got a three-and-out on defense, and then scored a touchdown. I’ll never forget that.”
The Panthers only surrendered one touchdown in the third quarter. Fox said that sophomore defensive lineman Tyler Purkeypyle did a good job of rushing the opposition into making mistakes.
After a second touchdown in the fourth quarter gave Washougal a 24-8 advantage, the Panthers put the finishing touches on the victory during the pursuing kickoff.
The Clatskanie kick returner lost control of the football, Stephen Camden flattened him like a pancake and Erdwins recovered the ball for Washougal. All that was left for the Panthers to do was take a knee and let time expire.
“I was pleased with how physical we were tonight,” Fox said. “Against Fort last week, we did not finish every play. We were content with being up 14-12, and we crumbled.”
O’Hara said the Panthers are still out to earn respect, especially from the teams in their own league. It all starts Friday, in Longview.
“It takes one class to change a program. We hope we can do that,” O’Hara said. “There are still a lot of doubters out there, and we want to make them get behind our program. We’ve got a lot of people here putting in the hours, and we want that to translate to the scoreboard.”