o Friday, 7 p.m, at Fishback Stadium.
Sept. 3, 2010, is the day football fever infected Washougal.
On that fateful evening at Kiggins Bowl in downtown Vancouver, Sam O’Hara snagged a game-winning touchdown pass from Colton Sullivan in the final seconds of the game to lead the Panthers to a 10-7 victory over the hometown favored Hudson’s Bay Eagles.
Week by week, the contagious excitement spread like wildfire. And by the end of the year, Washougal had its first winning season since 2004. It all goes back to that shot in the dark against Hudson’s Bay. On Friday, the two teams face each other again at Fishback Stadium. Kick off is at 7 p.m.
“The kids worked hard all summer, and I’m excited to see it pay off for them against Hudson’s Bay,” said head coach Bob Jacobs. “Beating a 3A school two years in a row would be great. At the same time, I respect their kids and their coaches. It’s going to be a battle. I just hope we play well enough to deserve to win.”
Before going 5-4 in 2010, the Panthers went 0-9 in 2008 and 2-7 in 2009. The goal for 2011 is to compete with the larger schools, such as Hudson’s Bay, and contend for a playoff spot.
“I’m happy out here, knowing we are moving in the right direction. Our morale and enthusiasm after only one year together says a lot,” Jacobs said. “It’s tough when you come into a place where everybody is used to getting beat. You have to change the culture. The first thing I told these kids is if they worked hard and did all of the right things, they could compete. When it started happening, the kids started buying into the whole deal and everything else just took off.”