After a 3-hour, 165-mile bus ride to Prineville, Ore., the Washougal Panthers piled on 451 rushing yards to defeat the Crook County Cowboys 28-7 Friday.
Sam O’Hara anchored the attack with 228 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Stephen Camden added 72 yards rushing and a touchdown, and Austin Tofell delivered 43 yards rushing and a touchdown.
Washougal limited Crook County to just 200 yards of total offense. Michael Stainbrook forced a fumble and recovered a fumble. Dylan Ritchey caused a fumble and snagged an interception. Marcus Cannon also recovered a fumble. Caleb Howard led the Panthers with eight defensive tackles, to go with 91 yards rushing offensively.
“If you make it to the playoffs, you’re going to have some long bus rides. You have to be able to overcome that and play football,” said head coach Bob Jacobs. “Our kids were able to do that against Crook County, but we still made some mistakes that cost us some points.”
O’Hara got Washougal on the scoreboard first, with a 36-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, but things were just starting to heat up. The Cowboys evened the score on a 40-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter. After Camden capped off a drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, O’Hara broke off a 65-yard sprint into the end zone to give the Panthers a 20-7 lead at halftime.Tofell turned in a 5-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and O’Hara caught a 2-point conversion pass from quarterback Colton Sullivan to complete the scoring.
Washougal gave away two costly fumbles and missed a field goal. Jacobs said the Panthers cannot afford to make those kinds of mistakes in the final three league games of the season.
“This last three games are going to be an absolute dogfight,” Jacobs said. “Every time we get the ball, it’s our opportunity to put points on the board. We can’t waste it.”
It all starts Friday, when Washougal (6-0, 1-0) hosts Woodland (3-3, 2-0) at Fishback Stadium. The Panthers then travel to Mark Morris and Hockinson.
“This week is all about Woodland. We can’t blink for a second,” Jacobs said. “We can’t have a letdown physically or mentally. We have to take every snap like it’s our last.”
Since Washougal and Woodland are both undefeated in league, Friday’s game could have huge implications on who becomes the league champion.
“We definitely have to look at this as a league championship game,” Jacobs said. “Whether we win or lose this game doesn’t matter if we don’t win the last two weeks. Every game in the last three weeks is going to feel like a league championship game. We just can’t lose.”