Homecoming football games in Washougal have not always been fun, but this is a different year.
A capacity crowd filled the seats at Fishback Stadium Friday night, to see the Panthers dismantle Clatskanie 40-14. The Washougal players and coaches looked up in the stands several times with smiles on their faces, and they just fed off the crowd’s energy.
“The place was packed. There wasn’t an empty seat in the house, and people were lined up all along the rails,” said head coach Bob Jacobs. “It’s great for our kids and it’s great for our town. We want to maintain that excitement, and bring everybody under one umbrella.”
It was a special night for the seniors. Caleb Howard rushed for 105 yards and scored three touchdowns. Colton Sullivan made six passes for 104 yards. Zach Boland grabbed five of those catches for 100 yards receiving. Sam O’Hara caught the other 4-yard pass for a touchdown. O’Hara and sophomore Bobby Jacobs added touchdown runs.
Washougal succeeded in mixing some passes into the running attack. Jacobs said a lot of that had to do with the connection between Boland and Sullivan.
“[Boland] has dramatically improved from last year. He’s worked really hard in the weight room, and all of those things are starting to come together for him,” Jacobs said. “He’s just such a strong, physical, athletic kid with great leaping ability. Sometimes, he doesn’t realize how strong and athletic he really is. We’re trying to get him to use that to his advantage on every down.”
On top of the Homecoming festivities, the Panthers invited the East County Pop Warner and the Clark County Youth Football teams from Washougal to attend the game. Jacobs hopes those kids will continue to come to the games, wear their jersies and be proud to play football for their town.
“I think those kids are excited about what we are doing,” he said. “We want them to understand that they are a part of the Panther football family.”
The 4-0 Panthers are pumped to start league. Washougal hosts R.A. Long Friday at Fishback Stadium. Kick off is at 7 p.m.
“We have a lot of respect for R.A. Long,” Jacobs said. “I’m anticipating a good chess match.”