As one of the last high school football teams in Clark County to have a home game, the Washougal Panthers gave a performance their fans will never forget.
The Panthers decimated the Fort Vancouver Trappers 74-7 Friday, at Fishback Stadium. A long interception return by Randy Gubser was the first crack in Fort’s foundation.
“To do that on the second play of the game puts you in a whole different mindset,” Gubser said. “The energy from the sidelines was just crazy. It was a great way to start the game.”
Matt Randall slid across the goal line and snagged a 9-yard touchdown pass from Guy LaRue. Randall also delivered an 11-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown, but saved his best play for last. As the Trappers drove into scoring position to start the third quarter, the Washougal senior intercepted a pass in their end zone and made a 102-yard dash into the Panther end zone for his third touchdown of the game.
“I’ll always remember that pick six in the other end zone,” Randall said. “Since it’s my senior year, it’s nice to get those touchdowns and make up for lost time. It’s sort of like second nature. You see the ball, and you just want to pick it up and run with it.”
Austin Tofell racked up 150 rushing yards, 62 receiving yards, scored four touchdowns and grabbed an interception.
“This game unified our entire team as one,” he said. “It wasn’t just about one person, it was everyone working together and playing as a unit. When that happens, it’s pretty much the best experience you can have.”
Brandon Casteel ran for 75 yards and three touchdowns. Bobby Jacobs gathered 195 rushing yards and a touchdown to go with some big hits on defense. Adam Thomas also intercepted a pass, and Chase Duey and Joe Philbin recovered fumbles.
“It’s all about how you practice,” Randall said, proud the Panthers were able to bounce back from a 27-point loss to Tenino.
“We were focused and ready,” he added. “We wanted to show that the Panthers are tough and relentless.”
The Washougal football players still had plenty of energy to do wind sprints after the game. It looked like they could have gone a few more quarters.
LaRue showed plenty of fire during the post-game huddle.
“I couldn’t do anything without my brothers,” said the senior quarterback. “Not without my offensive linemen, running backs and receivers. The defense was also unreal.”
The Panthers travel to Clatskanie, Ore., Friday. The homecoming game with R.A. Long is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 28, at Fishback Stadium.
“Tonight, we proved Washougal is for real. Four years ago, we were the team losing by 70 points,” LaRue said. “We have to put this game behind us and focus on the next one. We want to carry on this momentum and prove we can win on the road.”