Washougal battles Hockinson and Aberdeen for final playoff spot today

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Donald Holbert clings to a Hockinson Hawk before Brandon Casteel and Luke Hiersche join the fray Friday, at Fishback Stadium. The Hawks defeated Washougal 27-14 to force a three-way playoff between these two teams and Aberdeen today, at Kelso High School.

Washougal, Hockinson and Aberdeen will play sudden death football starting at 7 p.m. today, at Kelso High School.

The three teams will face each other in a round robin format. One team starts with the football on the 25-yard line, while the other plays defense. The objective is to score a touchdown or kick a field goal in four downs. The rounds continue until one team prevents the other from tying the score, or takes the lead after making a stop.

The Panthers fell into this predicament after Hockinson defeated them 27-14 Friday, at Fishback Stadium. Abderdeen beat Ridgefield on the same night to force a three-way tie for third place in the 2A Greater St. Helens League. Only one of these teams will earn a trip to Tumwater Saturday.

Bobby Jacobs and Chase Duey connected on two touchdown passes to give Washougal a 14-7 lead Friday, but the Hawks tied the game before halftime, took the lead on a touchdown in the third quarter, and then intercepted a pass in the end zone that would have tied the game for the Panthers. Hockinson added a touchdown in the final minute of the fourth quarter to put the game out of reach for Washougal.

“We played plenty hard enough to win. We just made a couple of mental mistakes,” Duey said. “That playoff spot is ours. It should have been ours tonight. We just have to get ready for Tuesday. Tonight is over.”

Tommy Harshaw delivered a 92-yard touchdown run for the Hawks on their first snap of the game.

“It’s tough when you start from a deficit on the first play,” said Washougal head coach Bob Jacobs. “I give our kids credit for battling back. Hockinson is a great football team. When we had the opportunity to finish them off, we just couldn’t get it done. That’s football.”

Senior tight end and defensive lineman Luke Hiersche hopes the Panthers are ready to fight.

“We’ve done too much work for this to end right now. We went to Camp Rilea and we lifted all winter, spring and summer long,” Hiersche said. “We’ve done too much not to win this. We’ve done too much not to go all the way.”