Panthers embrace November football

Washougal travels to Tumwater for playoff game Friday

It’s November, and the Panthers are still playing football for the first time in nine years.

“We’re just trying to take advantage of every day that we can,” said senior defensive back and receiver Luke Langland. “We would like to bring a win back to Washougal. If not, go out with class and really cherish this moment.”

Washougal (5-4) challenges Tumwater (8-1) in the first round. Kickoff is at 7 p.m., at Tumwater Stadium. Head coach David Hajek said the Panthers are going up against one of the best 2A football teams in the state.

“We told the kids, it’s kind of our measuring stick right now,” Hajek said. “They earned this spot. They earned the game. And now, we have to make sure Tumwater earns their spot if they go by us.

“No matter what happens or which ever way it goes, the only thing that matters right now is you go and give your best effort and you work hard and you play for each other,” he added. “That’s all we can ask for.”

Langland and fellow seniors Tyler Bowlin, Axel Gilmore, Gabe Henrich, Jake Klackner, Marcos Martinez, Austin McLaughlin, Tristan Schipull, Jake Shifflett, Jacob Sonneman and Justin Snodgrass hope they have started something special for Washougal.

“This senior group, it was all about dedication. We really wanted to be the team that did it,” McLaughlin said. “Even after those tough games when we lost by a touchdown or so, it was dedication that always brought us back. I know like 10 years down the road, I’ll remember these people and talk to them for the rest of my life.”

Hajek said the biggest gain for the Panthers in this game will be experience.

“Right now, this is a nervous time for these kids because they’ve never been here before,” he said. “We hope the younger guys learn from this experience and they get that thirst and that hunger to get better.”

McLaughlin said the Panthers might be the underdogs, but they are not going to be pushovers.

“We’re going in thinking we’re going to win,” he said. “And if we’re not going to win, we’re definitely going to give them a fight.”