Time runs out on Panthers

A 15-point fourth quarter gave Washougal hope

The Washougal High School football team scored 15 points in the fourth quarter, but West Seattle held on to a 28-21 victory Friday, at Fishback Stadium.

“The kids showed they have a lot of heart,” said head coach Dave Hajek. “We challenged ourselves to play hard and not so passive. We ran it right up the middle and went after them. In the end, we just ran out of time.”

All 21 points came for the Panthers in the second half. Hajek attributed the effort to a rally cry in the locker room after they were down 22-0 at halftime.

“We can live with mistakes, but we can’t live with guys not being aggressive,” Hajek said. “I told the kids, ‘we’re not playing like a veteran team, we’re playing like young group.’ If we can get over this and take the fight to the other team, we got a shot at it.’ And they did. That tells me we’re heading in the right direction.”

Washougal started the third quarter off with a bang. Marcos Martinez followed his blockers on a run up the middle, burst through the seams and galloped 62 yards into the end zone for a touchdown.

“He’s a little fireball,” Hajek said. “He gave us some life and got us ignited.”

West Seattle responded with a 6-minute drive and a touchdown to go back up by 22 points. Martinez struck gold again for Washougal on a 5-yard run across the goal line at the start of the fourth quarter. Nathan Tofell caught the 2-point conversion pass from Ryan Stevens to bring the Panthers within 14 points.

Washougal got the ball back on an interception by Justin Snodgrass. The Panthers went for it on fourth down, completed a pass, but came up a yard short. The Panthers dug in deep on defense and forced West Seattle to turn the ball over on downs.

Austin McLaughlin and Tyler Bowlin caught passes from Stevens to move Washougal into scoring position. Stevens connected with Bowlin again on a 22-yard touchdown pass.

Only down by seven points, the Panthers attempted an on-side kick but West Seattle recovered. Washougal made one final stand on defense to get the ball back, but an interception allowed West Seattle to secure the victory.

“We’re hoping the light went on for these kids,” Hajek said. “Take that switch they had at the half and stop switching it. Just turn it on from the start and play aggressive for all four quarters.”

Washougal looks to gain ground on the road. The Panthers head to Castle Rock Friday, before beginning league play at Columbia River Friday, Sept. 16. Both games start at 7 p.m.

“We’re going into Castle Rock with some momentum,” Hajek said. “It’s all about working to get better and progressing so you’re playing your best football when you get to league.”