Washougal handed fourth seed into the playoffs

Panthers travel to Tumwater again Saturday

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Washougal's Ryan Stevens chops down Woodland's Tyler Flanagan for a loss of eight yards during the 2A Greater St. Helens tiebreaker Monday, at Doc Harris Stadium. Columbia River defeated Woodland and Washougal for the No. 2 playoff seed. Woodland took the No. 3 seed and Washougal settled for No. 4.

The Washougal football team was unable to solve Woodland or Columbia River in a three-way tiebreaker for home field advantage in the playoffs Monday, at Doc Harris Stadium.

Columbia River earns the No. 2 playoff seed and will host Black Hills Saturday. Woodland took the No. 3 seed and travels to Chehalis to play W.F. West Saturday. Washougal settled for the No. 4 spot, but will still head to the playoffs Saturday.

“It could be worse,” said Washougal head coach Dave Hajek. “We got a playoff. We get to go to play at Tumwater. They’re a good team. You want to play the best when you get to the playoffs. We’ll get that.”

After losing to Columbia River by one point, Woodland scored a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to lead Washougal 8-0 in the second game. The Panthers scored a touchdown on an 11-yard run by Ryan Stevens, but couldn’t convert the two-point try, and lost by one.

Washougal needed to beat Columbia River in the final go-round to restart the tiebreaker. The Panthers faced a fourth down 10 yards away from the end zone, elected to go for it instead of kicking a field goal and came up short.

Columbia River did kick a field goal on its first possession, to take a 3-0 advantage. Washougal was forced to go for it on fourth and long and failed to keep the tiebreaker alive.

As the No. 4 seed, Washougal travels to Tumwater for the second year in a row Saturday. The game starts at 6 p.m.

“Our kids have worked hard all year long. Unfortunately, We have kind of been derailed by injuries, but these kids just keep fighting,” Hajek said. “No matter what happens, they deserve to go to the playoffs. We just unfortunately have one of the better teams to play in the state.”

Hajek has nothing but great things to say about a senior class that has led their team to a 6-3 record and brought Washougal back to the playoffs. The Panthers won six games back in 2011, but lost their last three league games and missed the playoffs. Hajek also recalls the 2014 Washougal football team that went 6-4 and also missed the playoffs.

“When all is said and done, you got to ask yourself as a team and as a player, ‘Did you help the program grow or not?’” Hajek said. “This senior group definitely helped the program grow. They were a part of the group that got us back to the playoffs for the first time in nine years, And now, we’re going back to the playoffs for the second year in row. I’m really proud of these guys.”