The Washougal football team clinched its first Greater St. Helens League title in 23 years with a 58-40 victory over Hockinson on Friday, Oct. 28.
“We have a banner in our weight room reminding us of the last time (a Washougal football team) won a league title,” Washougal lineman and co-captain Jose Alvarez-Cruze told The Columbian, the Post-Record’s sister publication, after the Panthers’ 28-23 win over Columbia River on Oct. 21, one week before the league championship game against Hockinson.
Washougal (8-1 overall, 7-0 2AGSHL) will play the No. 4 seed from the Evergreen 2A Conference — either Shelton, Aberdeen or Black Hills — in a Week 10 playoff game that will likely be held Saturday, Nov. 5, at Fishback Stadium. If the Panthers win that contest, they’ll advance to the 16-team 2A state tournament, which begins on Friday, Nov. 11.
Washougal is eighth in the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association’s latest 2A state Rating Percentage Index rankings and has been ranked in the Associated Press’ 2A state poll for most of the season.
“I’m proud of how hard these kids have worked,” Washougal football coach David Hajek said. “They set these goals, did a lot of self-regulation as far as making sure everyone is reaching for the same goals, and they did a great job. They worked hard all summer — we had record numbers in the weight room and record numbers in the passing league. The kids were really involved this year. They worked hard in August and rolled into September, and they’ve had this attitude that, ‘We’re pretty good,’ or at least, ‘We have the ability to be pretty good.’ And our message has been, basically, ‘It’s all about us taking care of ourselves and not worrying about our competition,’ and they’ve done a great job.”