Clark County Youth Football, celebrating 40 years in the region, is one of the reasons that high school teams in the region are having so much success
The 1995 Ridgefield Spudders became the first high school football team from Clark County to win an official state championship. That same season, Evergreen went to the state semifinals.
Many of those players had been together even before high school. They were part of the first decade of players who got their first experience with football through Clark County Youth Football.
Six years later, in 2001, Mountain View had the first of its two consecutive appearances in the state semifinals.
In 2003, Evergreen returned to the semis, and in 2004, Evergreen became the first big school from the county to win a state title.
Cale Piland, now the athletic director for Evergreen Public Schools, was the coach at Evergreen at the time.
“It very much helped,” Piland said of Clark County Youth Football, and its mission of teaching young football players fundamentals while also keeping those same athletes on community teams. Athletes who would be going to Evergreen or Mountain View, for example, played on the same teams while growing up through the CCYF system.
“Part of the reason Kelso dominated Southwest Washington for so long is they had youth football,” said Piland, who also grew up in Clark County, attending Mountain View. He knows the history of high school football in the region.
“For a long time, the first time a Clark County kid played football wasn’t until the eighth grade or sometimes in the ninth grade,” Piland said. “Getting kids started earlier definitely had an impact.”
The Hockinson Hawks won back-to-back titles in 2016 and 2017, then reached the 2A semifinals in 2018. Rick Steele, then the head coach at Hockinson, said CCYF was instrumental in that run.
“CCYF was really our only option for youth football,” Steele said, adding that a vast majority of Hawks played for CCYF. “We were one of the only middle schools in Clark County that didn’t have any football program at all. We relied heavily on CCYF.”
The CCYF website proudly boasts of the high school state championships on its website. There is the 1995 Ridgefield championship, the 2004 Evergreen title, the championships in 2016 and 2019 for Camas, the back-to-back titles from Hockinson, and the Union victory in 2018.
“If you look at the teams that have had state-level success, those were kids who played together in our program,” said Terry Hyde, one of the founders and the president of CCYF.
Looking at the WIAA archives, football held its first official state championship games in 1973. Washougal made the semifinals in 1974, and Woodland made the championship game in 1982.
CCYF had its humble beginning in 1983. It would be several years before CCYF went independent and only played against other teams from Clark County.
The county began experiencing incredible results with its high school programs soon after, starting with the 1995 Ridgefield title and Evergreen’s semifinal appearance.
Since 2001, Clark County has been a player on the biggest stages of high school football. Here is the longest run for a Clark County high school team each year, as well as any final four team from the county.
2001: Mountain View to the 4A semifinals
2002: Mountain View to the 4A semifinals; Columbia River to the 3A semifinals
2003: Evergreen to the 4A semifinals; La Center to the 2A semifinals
2004: Evergreen won the 4A state championship
2005: No Clark County team made it past first round
2006: Skyview to the 4A quarterfinals
2007: No Clark County team made it past the first round
2008: Union to the 3A state championship game
2009: Skyview to the 4A semifinals; Union to the 3A semifinals
2010: Camas to the 3A quarterfinals
2011: Skyview to the 4A state championship game; Camas to the 3A semifinals
2012: Camas to the 4A semifinals
2013: Camas to the 4A state championship game
2014: Columbia River to the 3A quarterfinals; Hockinson to the 2A quarterfinals
2015: Camas to the 4A quarterfinals; Hockinson to the 2A quarterfinals
2016: Camas won the 4A state championship: Skyview to the 4A semifinals; La Center to the 1A semifinals
2017: Hockinson won the 2A state championship; La Center to the 1A semifinals
2018: Union won the 4A state championship; Hockinson won the 2A state championship; Mountain View to 3A semifinals
2019: Camas won the 4A state championship; Hockinson to the 2A semifinals
2020: No season
2021: Camas to the 4A quarterfinals; Ridgefield to the 2A quarterfinals
2022: No Clark County team made it past the first round.
- State arm wrestling championships ready to flex Saturday in VancouverArmSports Entertainment, founded and owned by a Clark County arm wrestler, is hosting more than 300 competitors for the Washington State Arm Wrestling Championships at Kiggins Theater on Saturday.
- Vancouver Lightning to host match Saturday night in indoor soccer leagueVancouver Lightning, a new semi-professional arena soccer team, is playing in the Western Indoor Soccer League.
- Girls basketball: Titan great Tee Anderson returns to Union as Columbia River’s head coachTuileisu “Tee” Anderson still holds several program records from her time playing at Union High School, but on Wednesday she went to Union as a visitor, as the new head coach at Columbia River High School.
- Washougal 5th grade runners compete at Junior Olympics Regional XC meetAnava and Joela Grundy, 5th grade students at Columbia River Gorge Elementary, competed at the USATF Junior Olympics Regional XC Meet in Athol, Idaho, on Nov. 18.
- Opinion: Seton Catholic’s loss in state semifinals reminiscent of Hockinson’s rise to gloryHigh school football: Seton Catholic lost in the Class 1A state semifinals on Saturday in a game that reminded an old coach, and old journalist, of a game in 2014 that would eventually catapult Hockinson to back-to-back state championships.