2A/1A football notes: Ridgefield grateful for Week 9 opportunity

Spudders have a shot at No. 1 seed; plus notes on the other Clark County 2A and 1A teams

Our weekly football notes from the Clark County small schools, heading into Week 9.

RIDGEFIELD SPUDDERS (5-3, 4-1 2A GSHL)

Week 8: Prairie 53, Ridgefield 12

Scott Rice did not make a prediction back in August about the Ridgefield football season.

Instead, he just noted his vision, what could happen if the players and coaches got on the same page and performed to their potential.

Ridgefield coach Scott Rice has led the Spudders to a winning regular season and a playoff berth. If the Spudders stun Hockinson on Friday, they will share a league title and earn the No. 1 seed. Photo by Mike Schultz
Ridgefield coach Scott Rice has led the Spudders to a winning regular season and a playoff berth. If the Spudders stun Hockinson on Friday, they will share a league title and earn the No. 1 seed. Photo by Mike Schultz

He told me that if that were to happen that his Spudders would be playing for a league championship in Week 9.

It is not new in the business for a first-year head coach to bring such optimism. 

What I appreciated, however, was that he didn’t guarantee anything. He just simply said it was possible. 

Well, here we are, getting ready for Week 9, and the Ridgefield Spudders are playing for a league championship.

“In August, it was wishful thinking,” Rice acknowledged. “Things kind of went our way. We got some work done.”

Indeed.

Ridgefield lost its last seven games a year ago. Two years ago, Ridgefield lost its last eight games of the season.

This year, the Spudders have clinched a winning regular season with a 5-3 record, and they are 4-1 in the 2A Greater St. Helens League going into Friday’s game against mighty Hockinson.

“We’re pretty excited about the fact we are right where we want to be,” Rice said. “It’s fun to play in a Week 9 game that matters. You should thrive for moments like this.”

Of course, not too many will be giving Ridgefield a chance against the two-time defending state champions. 

Then again, not too many figured Ridgefield would finish in the top two in the league. If the Spudders lose Friday, they will be the No. 2 seed from the league for the district playoff. That means Ridgefield will have a home playoff game.

That’s an incredible turnaround for the program.

Rice said the players should get all the credit. He and his coaching staff have come up with the plan, but it’s the athletes who must execute that plan.

The Spudders are proud of what they have accomplished, and what’s ahead of them, this week and beyond.

“There was a buzz at practice,” Rice said. “The reward is a home playoff game in Week 10.”

Next: Ridgefield at Hockinson, 7 p.m. Friday

HOCKINSON HAWKS (7-1, 5-0 2A GSHL)

Week 8: Hockinson 34, Washougal 16

The Hawks have assured themselves of at least a tie for the league title. That’s six in a row, by the way. Of course, to win the league outright and earn the top seed to the Week 10 playoff, they have to beat Ridgefield in Week 9.  

Levi Crum and the Hockinson Hawks are looking to secure the No. 1 seed from the 2A GSHL with a win over Ridgefield on Friday. Photo by Mike Schultz
Levi Crum and the Hockinson Hawks are looking to secure the No. 1 seed from the 2A GSHL with a win over Ridgefield on Friday. Photo by Mike Schultz

Interestingly, the Hawks told me Friday after their win over Washougal that league titles do not mean too much to them anymore. What they want, though, is to get the best seed possible going into the state playoffs. Best guess is Tumwater will be the top seed this season, but Hockinson could get the No. 2 spot. But only if the Hawks win the next two weeks to be 9-1 going into state.

That’s the short-term mission.

As far as injury news, as of Thursday morning, the Hawks still did not know the extent of wide receiver Peyton Brammer’s knee injury. He was scheduled to have an MRI on Thursday. The Hawks still hope he can return this season. 

Next: Ridgefield at Hockinson, 7 p.m. Friday

Woodland Beavers, Woodland, Class 2A Greater St. Helens League, high school football, Jason Bowman, Michael Karchesky, Isaiah Flanagan, Hunter Smith, Garrett Lutgen

WOODLAND BEAVERS (2-6, 2-3 2A GSHL)

Week 8: Woodland 20, Columbia River 13

The whole world changed on one special night for the 2019 Woodland Beavers.

It has been a struggle for much of the season, but there were some good signs leading up to Week 8.

The Beavers not only put it together with an incredible defensive performance and an impressive drive to beat Columbia River, they put themselves in position to make the playoffs.

That’s right. If Woodland beats 2-6 Mark Morris on Friday, the Beavers will get the fourth playoff berth from the league with a 3-3 record.

Woodland held Columbia River to two touchdowns last week and with a seven-point lead killed the last five minutes with a few first downs. 

That’s a memory-making win. Of course, it will only be a great memory if the Beavers can stop Mark Morris.

Next: Woodland travels to Longview to take on Mark Morris, 7 p.m. Friday.

COLUMBIA RIVER (3-5, 3-3 2A GSHL)

Week 8: Woodland 20, Columbia River 13

The Chieftains finished the league part of their schedule last week and will have a non-league game Friday night.

While they play that game, there will be plenty of River faithful keeping an eye out for the Woodland-Mark Morris score.

River’s playoff future depends on that outcome. If Mark Morris wins, Columbia River will finish fourth in the league and make the playoffs. If Woodland wins, River ties for fourth but loses the tiebreaker and will be out of the playoffs.

Next: Columbia River travels to Clarkston for a 6 p.m. game Friday.

WASHOUGAL PANTHERS (4-4, 3-2 2A GSHL)

Week 8: Hockinson 34, Washougal 16

The Panthers did close the gap a bit on Hockinson. 

Going into the season, Washougal was everyone’s choice to give Hockinson the best game in the 2A GSHL. So far, that happened. (We don’t know yet how Ridgefield will fare.)

Still, no matter what happens in that game, Washougal will be the third seed out of the 2A GSHL. Ridgefield stunned Washougal a few weeks back, and that means Washougal will be on the road for a Week 10 playoff.

As far as the Hockinson game, an odd one. Washougal made Hockinson work for everything. The Panthers were in the game, but yet not, if that’s possible. Hockinson scored the first two touchdowns and controlled the game from the first quarter. Yet the Panthers never allowed Hockinson to pull away for good. 

The Hawks won their previous four league games by an average margin of 45.5 points. The Panthers have to feel good about hanging tough with the defending state champs.

Now, though, Washougal looks to take care of business in the league finale, then prepare or the Week 10 district playoff.

Next: R.A. Long at Washougal, 7 p.m. Friday.

LA CENTER WILDCATS (7-0, 3-0 Trico League)

Week 8: La Center 28, Columbia-White Salmon 14

Another Week 9 game with a league title on the line. 

The Wildcats are heading to Castle Rock for a championship on Friday night.

Interestingly, Castle Rock is 4-0 in league while La Center is 3-0. Remember, though, La Center played one fewer league game this year due to an odd situation with Seton Catholic.

So it will come down to number of losses. The winner Friday night will remain undefeated in league play. The loser will have one loss. 

If it is Castle Rock with the loss, the Rockets will be 4-1 in league play and La Center will be 4-0. Never seen that before, and my guess is it won’t happen in the future.

In Week 8, the Wildcats never trailed against Columbia-White Salmon, but it got close. Up 20-0 in the second half, White Salmon got the next two touchdowns to put some drama into the game.

The Wildcats understand they won’t be able to shut it down early against Castle Rock.

Next: La Center at Castle Rock, 7 p.m. Friday

KING’S WAY CHRISTIAN (4-4, 2-2 Trico League)

SETON CATHOLIC COUGARS (4-3, 0-3 Trico  League)

Week 8: 

King’s Way Christian 49, Stevenson 0

Castle Rock 46, Seton Catholic 23

The battle of the small schools, the private schools, the battle for the neighborhood.

The winner will have a winning regular season.

Oh, and there is a lot of pride on the line.

What is not on the line is a playoff berth.

King’s Way Christian wants to win, of course, to avenge the loss to the Cougars last year, but the Knights are already in the playoffs.

They are assured of the No. 3 seed in the Trico after last week’s win over Stevenson. Even if they lose to Seton, they would tie for third with Columbia-White Salmon or Stevenson they won the tiebreaker with them.

Next: Seton Catholic will travel the 1.9 mile-route to King’s Way Christian for a 6 p.m. Friday game.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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