Union, Skyview (4A) and La Center (1A) see their seasons come to an end with losses
The Hockinson Hawks survived, the Washougal Panthers got a stunning win on the road, and the La Center Wildcats were upset at home Saturday in the WIAA state football playoffs.
Meanwhile, the defending Class 4A state champions, the Union Titans, fell by a touchdown on the road.
Here is a closer look at the results from Saturday’s games.
Hockinson 21, Ellensburg 15
The Hockinson Hawks won their ninth consecutive state playoff game and are heading to the Class 2A quarterfinals after rallying to beat Ellensburg on Saturday at Battle Ground High School.
Ellensburg led 15-7 at the half, but the Hawks defense came through in the second half, allowing the offense to get going enough for the victory.
Hockinson coach Rick Steele said everyone was calm and focused in the locker room at halftime. No need for screaming. The Hawks knew it was go-time from there.
“I told them the team with the most heart … is going to win this football game in the second half,” Steele said. “Do you guys have the heart to win this football game? They said, ‘Yes we do.'”
The Hawks went to their “heavy package,” the coach said, the same system the Hawks used to win in the state championship game in 2018.
“We’re going to run it down their throat, and that’s what we did,” Steele said.
Quarterback Levi Crum threw for two touchdowns, but he did more damage on the run. He carried the ball 28 times for 147 yards and the go-ahead touchdown.
Steele credited the linemen for paving the way: Takumi Veley, Jake Rogers, Ki Haden, Robert Flores, and Troy Visnius.
“Those five kids said, ‘We’re going to win this football game.’ Levi ran right behind them,” Steele said.
Up by six, the Hawks killed the last five minutes of the clock behind those guys. Crum got every carry of the drive, including a fourth-down conversion. Crum just kept running, picking up yards, picking up first downs, finishing the game.
Crum threw touchdown passes to Jeremiah Faulstick and Liam Mallory. Crum ended up running it for the go-ahead touchdown midway through the third quarter.
It was all Hockinson defense from there and the run game from there.
Hockinson improved to 10-1 this season, giving the Hawks 37 wins in their past 38 games. The Hawks are the two-time defending state champions. They won four consecutive state playoff games in 2017, four more last year, and now this one to start the 2019 WIAA bracket.
Washougal 14, Clarkston 13
The Washougal Panthers partied like it was 1999, and now will have to figure out something that goes with 1974.
Washougal celebrated its first state playoff football game since 1999 with a touchdown in the game’s final seconds to beat Clarkston, advancing to the Class 2A state quarterfinals. It is the first state playoff win for the Panthers since 1974.
Brevan Bea scored on a 2-yard run with less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter, and it will be one of the most peculiar plays one will ever hear about.
Washougal coach David Hajek confirmed he heard a faint whistle as the ball was handed off to Bea. So did the players. On both teams. They all stopped for a second or two.
“Brevan had the ball. He was walking toward us. We said, ‘Run it in! Run it in!’ Somehow, he scored,” Hajek said.
The officials huddled. Hajek figured they were trying to figure out if it was an inadvertent whistle. Nope. The play stood.
(Upon viewing the play later on social media, it was the referee blowing his whistle to start the play clock, to allow for a snap. Washougal snapped it as soon as the whistle sounded.)
It was a third-and-goal play from the 2-yard line. Had it been ruled inadvertent, the Panthers would have had the down again and two shots to score.
Instead, the Panthers had taken the lead.
“This is probably the biggest win for Washougal since (1974),” Hajek said. “I can’t think of a bigger win. I’ve been around awhile. An incredible game to get into the quarterfinals.”
According to WIAA archives, Washougal has won just one state playoff game. That came in 1974.
Clarkston led 13-0 at the half.
Washougal suffered from turnovers and penalties, Hajek said.
“Second half, we were able to overcome our own obstacles,” he noted.
Bea caught a touchdown pass from Dalton Payne in the third quarter to get Washougal on the comeback trail.
Julien Jones converted first downs by catching passes on a third-and-long play and a fourth-and-short play on game-winning drive.
Connell 17, La Center 7
La Center’s 13th trip to the state playoffs ended with a first-round loss on their home field Saturday at La Center High School.
Connell posted a 10-0 lead at halftime. La Center trimmed that deficit to 10-7 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Tom Lambert with a little more than nine minutes left in the game. The Wildcats then got the ball back later in the fourth quarter but turned it over on downs at their own 44-yard line with just under three minutes to go in the game.
“We just didn’t move the line of scrimmage like we needed to,’’ said La Center coach John Lambert, referring to that final scoring opportunity. “Connell has a great defense.’’
Connell was able to maintain possession of the ball for all but the final 12 seconds of the game when a final touchdown provided the final margin of defeat for the Wildcats, who finished 9-1 on the season.
“Connell wore us down on that last drive,’’ Lambert said. “They have some hogs, some really big boys.’’
La Center was awarded the home game in the first round of the playoffs by virtue of its No. 4 seed. Connell, which entered the game with three losses against high quality opponents, entered the game as the 13th seed.
La Center, already without senior lineman Sam Kitchel (knee injury), lost standout running back Bryten Schmitz on the first series of the game to a lower leg injury. His absence made it tough for the Wildcats’ offense to move the ball against the stout Connell defense.
“The kids came in and fought; they never gave up,’’ Lambert said. “In a really close game like this, you’ve got to play really clean and we weren’t clean enough.’’
Lambert lamented missed scoring opportunities in the first half, particularly in the red zone (inside the 20-yard line).
“We just couldn’t convert in the red zone in the first half,’’ the coach said. “The kids battled the whole time. It wasn’t for a lack of effort. They gave everything they had on every single play. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen.’’
Lake Stevens 28, Union 21
Lake Stevens got a bit of revenge in the rematch of the 2018 Class 4A state championship game.
Oh, it is not the same as a state championship, but the Vikings are still alive in hopes of getting back to the finals.
Union trailed 14-0 and 21-7 but managed to tie the game at 21 early in the third quarter.
Alex Gehrmann found Jake Bowen for Union touchdown passes two times, including a 14-yard connection to tie the game at 21. Gehrman also ran in a score for the Titans.
Dallas Landeros scored two touchdowns for Lake Stevens, including the go-ahead score late in the third quarter.
Union finished 6-5 after going 14-0 to win its first state title a year ago. The five losses this season: Eastlake, Puyallup, Skyview, Camas, and Lake Stevens. Every one of those teams made it to the state playoffs.
Woodinville 38, Skyview 17
Jalynnee McGee rushed for two touchdowns, giving him 28 for the year, but Skyview’s season came to an end in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs.
McGee’s third-quarter touchdown tied the game at 17.
Woodinville controlled the ret of the game.
Skyview’s season ended with an 8-3 record. The three losses came against three of the eight remaining teams in Class 4A.