New season, new coach: Woodland Beavers

The Woodland Beavers are hoping to have their first winning season since 2018. Photo by Paul Valencia
The Woodland Beavers are hoping to have their first winning season since 2018. Photo by Paul Valencia

Three-time state champion Sean McDonald takes charge at Woodland

WOODLAND — The Woodland Beavers have a new football coach.

Seems a bit odd to call Sean McDonald new, though.

He is, after all, the most accomplished coach in Southwest Washington history.

Woodland brought in McDonald from just a few miles north in Kalama, where he helped the Chinooks win three Class 2B state championships. Kalama also finished second in another year.

So he’s new to Woodland.

Not new to establishing an offseason weight training program.

Not new to leading a football program.

And certainly not new to winning.

He expects to turn Woodland back into a winner as well.

His first shot at victory with the Beavers will be against familiar faces.

Sean McDonald, who won three state titles as the head coach at Kalama, is enjoying the challenge of being the head coach at Woodland High School. Photo by Paul Valencia
Sean McDonald, who won three state titles as the head coach at Kalama, is enjoying the challenge of being the head coach at Woodland High School. Photo by Paul Valencia

“The first game of the year is always going to be a big one for a new coach,” McDonald said. “Just happens we’re playing Kalama. So it’s going to be a little bit of an awkward one for me. A lot of emotion there.”

It was a difficult choice to leave a great program. McDonald, though, said he could not pass on the career opportunity at Woodland.

“It was a professional decision. They had an opening in the PE department. I get to be in the weight room a couple periods of day with athletes. Working the weight room is kind of my dream job,” McDonald said.

Plus, he has the new challenge of competing in the 2A Greater St. Helens League.

“It’s a good opportunity to get into the 2As and compete at a little bit higher level, at least a higher number of kids,” he said.

Then there is the draw of Woodland High School itself.

“Really nice facilities here. We’ve got a team room. We’ve got a nice weight room. Turf field. Beautiful stadium. And a good atmosphere. I know a lot about Woodland football,” said McDonald, who grew up in Kalama, too

Malcolm Karchesky, a senior, is playing for his third head coach in his four years of high school. He is impressed with McDonald.

Malcolm Karchesky, a senior at Woodland, had had three head coaches in his high school career. He is impressed with new coach Sean McDonald. Photo by Paul Valencia
Malcolm Karchesky, a senior at Woodland, had had three head coaches in his high school career. He is impressed with new coach Sean McDonald. Photo by Paul Valencia

“I really like him. He’s a little bit quiet, but he’s a great leader,” Karchesky said. “He does a really great job of getting the team bonded together.”

Karchesky noted the team camp in Tumwater. He said it was great to see other talented programs, with McDonald encouraging the Woodland players with his positive attitude.

“He gets us in the weight room quite a bit, too,” Karchesky said. 

The Beavers were more “into” the offseason program than in the past, the senior added.

Last week, the offseason program turned into in-season practice. That first day of official practice for the new football coach at Woodland did not feel too much different.

“It’s football. Football’s football,” McDonald said. “We did a 7 a.m. lift that first day. There weren’t many jitters. We’ve been working all summer. I think they were excited to get going.”

Woodland went 8-2 back in 2018 but won two games in 2019, two in the five-game abbreviated spring season of 2021, then went 2-7 in the fall of 2021.

McDonald, of course, is accustomed to victories. He will bring his spread offense and throw the ball a lot, he said. All with the bigger goal in mind.

“I always expect to win. I’ve told the boys that,” McDonald said. “We keep working our butts off, there is no reason we can’t be competing for a league championship at the end of the year.”


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