Washougal looks to bounce back at R.A. Long

Panthers hope to rebound from loss to Woodland

Washougal Panthers (5-2, 3-2 2A GSHL)

Week 1: Washougal 54, West Seattle 0
Week 2: Washougal 41, Castle Rock 14
Week 3: Washougal 17, Columbia River 0
Week 4: Washougal 20, Mark Morris 14
Week 5: Washougal 34, Ridgefield 14
Week 6: Hockinson 41, Washougal 7
Week 7: Woodland 20, Washougal 7
Week 8: at R.A. Long, 7 p.m. Friday

The Panthers suffered another bad injury and their second consecutive loss.

Prayers up:

The football community offers its prayers for fast healing to Jakob Davis, who suffered a serious elbow injury in the first quarter of Friday’s game. Told it was a dislocated elbow. Medical personnel advised not to move Davis until the ambulance arrived. The game was delayed more than 45 minutes.
All teams have to deal with injuries, but Washougal seems snake-bit this season. This is the third season-ending injury the team has suffered.

Washougal’s Kade Coons (5) was involved in a controversial play in the Panthers’ loss at Woodland last week. The play could have been ruled a touchdown but was determined to be a fumble. Photo by Mike Schultz
Washougal’s Kade Coons (5) was involved in a controversial play in the Panthers’ loss at Woodland last week. The play could have been ruled a touchdown but was determined to be a fumble. Photo by Mike Schultz

Fumble or no fumble:

Washougal was looking to get to within one score in the fourth quarter when running back Kade Coons, who was amazing all night, fumbled the ball going into the end zone. The ball rolled out of bounds out of the end zone, giving Woodland the ball on the 20-yard line after the touchback.

Those are the facts.

Of course, the Panthers believe Coons scored the touchdown before the ball came loose. And that is an opinion shared by many on social media.

There are videos and photos. The photo I saw makes it look like it was a touchdown. The video I saw makes it look like it was a fumble.

Did Coons have control as he stretched the ball out?
Or was the ball wobbling a bit just before he stretched?

Again, looking at the photo I saw, it looks like control.

But the ball sure looks to wobble a bit in the video. Then again, maybe the ball is just being turned by Coons as he is stretching for the end zone.

We have the benefit of slow motion video to review. And I doubt anyone, from the video I saw, could claim definitively one way or the other. I believe it was a wobble before the stretch, so the runner did not have full control. But I do not know for certain.

Now consider the high school official. He is running down the field, too, trying to be in position to make the call. And that is where fans should also look at when reviewing such a play. The video I saw has a similar angle as one of the officials had, plus the official was so much closer to the play. It is understandable why the official would rule a fumble. And in high school sports, there is no opportunity for a video review.

It was a 50/50 call. The official made the call. One team was not going to be happy with the call.

But here is one more thing I definitely saw after the game: Kade Coons coming over to some Woodland players and congratulating them on their win.

It was a frustrating day for the Panthers: the injury, that call, some penalties, and their second loss in a row.

I appreciated seeing Coons take the high road after the game.

With that said:

A few years ago, I was watching a scrimmage at a practice when a ball carrier tried to stretch the ball into the end zone.

The defensive players were screaming for a fumble. The players on offense wanted a touchdown.

The coach said fumble.

But then he explained that he really did not know if the player broke the plane of the goal line or not. But by stretching the ball, by losing control of the ball, the ball carrier gave control to the officials to make a ruling. On that day at practice, the coach ruled fumble in an effort to teach the offense not to try such a move.

The coach reminded players that just because they see it on TV does not make it right to try here. If you see it on TV — college or pro — officials do have a chance to review any decision. But not in high school.

So, the coach said, unless it’s fourth-and-goal, unless it’s the last play of the game and the only hope is to “stretch the ball,” don’t do it.

Of course, that is a simple thing to say. Coaches realize, however, that when a player gets that close to the end zone, it is hard to resist the stretch.

Playoff picture:

Oh wow. The 2A GSHL is having one interesting year.

Hockinson ran away with the league title and is No. 2 in the Associated Press’ Class 2A state rankings. After the Hawks, it is anyone’s guess. The Hawks have the top seed. Then the next three teams will also make the playoffs.

Going into Week 8, four teams — Washougal, Columbia River, Woodland, and R.A. Long — have two league losses. Every game matters.

Coach Speak:

Dave Hajek talks about losing another player to injury: “It has been tough,” Hajek said, noting that Davis is a two-way starter and “was playing great and was improving a lot.”
“As you know, the depth on teams at the 2A level is not really there so when you lose someone who is a major part of your offense and defense it’s hard to replace them.”

The coach added that the Panthers do have some younger athletes who have been stepping up, in place of Davis and the other injured teammates from earlier in the season.

“They will have an opportunity to grow and hopefully make us even better next year.”

MVP on offense: Dakota Andelman, a young offensive lineman who played well and is really starting to come along, Hajek said.

MVP on defense: Gus Shelly. A sophomore who filled in for Davis.

Thoughts on Week 8 vs. R.A. Long: “A solid team who can play tough defense and score points on offense,’’ Hajek said. “This will be a tough game and a must-win for both teams.”

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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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