Panthers credit preparation for their 2A GSHL win at Woodland
WOODLAND — Technically, the Washougal Panthers won on Friday night.
To hear from the players, though, this victory was earned Monday. Then Tuesday. And Wednesday, too.
The Panthers were coming off a discouraging loss in Week 2, and they could not wait to get back to work this week to prepare for their Class 2A Greater St. Helens League opener at Woodland.
By Friday, the Panthers were more than ready, cruising to a 47-21 victory over the Beavers, led by a dominant defense and a diverse offense.
Brevan Bea had two sacks plus five other tackles-for-loss, plus he set the tone on offense with every yard during his team’s first drive of the game, capped by a short touchdown run.
Then it was quarterback Dalton Payne’s turn to shine. He threw for 386 yards and four touchdowns, plus he rushed for a score.
“Practice,” Payne said. “Our whole mentality changed during practice. We figured out if we want to compete, we have to get going.”
Washougal (2-1) was humbled last week, losing to Class 3A Prairie by 30 points.
“It was a disappointing day,” Bea said.
Then it was a new day, and the Panthers did not want to feel like that again.
“We’d rather have it now than further in the season,” Bea said. “It’s better to have a game to hit rock bottom now and then we can work our way up to the top.”
Woodland (0-3) just happened to be the first test in this new Washougal mindset.
Payne completed 18 of 27 passes for 386 yards, and he found nine different teammates. That was by design, too. A year ago, the Beavers focused their defense on one receiver. Payne and the Panthers were going to make them pay if they tried that this year.
“I tried to spread it around. It worked out,” Payne said. “Everyone was running hard today.
“That was one of my better games. I can’t thank my linemen enough. They really stepped it up.”
The starting quarterback didn’t really start this one. Washougal went with a Wildcat formation, giving Bea direct snaps on the first five plays. He rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown.
“That was fun to watch,” Payne said. “Then when I came in, that’s when we went to the pass.”
A perfect plan for the offense.
The defense did not need much of a strategy. Just stop the ball. And that’s what the Panthers did.
Woodland went three-and-out on five first-half possessions and turned the ball over on a sixth drive.
“We came in Monday and we watch film. We look at the little things other teams do, and it helps us understand what plays they want to run,” Bea said.
Individually, Bea was a beast. Portland radio The Fan was on hand, and their broadcasters kept saying “Guess who?” whenever a Washougal defender made a play behind the line of scrimmage. Most of the time, the answer was Bea.
“Honestly, it just kind of comes natural,” Bea said. “Watching film helps. But (my coach says) ‘Find a hole and make the right read and go 100 percent.’ Since my freshman year, that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Woodland, meanwhile, showed improvement over the first two weeks of the season. The Beavers got three touchdowns in this one. Their first score came after a Washougal turnover, and then quarterback Isaiah Flanagan found Mark Morales for a 19-yard touchdown to pull within two points at 8-6 in the first quarter.
The Panthers responded right away, though, with a seven-play, 51-yard drive. Bea caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Payne on fourth down.
Woodland would never get it back to a one-possession game the rest of the night.
Gavin Multer scored on a 45-yard shovel pass from Payne to make it 22-6, and Bea’s 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter pushed the advantage to 28-6.
Woodland got a rare touchdown out its punt coverage team. Cisco Yager scooped up a fumble on the punt return and sprinted to the end zone to make it 28-12 late in the second quarter.
It was not too late for Washougal, though.
It took the Panthers five quick plays to get back in the end zone. Payne scored on a 3-yard run to make it 34-12 at the half.
At that time, Washougal had 325 yards of offense. Woodland had 36.
The Panthers pretty much secured the victory on the opening drive of the second half, with Payne finding Gus Shelley on an 11-yard touchdown pass.
Woodland got a safety, but the Panthers busted out a 62-yard pass play from Payne to Judson Mansfield to make it 47-14.
Woodland finished the scoring with a touchdown pass from Flanagan to Yager on the first play of the fourth quarter.
By then, Washougal knew its work from earlier in the week had paid off in a league victory.
“We slowed it down a little bit, got back together, and regrouped,” Payne said of the week.
Washougal coach Dave Hajek liked what he saw, too.
“It’s an improvement. We went back to focusing on the fundamentals,” he said.
And the Panthers went back to winning.
WASHOUGAL 47, WOODLAND 21
Washougal 22 12 13 0—47
Woodland 6 6 2 7—21
Wash — Brevan Bea 1 run (Dalton Payne run)
Wood — Mark Morales 19 pass from Isaiah Flanagan (kick failed)
Wash — Bea 24 pass from Payne (Payne run)
Wash — Gavin Multer 45 pass from Payne (pass failed)
Wash — Bea 1 run (pass failed)
Wood — Cisco Yager 30 fumble return (pass failed)
Wash — Payne 2 run (pass failed)
Wash — Gus Shelley 11 pass from Payne (kick failed)
Wood — Safety, QB down in end zone after snap goes awry
Wash — Judson Mansfield 62 pass from Payne (Peter Boylan kick)
Wood — Yager 14 pass from Flanagan (Emmanuel Cruz kick)
RUSHING: Washougal — Bea 8-62, Boylan 6-42, Aiden Kestner 1-8, Multer 5-12, Julien Jones 1-0, Tanner Coons 1-5, Tristan Farrell 1-2, Payne 4- (minus 22), Team 1- (minus 6). Woodland —JJ Fuerst 11-33, Brooks Massey 7-24, Yager 2-3, Daymon Gressett 1-3, Flanagan 14-(minus 22).
PASSING: Washougal — Payne 19-27-0-386, Farrell 1-2-0-14, Bea 0-1-0-0. Woodland — Flanagan 12-24-0-100.
RECEIVING: Washougal — Shelley 4-43, Jakob Davis 2-25, Mansfield 3-102, Bea 1-24, Multer 1-45, Jones 3-48, Kestner 2-46, Boylan 2-26, Erik Christman 2-41. Woodland — Morales 2-24, Yager 3-38, Fuerst 4-24, Isaac Hall 2-5, Massey 1-9.
Camas 45, West Valley (Yakima) 14
Eastlake 31, Union 8
Mount Si 31, Skyview 26
Mountain View 24, Battle Ground 13
Kelso 41, Heritage 7
Lakewood 41, Evergreen 17
Prairie 56, Black Hills 14
W.F. West 51, Hudson’s Bay 7
Seton Catholic 20, Fort Vancouver 12
Columbia River 35, Ridgefield 18
Hockinson 62, R.A. Long 14
Washougal 47, Woodland 21
La Center 48, Hoquiam 14