Woodland faces ultimate test in 2A GSHL opener

Beavers to play host to Hockinson in Week 3

Woodland Beavers (1-1)

Week 1: Kalama 26, Woodland 14
Week 2: Woodland 35, La Center 28
Next: Hockinson at Woodland, 7 p.m. Friday

Finally got to watch this one, days after the game. It was worth the wait. Incredible performances from both teams, but Wyatt Harsh and the Beavers had the better finish to finish off the Wildcats.

Wyatt Wow!

Jacob Flanagan had four sacks for the Beavers in last week’s win over La Center. Photo by Mike Schultz
Jacob Flanagan had four sacks for the Beavers in last week’s win over La Center. Photo by Mike Schultz

Wyatt Harsh had himself a great game, and not just because the numbers say so. Watching this game, you could almost see the game “slow down” for him. As if it were in slow motion. He was just making all the right decisions.

If his first read wasn’t open, he found his next option. Sometimes he would run. It just seemed like every decision was the right one.

Even on his interception, it was a perfect throw that went off his teammate’s hands and right to a La Center defender.

And later, the play of the game perhaps, Harsh has a magic moment. Harsh felt the pressure in the pocket, stepped up, moved around, moved forward, looked like he was about to take off, in fact. But he stopped, backed up a bit, and found a receiver wide open, getting the Beavers inside the 5-yard line. That set up the winning touchdown.

(By the way, I am limited to my viewing of each game depending on what the teams give me. In this one, the end zone, HD camera was not available to me in the second half. So I could not see numbers, which is why I don’t have the name of the receiver.)

I did re-watch the play, though, because the first time I saw it, I figured Harsh had to have stepped over the line of scrimmage. A quarterback cannot do that, then return, and throw a forward pass. But on second viewing, he got right to the line of scrimmage, never crossed it.

Defense counts:
There were plenty of points, but there also were big plays on defense.

Elijua Schutlz had a sack in the first quarter to stop a La Center drive. The Wildcats ended up punting. Sure, it was in the first quarter, a long time from the late-game heroics. However, any time the defense stopped the offense in this one, it was a big play.

Harsh, meanwhile, also plays defense. He ended up stripping a ball carrier and recovering a fumble. It was a 7-7 game at the time, and the turnover led to a 14-7 Woodland lead.

I believe it was Brock Murray who sprinted across the field to make an open-field tackle on La Center’s Evan Honore. (Loved how the two got up and patted each other on the helmet, a true sign of respect. Honore had a great run. Murray had a great tackle. Game recognizes game.)

In a 28-28 game, the Woodland defense had back-to-back sacks to get the ball back to the offense. (Couldn’t see who. The Beavers know who.)

Coaching staff’s pick for MVP of the offense:
Alex Bishop with eight catches for 88 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a critical fumble recovery on offense on the game-winning drive. There was a mad scramble. More Wildcats than Beavers in the pile. Bishop came up with it.

Coaching staff’s pick for MVP of the defense:
Jacob Flanagan with four sacks. (Hey, you know those sacks I couldn’t see the number? Probably this guy!)

Thoughts on Week 3 vs. Hockinson:
This is billed as the game of the year for us,” Woodland coach Mike Woodward said. “They want revenge and they appear to be loaded. … Racanelli bro’s are very special. Lots of balls in the air … fun for the fans but a late night getting home!”

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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