Woodland hits the road for playoffs

Beavers to meet W.F. West Friday

Woodland Beavers (5-4, 4-2 2A GSHL)

Week 1: Kalama 26, Woodland 14

Week 2: Woodland 35, La Center 28
Week 3: Hockinson 49, Woodland 27
Week 4: Hudson’s Bay 16, Woodland 15
Week 5: Woodland 27, R.A. Long 20
Week 6: Columbia River 19, Woodland 13, OT
Week 7: Woodland 20, Washougal 7
Week 8: Woodland 40, Ridgefield 16
Week 9: Woodland 51, Mark Morris 7
Next: Woodland at W.F. West, 7 p.m. Friday in district playoff, winner-to-state game.

The Woodland Beavers are heading back to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. That might not seem too long, but it felt like eternity for quarterback Wyatt Harsh, who helped the Beavers make it to the playoffs when he was the starting quarterback as a freshman. Now a senior, he and his teammates are back to November football.

Another return:

Quarterback Wyatt Harsh (2) and the Woodland Beavers return to the playoffs for the first time since 2014, Harsh’s freshman season. Photo by Mike Schultz
Quarterback Wyatt Harsh (2) and the Woodland Beavers return to the playoffs for the first time since 2014, Harsh’s freshman season. Photo by Mike Schultz

Woodland coach Mike Woodward is returning to the playoffs in Washington for the first time since 2003.

(Notice I wrote Washington.)

Woodward led Mountain View to the Class 4A state semifinals in 2001 and 2002, and he and the Thunder returned to the state playoffs in 2003.

Woodward left Mountain View and took the top job at Hudson’s Bay for three years. No playoff appearances there. But then he needed some sun and left Washington to coach in San Diego. He had plenty of success in SoCal. But the rain called him back to the Northwest. He took over at Woodland last season.

Now he and the Beavers are back where they feel they belong, in the playoffs.

“It’s been a fun, fun week of practice. The kids are super excited,” Woodward said.

In fact, he showed the Beavers some old videos of Mountain View from 2001.

“No one really knew about us when we made that big run,” Woodward told his players, reminding them that Woodland could stun the football world, too.

Plus, the quarterback for that Mountain View team was Ben Huebschman, now an assistant coach with Woodland.

Woodward said it was cool for the Beavers to see one of their coaches excel on the football field.

MVP on offense in Week 9:

Christian Yager set a school record with four touchdown receptions, all in the first half, and finished with more than 150 yards receiving.

MVP on defense in Week 9:

Jack Ripp has been “on a tear” on defense all year, Woodward said.

Tiebreaker and next:

The Beavers finished in a tie for second in the Class 2A Greater St. Helens League, then had to break that tie Monday with Columbia River and Washougal. One was going to be the No. 2 seed, one had to be No. 3, and one had to go to the playoffs as the fourth seed.

“We just wanted to stay away from the 4-seed,” Woodward said.

The Beavers did that, finishing second in the tiebreaker to take No. 3. They have a date to play W.F. West in Chehalis on Friday.

“Super excited. We feel really good about our chances,” Woodward said. “We like how we match up.”

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