Beavers hold off Panthers in Class 2A Greater St. Helens League football opener
WASHOUGAL — They kicked it to him. They really kicked it to Tyler Flanagan.
And Tyler Flanagan made them pay.
Flanagan returned the kickoff 84 yards for a touchdown, giving Woodland the advantage it would need to hold off a Washougal rally Friday night as the Beavers got out of town with a 29-26 victory.
“I just had the biggest smile on my face,” Flanagan said as he saw the ball soar toward him for the first time all night on special teams. “I thought they were going to onside kick. I was just back there chillin’.”
Seconds later, he was chilling in the end zone, giving the Beavers a nine-point lead with 3:09 left in the game.
Up until then, the Beavers had been shutout in the second half. It was Washougal with all the momentum, picking up most of the yards and coming back from a 15-point deficit to cut it to two points.
Jakob Davis caught a 14-yard touchdown pass from Dalton Payne to make it 22-20 with 3:22 to play. The 2-point conversion to tie failed, but there was still time.
The Panthers could have tried the onside. Or a squib kick. Instead, they kicked deep.
Washougal coach Dave Hajek said there was a miscommunication on the play.
“My first thought was ‘Oh crap.’ Every other play we kicked it away from him tonight,” he said.
Not this one.
On the other sideline, Woodland coach Mike Woodward did not even watch Flanagan’s return. Instead, he watched the blocking.
“We were hoping they were going to kick it to him. We hope everyone kicks it to him,” Woodward said. “He’s special. We love him. Hard not to love that kid. When he gets the ball, we’re just praying nobody blocks anyone in the back.”
Flanagan and Anthony Clifford were deep for the Beavers on the defining play of this game. Flanagan called for the ball.
“I heard him say, ‘Take it to the house.’ I did my best,” Flanagan said.
“I just wanted to make something happen, get to the 50 at least for some good field position,” Flanagan added. “I got some good blocking, I made a cut, and busted it to the house.”
Washougal did nothing on its next possession, used its timeout to get the ball back and did score on the final, weird play of the game for the three-point margin. Woodland intercepted the pass, but fumbled into the endzone on the return, where Washougal’s Julien Jones recovered for the score.
The Beavers did not mind. They improved to 3-0 overall and opened the Class 2A Greater St. Helens League schedule with a win.
“Right now, taking all these wins, we’re getting momentum,” said Kenyon Guy, who ended one Washougal drive in the second half with an interception. “We’re going to keep looking forward and work it out in practice.”
Woodland’s John Arocan made back-to-back hustle plays from his defensive line position to stop another drive in the second half.
“I was a little concerned, yes. They have a really good offense,” Arocan said. “I had more confidence in my guys, though. I know they know how to do their jobs.”
Flanagan was doing Flanagan things throughout the first half, too, but on offense instead of special teams. The quarterback rushed for two touchdowns and threw for another. He finished the night with 223 yards through the air and another 113 on the ground.
His 27-yard touchdown pass to Guy gave Woodland a 22-7 lead with 1:29 left in the first half.
Washougal executed the perfect 2-minute offense and scored on a 6-yard pass from Payne to Davis to make it 22-14 at the half. Payne ended up with 272 yards passing, with Davis catching 10 passes for 123 yards.
The Beavers offense found the end zone twice in the third quarter but both scores were called back due to penalty.
The Panthers won the yardage battle in the second half but did not get in the end zone enough.
Still, they had moments, opportunities.
Washougal went 73 yards on 13 play to pull within two points in the closing minutes.
Then that kickoff went to Flanagan.
“They’re pretty good,” Hajek said, pointing to the Beavers. “But Flanagan is amazing. He’s just an amazing athlete.”
Flanagan showed off those skills one last time to secure a 3-0 start for the Beavers.
“I’m happy for the kids,” Woodward said. “We’re on a little bit of a roll, and we beat a good team tonight.”
— Paul Valencia (@ValenciaCCT) September 15, 2018
WOODLAND 29, WASHOUGAL 26
Woodland 8 14 0 7 — 29
Washougal 7 7 0 12 — 26
Wood — Tyler Flanagan 1 run (Alex Bishop pass from Flanagan)
Wash — Dalton Payne 1 run (Peter Boylan kick)
Wood — Flanagan 5 run (kick blocked)
Wood — Kenyon Guy 27 pass from Flanagan (Flanagan run)
Wash — Jakob Davis 6 pass from Payne (Boylan kick)
Wash — Davis 14 pass from Payne (run failed)
Wood — Flanagan 84 kickoff return (Emmanuel Cruz kick)
Wash — Julien Jones recovers fumble in end zone (No try)
RUSHING: Woodland — Flanagan 22-113, Guy 4-22, Jack Wear 1-4, Reid Hope 9-31, Wyatt Wooden 1-(minus 7). Washougal — Brevan Bea 10-21, Payne 11-34, Boylan 12-134.
PASSING: Woodland — Flanagan 13-26-2-223. Washougal — Payne 22-38-3-272.
RECEIVING: Woodland — Christian Yager 3-76, Wooden 3-55, Hope 3-44, Bishop 2-19, Guy 2-29. Washougal — Jones 7-81, Davis 10-123, Aiden Kestner 2-14, Boylan 3-54.