Special teams help Washougal shake free from Fort

Panthers score 31 fourth-quarter points, improve to 3-0

By Paul Danzer, Columbian Soccer, hockey and Community Sports Reporter



For the Washougal Panthers, there wasn’t much special about the first three quarters Friday at Kiggins Bowl.

Well, except for the footwork of Sam O’Hara, which had the Panthers three points in front of Fort Vancouver with one quarter remaining.

But the fourth quarter — that was some special stuff.

Sparked by big special teams play, the Panthers scored 31 fourth-quarter points and ran away from the determined Trappers for a 48-21 non-league win.

The final score did not reflect the competitiveness of a contest that was up for grabs with eight minutes remaining — but not in doubt with seven minutes left.

The Panthers (3-0) scored touchdowns nine seconds apart to take the drama out of the game.

The impact from special teams started late in the third quarter when O’Hara made a 37-yard field goal to put Washougal up 17-14.

Among the special teams highlights in the fourth quarter for Washougal were a blocked punt in the end zone two plays into the quarter for a safety, a 42-yard kick return by Karsten Short, and a free ball recovery on a Washougal kickoff.

Fort Vancouver (0-3) had a special teams highlight of its own when Jordan Vela returned a kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown that pulled the Trappers within 26-21 with 8:28 remaining.

A facemask penalty against Washougal on that kick return — the Panthers were penalized 11 times for 115 yards in the game — gave Fort a chance to kick off from Washougal territory. But that kickoff went out of bounds, and moments later, O’Hara sprinted right on a sweep play for a 55-yard touchdown.

If that didn’t knock the spirit out of Fort Vancouver, the next sequence did. Washougal covered its next kickoff at the Fort 27, and on the next play quarterback Colton Sullivan connected with Short in the corner of the end zone.

O’Hara finished with 165 yards on 16 carries, a workload that included a 25-yard touchdown run in the first quarter.

Fort Vancouver quarterback Jacob Austin ran for two first-quarter touchdowns, and the Trappers outgained the Panthers 191-153 in a first half that ended in a 14-14 tie. But the Panthers outgained the Trappers 261-8 in the second half.

Next up: Clatskanie, Ore., at Washougal (3-0); Fort Vancouver (0-3) at Prairie (1-2).

Washougal 7 7 3 31—48

Fort Vancouver 14 0 0 7—21

First quarter

FV — Jacob Austin 14 run (Logan Owings kick)

W — Sam O’Hara 25 run (O’Hara kick)

FV —Austin 5 run (Owings kick)

Second quarter

W — Caleb Howard 4 run (O’Hara kick)

Third quarter

W — O’Hara 37 FG

Fourth quarter

W — Safety, punt blocked in end zone.

W — Stephen Camden 7 run (O’Hara kick)

FV — Jordan Vela 92 kickoff return (Owings kick)

W — O’Hara 55 run (O’Hara kick)

W — Karsten Short 27 pass from Colton Sullivan (O’Hara kick)

W — Sullivan 17 run (Caleb Howard run)

Individual statistics

Rushing — Washougal — O’Hara 16-165, Austin Tofell 14-62, Caleb Howard 10-66, Sullivan 11-(minus 3), Camden 5-54, Bobby Jacobs 2-15; Fort Vancouver — Jordan Vela 6-26, Austin 12-16, Abdul Conteh 7-16.

Passing — Washougal — Sullivan 4-5-0-55; Fort Vancouver — Austin 7-19-1-141.

Receiving — Washougal — Short 1-27, Howard 1-17, Tofell 1-10, O’Hara 1-1; Fort Vancouver — Taylor VanHeck 2-76, Mario Avalos-Eyler 3-41, Vela 1-27, Gaquan White 1-(minus 3).