Mike Woodward has coached high school football for more than 20 years, and already after one season at Woodland, he knows this:
• Wyatt Harsh will be more of a dual-threat quarterback this season.
• Tyler Flanagan might be the best all-around athlete he has coached when he calls it a career.
• Last season’s loss to Washougal will haunt him the rest of his career.
Let’s start with the game that gave him some sleepless nights. A play here. A bounce there. Lessons learned. One game can doom a team to miss the playoffs for a second straight season.
“Every game matters,” Woodward said. “One game can make or break a season.”
A season Woodland now hopes goes beyond nine games, something the Beavers haven’t experienced since 2014.
Harsh is the area’s only four-year starting quarterback and is the school’s career leader for passing yards (5,178) and touchdowns (55). He has been known as a pocket passer his first three years. Woodward admitted he didn’t fully grasp Harsh’s running capabilities last season, but now is transitioning to the run-pass option.
And Harsh can’t wait.
“It opens up a lot of things,” he said.
Added Tyler Flanagan: “It gives you room to work …”
For Flanagan, early injuries to teammates last year meant he shined at both running back (567 yards) and receiver (698). But no matter where he plays, he’s equally effective, Woodward said. One of his best plays last season was a 72-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Ridgefield, zig-zagging his way for the score.
“He’s a freak athlete,” Harsh said. “When he gets to the open field, I’d take him one-on-one with anybody. Maybe one-on-two.”
“He’s one of those special players you only see once every 15 to 20 years,” Woodward said.
As a freshman in 2014, Harsh threw for nearly 2,000 yards to lead Woodland to the state preliminary round, losing to W.F. West.
Nothing would be better for Harsh and the Beavers than not only reach the playoffs, but to win a postseason game.
“We want to get over that hump,” he said.
2016: 5-4, 4-2. Tied for second in 2A GSHL
Best State Finish: Second place in 1982
Returning All-League selections in bold
QB Wyatt Harsh 6-0 190 Sr.
RB Kenyon Guy 5-9 160 Jr.
WR Tyler Flanagan 5-11 180 Jr.
WR Tristan Harris 5-9 170 Jr.
WR Alex Bishop 6-3 160 Jr.
WR Christian Yager 5-10 160 Jr.
OL Alex Wakefield 6-2 250 Jr.
OL Jake Ripp 5-10 190 Jr.
OL Jacob Flanagan 6-2 180 Sr.
OL Jason Bowman 6-2 210 Fr.
* * *
DL Logan Knight 5-9 210 Sr.
DL Jacob Flanagan 6-2 180 Sr.
DL Jack Ripp 5-10 190 Jr.
DL Alex Wakefield 6-2 250 Jr.
LB Brock Murray 5-6 140 Sr.
LB Elijua Schultz 5-7 190 Jr.
LB Jack Wear 5-11 180 Jr.
DB Anthony Clifford 5-6 160 Jr.
DB Tristan Harris 5-9 170 Jr.
DB Tyler Flanagan 5-11 180 Jr.
DB Wyatt Harsh 6-0 190 Sr.
Coach: Mike Woodward (second year)
Home games at Beaver Stadium
League games in bold
Sept. 1 at Kalama 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 La Center 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 Hockinson 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 at Hudson’s Bay 5 p.m.
Sept. 29 at R.A. Long 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 Columbia River 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 Washougal 7 p.m.
Oct. 20 at Ridgefield 7 p.m.
Oct. 27 at Mark Morris 7 p.m.