Monday was memorable for anyone at the Fort Vancouver vs. Evergreen junior varsity football game.
Evergreen has a player named Logan Stromberg, a senior. He is deaf and always wanted to play football.
Evergreen JV coach John Reed Jr. reached out to Fort JV coach Anthony Jacobs. He hoped to have a special play for Stromberg to score from the 20 yard line.
Jacobs, of course, agreed. He also informed Reed of a Fort JV player with autism named Emmanuel Walker.
According to Jacobs, Walker moved to Vancouver two years ago from Alaska. He told his mother that he wanted to join the football team so that he could make friends.
Special plays were designed for Strindberg and Walker. Monday, each scored a touchdown.
“Fans from both teams came over to us and said that was so awesome for both teams,” Jacobs said. “I believe that you are suppose to have fun playing high school sports.”
Next Wildcat up
If there’s any team in the region capable of covering for the loss of a 1,000-yard running back, it may be La Center.
The Wildcats lost junior Wyatt Dodson–the region’s leading rusher with 1,016 yards–to a sprained ankle late in the first quarter of their 42-0 win Friday over Columbia (White Salmon), but led by another junior, they overcame Dodson’s injury to amass 241 yards on the ground.
Collin Namanny ran for a game-high 90 yards and a career-best three touchdowns to lead the ground attack for La Center, which wrapped up at least a share of the Trico League title for a second straight year with the victory.
Namanny earlier this year had a 132-yard game while Dodson was out with a broken hand, but he’d taken a back seat lately as Dodson ran for 650 yards over the previous three weeks.
“Collin is one of those guys who at the start of the year, we didn’t know where to put him,” said LC coach John Lambert. “But in the third game of the season, we moved him to running back after we saw in practice the toughness and explosiveness that he runs with, and he showed that off tonight.”
Lambert said he wouldn’t know the extent of Dodson’s injury until early next week and didn’t rule out Dodson missing next week’s showdown at Castle Rock that will decide the league’s top playoff seed.
With or without Dodson, Lambert knows the task ahead of his team won’t be easy. Two years ago, the Wildcats needed a pair of late touchdowns to escape Castle Rock with a 20-14 victory.
“That’s always a difficult place to play,” Lambert said. “They always have tough kids who play physical football. They know this is their opportunity, so I have no doubt they’ll be ready to go.”
Coons carrying load for Washougal
Washougal booked its trip to the postseason by edging R.A. Long 17-15 on Friday night on the road.
The Panthers (6-2, 4-2 2A Greater St. Helens League) will be the second, third or fourth seed in the district playoffs. So with one game remaining in the regular season, the Panthers can take a momentary breath of relief.
That didn’t stop coach Dave Hajek from detailing what Washougal needs to improve on if it wants to advance come playoffs.
“We have to continue to develop our pass game if we want to get better,” he said. “Kade (Coons) is our guy. We have some receivers who don’t have a lot of experience. Kade’s got to be the main guy.”
Coons continues to bear the load for the Panthers offensively, especially in the absence of multiple players to season-ending injury — most recently tight end Jakob Davis last week.
The running back accounted for just shy off half the Panther’s offense on Friday. Quarterback Ryan Stevens connected with four targets through the air for 109 yards.
Long losing streak over
The Heritage football team won its first 4A Greater St. Helens League game since 2012, beating Battle Ground 28-21 at McKenzie Stadium.
Twenty-three league games had passed since Heritage last won, a 12-7 victory over Battle Ground on Oct. 12, 2012.
There were close losses, like defeats of 6-3, 35-29 and 27-21 in 2015.
But mostly there were blowouts. In those 23 straight losses, Heritage was outscored by an average of 41-11.
That helps explain why Friday’s win brought so much joy Heritage, especially senior quarterback Michael Taras.
“This lets the guys know that we can play in this league,” he said. “We don’t have to come into games and be scared. … We can be the dogs. We can get these league wins and hopefully build something from here.”