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Late kick return propels Woodland past Washougal in 2A GSHL opener

Not the intended target, Flanagan's 86-yard return-six lifted Beavers late

By Andy Buhler, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: September 14, 2018, 11:38pm
4 Photos
Woodland's Tyler Flanagan (21) returns the kick for an 86-yard touchdown during the 2A Greater St. Helens League opener at Washougal High School on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. Woodland won 29-26.
Woodland's Tyler Flanagan (21) returns the kick for an 86-yard touchdown during the 2A Greater St. Helens League opener at Washougal High School on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. Woodland won 29-26. (Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian) Photo Gallery
17 Photos
Woodland's Tyler Flanagan (21) returns the kick for an 86-yard touchdown during the 2A Greater St. Helens League opener at Washougal High School on Friday, Sept. 14, 2018. Woodland won 29-26.
Woodland vs. Washougal Photo Gallery

“Then I did.”

Flanagan, Woodland’s dual-threat quarterback, punter, return man and capable handyman for anything the Beavers need, returned the kick 86 yards for touchdown, to all but seal Woodland’s eventual 29-26 win over the Panthers on Friday night at Washougal’s Fishback Stadium.

“Saw a couple holes, got a lot of good blocks, a lot of guys hustled and the rest is gone,” Flanagan said.

It was the deciding cap to a back-and-forth game, led by dual-threat quarterbacks, marred by penalties and charged with offense.

“If we get him the ball, he’s going to make a play,” Yager said. “When I saw Tyler get the ball, I thought, ‘well, something’s happening.’ ”

And when Flanagan had the ball, something always seemed to happen. The senior finished with 211 yards passing, 119 yards rushing and three total touchdowns to help the Beavers (3-0) win its 2A Greater St. Helens League opener.

But the Panthers (1-2), led by quarterback Dalton Payne and their own jack-of-all-trades Brevan Bea, pieced together play after play to stay within reach and to pull within two late.

Washougal came out of half time charging.

Running back Peter Boylan gained 127 of his 133 total rushing yards and Dalton Payne threw for 178 of his 274 yards in the second half — and cut loose for so many scrambles, that Woodland coach Mike Woodward offered to bring his chickens to practice next week to practice chase-down tackling.

Junior receiver Jakob Davis caught 10 passes for 123 yards and two touchdowns, most notably the seven-yard fade in the back right corner of the end zone that brought the Panthers within two points with 3:22 to play.

“I just like that we didn’t give up,” Payne said. “I don’t want to be known as quitters. We scored at the end. We knew it was a close game.”

By failing to convert the tying two-point conversion with just over three minutes to play, Washougal started its final drive with 1:26 down two scores. That didn’t stop Payne from piecing together a seven play, 75-yard drive that finished with an interception, then a fumble recovery in the end zone by Julien Jones as time expired to narrow the final score.

For Woodland, a team that finished in the top-three in league last season, and hopes to be punching up in the sam echelon, starting off 2A GSHL play with a win was encouraging.

“It’s a huge step,” Flanagan said. “We had to fight through adversity and it came down to the wire. Just execute, and know what we’re made of. It was a good gut check.”

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Columbian Staff Writer