CHEHALIS — Washougal senior Julien Jones told teammates that he just closed his eyes and prayed as he stretched his arm out and leapt toward the Bearcat Stadium grass in the third quarter. Somehow, the pass from Dalton Payne fell into his outstretched right arm as he bounced off the ground, a third-down 24-yard reception was more miraculous than the play-by-play suggested. Not only was it the best catch senior Brevan Bea has seen in person, it led to the Panthers’ go-ahead score, a 6-yard Payne touchdown run seven plays later.
It was the spark Washougal needed to run away with a 28-7 win over W.F. West in a 2A district crossover game Friday, sealing the Panthers’ first state appearance since 1999.
“It feels amazing. We’re starting something new here and we’re going to keep doing it,” Jones said. “It doesn’t matter what other people think of us. We’re just going to keep going and everyone knows it now.”
Washougal (6-4) will find out its opponent in next week’s opening round when the WIAA seeding committees meet Sunday. The Panthers didn’t leave many questions unanswered in their final chance to make a case, toppling the same team that beat them 23-7 in Week 4.
The Panthers dominated on defense, holding W.F. West (8-2) to 193 yards, a second-quarter 30-yard touchdown from Josiah Johnson to Carter McCoy the lone mistake.
“Coach (Ken) Frisch is our defensive coordinator and he does a great job,” Washougal coach Dave Hajek said. “I’m not going to posit exactly what they did, but I know he does a lot of different coverages, a lot of different fronts that kind of confuses them.”
Washougal tallied 405 yards on offense, as Dalton Payne scored four touchdowns and the Panthers scored 28 unanswered points. Payne’s 30-yard strike to Jakob Davis evened the scoring in the second quarter. He then led 11-play, 75-yard and 10-play, 83-yard drives on the Panthers’ first two possessions of the second half, the latter ending in a 30-yard Brevan Bea catch to take a 21-7 lead.
Washougal’s 12-play, 96-yard drive ended by a 1-yard Payne touchdown run with five seconds remaining was the final stamp on a stellar night.
“It’s awesome. We came out here tonight trying to make a statement that we are good. We showed it tonight,” Bea said. “It’s an awesome feeling to be able to be part of a legacy.”
— The Panthers responded to W.F. West’s opening score in the second quarter with a six-play, 67-yard drive capped by a 30-yard touchdown throw from Payne to Davis to the game at 7-7.
— With W.F. West on a 12-play, 91-yard drive in the fourth quarter, the Panthers — up 21-7 at the time — made a goal-line stand, stuffing quarterback Josiah Johnson on back-to-back plays on the 1-yard line with 4:30 to go.
— Brevan Bea had a pair of 30-yard runs on a 12-play, 96-yard game-ending drive finished with a Payne 1-yard scoring run.
Dalton Payne — The senior signal-caller scored four times, including touchdown passes of 30 and 34 yards and rushing scores of 6 and 1 yards. After an interception on his first throw, he finished 21-26 and 214 yards passing.
Brevan Bea — The defensive standout was a key piece of the Panthers’ efforts. He also had 11 carries for 102 yards and seven catches for 72 yards and a touchdown.
Carter McCoy — The Washougal junior had seven catches for 100 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown catch. He also had a defensive interception.
“Don’t overlook us. We are good, and we know how to play football.” — Washougal senior Brevan Bea
WASHOUGAL 28, W.F. WEST 7
WFW — Carter McCoy 30 pass from Josiah Johnson (Bryce Laufenberg kick)
W — Jakob Davis 30 pass from Dalton Payne (Peter Boylan kick)
W — Payne 6 run (Boylan kick)
W — Brevan Bea 34 pass from Payne (Boylan kick)
W — Payne 1 run (Boylan kick)
Rushing —W: Peter Boylan 19-88, Dalton Payne 9-(-5), Brevan Bea 11-102, Gavin Multer 6-13, Aiden Kestner 1-1; WFW: Max Taylor 1-7, Josiah Johnson 13-37, Cade Haller 1-0, Leandre Gaines 2-(-8).
Passing — W: Dalton Payne 21-26-1-214; WFW: Josiah Johnson 13-30-0-157.
Receiving — W: Julien Jones 5-47, Jakob Davis 4-50, Peter Boylan 2-14, Judson Mansfield 1-19, Brevan Bea 7-72, Gavin Multer 1-7, Gabe Kent 1-5; WFW: Kayden Kelly 4-21, Cade Haller 1-34, Leandre Gaines 1-2, Carter McCoy 7-100.