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News / Sports / Prep Sports

All-Region football: Holden Bea, Washougal

Quarterback already looking forward to senior season with Panthers’ huge potential

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer
Published: December 10, 2022, 10:28pm
4 Photos
Washougal High quarterback Holden Bea, our All-Region football player of the year, is pictured in Washougal on Monday afternoon, Nov. 21, 2022.
Washougal High quarterback Holden Bea, our All-Region football player of the year, is pictured in Washougal on Monday afternoon, Nov. 21, 2022. (Amanda Cowan/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Washougal High’s historic football season is only weeks from having ended, but Holden Bea’s reflection on the past also includes looking at its future.

“It was just another step into what we want to do as a program,” Bea said, “and taking the program to another step.”

And Bea, The Columbian’s All-Region football player of the year, hopes the Panthers can take that next giant step into cementing more program history as the starting quarterback.

But before looking ahead to 2023, Bea knows the 2022 season that included an undefeated 2A Greater St. Helens League mark, the first home playoff win in program history and its second state berth in four seasons was special in its own way.

“That was really fun for us to experience and do that with our seniors,” Bea said. “All the young guys always looked up to them, and for them to be able to do that for us is really cool for the program.”

And a big part of that came from Bea, a junior and the 2A GSHL’s offensive most valuable player. As the Panthers’ second-year quarterback, he threw for 2,559 yards and 30 touchdowns to seven different receivers. He also rushed for 581 yards and scored 10 touchdowns. The latter were both second-best on the team behind all-league running back Liam Atkin.

Like the humble player he is, Bea gave teammate-first credit for his success from the receivers making plays to the offensive line creating running lanes or pass protection.

What’s different from a first-time sophomore starter on a three-win team in 2021 to the quarterback that led one of three Clark County teams to reach the state playoffs?

Quite a bit, highlighted by maturity, leadership and growth. Off-season work, Bea said, whether it was team workouts, 7-on-7 opportunities or private training, paved the way to make his junior year a memorable one.

Opportunities for players to expand their skills through 7 on 7 continue to rise. Some may argue 7-on-7 isn’t true football, and yes it’s not tackle football, but Bea reaps the benefits.

“It’s the reps,” he said, “throwing constantly and helping me get timing down with receivers. Just trying to perfect my passing game as much as I can. I kind of view it as, ‘Why shouldn’t I do it?’ ”

Bea is a Washougal guy through and through, and this generation of Beas are well-known standout athletes in recent years at Washougal. Holden Bea is the youngest of 10 Bea grandchildren and the latest in line of great athletes to walk Washougal’s halls.

In fact, one of his more memorable moments had nothing to do with on-field performance. It came pregame of Washougal’s first home playoff win in program history Nov. 5 against Shelton, when Bea and his cousin, senior linebacker Garrett Mansfield, led the team onto the field out of its traditional inflatable Panther head. Not only was it another family-shared memory, but Bea knows what the significance of that game alone and the 2022 season as a whole meant to the Washougal community.

The program last won a league title in 1999, and one has to go back to 1994 for the last time it hosted a playoff game before this season.

“It was really cool to be a part of,” Bea said. “Just the atmosphere the community brought to all the games helped out with all of that And all the players are really thankful for that. It was fun to experience.”

It’s a taste Bea wants more of in 2023, and part of what he hopes is another stepping stone for Washougal football.

“The sky’s the limit for us,” he said. “We’re not quite at the max yet.”

REST OF THE ALL-REGION TEAM

OFFENSE

QB: Taylor Ioane, Camas

Breakout senior season — including six TD passes in one game — helped Papermakers to another league title.

RB: Conner Noah, Kelso

Nevada-bound running back tallied another 1,000-yard season to lead the Hilanders to the state playoffs.

RB: Liam Atkin, Washougal

All-league tailback had a team-best 1,035 rushing yards and 13 rushing TDs.

WR: Sam Evers, Washougal

Panthers’ top target for 2A GSHL champs had 929 yards and 16 touchdowns.

WR: Trenton Swanson, Camas

Junior averaged 15 yards per catch (920 total yards) and had 11 receiving touchdowns.

WR: Gavin Packer, Skyview

Sophomore’s 1,000-yard season included a 272-yard receiving game and 13 total touchdowns.

WR: Isaiah Cowley, Ridgefield

Top target on a Spudders’ offense that scored 26.7 points per game to reach the state preliminary round.

All-purpose: John Charles, Hockinson

Hawks’ multi-tool player was a standout receiver, running back, kicker and a special teams returner.

OL: Fox Crader, Evergreen

6-foot-6 Oregon commit was a force to be reckoned with on the Plainsmen’s line.

OL: Ben Kapelka, Prairie

Experienced lineman was a key factor in the Falcons’ ground attack.

OL: Brady Phillips, Kelso

Air Force commit, 3A GSHL co-defensive MVP controlled the line of scrimmage.

OL: Ryan Kawalek, La Center

Wildcats’ 6-foot-3 left tackle is now the two-time 1A Trico lineman of the year.

OL: Joe Merlino, Union

Two-way all-4A GSHL lineman made a big impression in his first season as a Titan.

K/P: Ethan Ouchi, Camas

4A all-GSHL player earned all-league honors in three positions: kicker, punter and defensive back.

DEFENSE

DL: Ty Evans, Skyview

Whether on offense or defense, the senior two-way all-leaguer dominated up front.

DL: Adam White, La Center

Leader of the Wildcats’ front-7 was 1A Trico’s defensive player of the year.

DL: Holt Williams, Camas

Two-time all-region pick at defense line was a steady force for the playoff-bound Papermakers.

DL: Koby Kast, Evergreen

Senior had size, speed and strength to dominate up front for the Plainsmen.

LB: Jalen Salavea, Skyview

4A GSHL defensive MVP consistently racked up double-digit tackles at middle linebacker.

LB: Wyatt Bartroff, Ridgefield

2A GSHL defensive MVP set the tone for the defense on the playoff-bound Spudders.

LB: Garrett Mansfield, Washougal

Totaled 123 tackles (91 solo) on the league-champion and state-bound Panthers.

LB: Clayton Maus, Union

Leader of Titans’ defense also had eight touchdowns (receiving, rushing, INT return) as a first-year ballcarrier.

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DB: Jonathan Landry, Evergreen

Not much got past the 3A GSHL co-defensive MVP and four-year starter at cornerback.

DB: Kyle Chen, Mountain View

Four-year starter in the secondary also was a key part of Thunder’s offense at receiver and tight end.

DB: Jacob Martin, Mountain View

Senior was a lockdown corner and sure-handed receiver for the playoff-bound Thunder.

DB: Zach Blair, Camas

Great athlete who excelled on both sides of the ball for a Papermaker team that won another 4A GSHL title.

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