WASHOUGAL — It’s true that players and coaches say that every football game is important. That’s doubly true once league play begins.
So how does a 39-22 home league win over Mark Morris set up Washougal for next week’s showdown at Ridgefield? Pretty well, in fact, as the 2A Greater St. Helens League’s only 2-0 teams in league face off in the halfway point of the 2022 high school football season.
By no means are the Panthers satisfied, though, being 3-1 through four weeks of football.
“We have bigger goals in mind,” receiver Sam Evers said. “I feel great right now, but we have to put in the work this week to go get Ridgefield.”
Friday at Fishback Stadium, Evers had five catches for 176 yards and two touchdowns of 72 and 59 yards in a game Washougal led from start to finish. Four of his catches came in the first half when Washougal built a 17-7 halftime lead.
But coach Dave Hajek said it’s the way his team responded after each MM (3-1, 1-1) score Friday that impressed the coach the most. While Washougal never trailed, MM pulled within one score three times in the second half.
MM scored on its opening possession of the second half, using an 8-play, 76-yard scoring drive that ended with Kobe Parlin’s run from 3 yards out.
And run is what the Panthers did, too. Not just led by running back William Cooper (11 carries, 85 yards), but also quarterback Holden Bea.
As good as Bea arm is, his run game was on display in the second half. His rushing touchdowns of 65 and 8 yards, respectively, each came on third-down plays. Both put Washougal up two scores at 31-14 and 39-22.
“With the lead we had, we wanted to take time off the clock, march the ball down play by play and be careful with the ball,” Bea said. “We slowed down our (offense) and it allowed us to get some points, too.”
Bea was efficient with his arm, too. He finished 12 of 16 passing for 230 yards and accounted for four touchdowns.
The final touchdown from Bea came at the 8:14 mark of the fourth after MM cut the deficit to eight when reigning all-league player Deacon Dietz’s only carry of the game went for a 51-yard score.
MM coach Shawn Perkins said postgame Dietz played minimal snaps on offense, defense and special teams Friday because he was “banged up” after the Monarchs’ league-opening win last week at Columbia River. That game, Dietz rushed for a game-high 241 yards on 30 carries on offense.
MM entered Friday winning its first three games to start a season for the first time since 1983. No Monarchs team has won four straight since 1969.
At 3-1 overall, Hajek pointed to the Panthers’ nonleague slate — an overtime win at 3A River Ridge and a home loss to 1A state-ranked Toppenish as stiff competition to prepare the Panthers for league play.
“We think we’ve gotten better the past two weeks,” Hajek said. “We’ve become more physical and got better at execution.”
WASHOUGAL 39, MARK MORRIS 22
Mark Morris 7 0 7 8— 22
Washougal 14 3 14 7— 39
W — Garrett Mansfield 4 run (Koby Johnson kick)
W — Sam Evers 72 pass from Holden Bea (Johnson kick)
MM — Justus McCann 1 run (kick good)
W — Johnson 32 FG
MM — Kobe Parlin 3 run (kick good)
W — Evers 59 pass from Bea (Johnson kick)
W — Bea 65 run (Johnson kick)
MM — Deacon Dietz 51 run (Kellen Desbiens run)
W — Bea 8 run (Owen Edwards pass from Bea)
RUSHING — Mark Morris: Rylan Jewell 15-58, Kobe Parlin 9-46, Kellen Desbiens 4-11, Justus McCann 8-28, Cade Warren 3-13, Deacon Dietz 1-51; Washougal: Holden Bea 10-84, Liam Atkin 1-12, Garrett Mansfield 4-25, William Cooper 11-83.
PASSING — Mark Morris: Desbiens 10-22-0-92; Washougal: Bea 12-16-0-230; Kaden Fautt 0-0-0-0.
RECEIVING — Mark Morris: Langston Bartell 3-44, Dossen Morrow 2-6, Kobe Parlin 3-29, Ryan Jewell 1-12, Justus McCann 1-9; Washougal: John Costa 3-16, Sam Evers 5-176, Liam Atkin 1-9, William Cooper 1-9, Talon Connelly 2-18.