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Feb. 24, 2024

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Washougal’s 55-14 win over Hudson’s Bay adds to 2A GSHL chaos

Panthers hand previously unbeaten Eagles first loss

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
18 Photos
Washougal's Mercy Johnston celebrates a touchdown at Kiggens Bowl on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023.
Washougal's Mercy Johnston celebrates a touchdown at Kiggens Bowl on Friday, Oct. 6, 2023. (Elayna Yussen for The Columbian) Photo Gallery

In what’s been a topsy-turvy 2A Greater St. Helens League football season, chaos continues to reign after another chaos-filled Friday night. 

That’s just fine with the Washougal Panthers, as a number of players on the sideline stated firmly “#hashtag — We’re back” once the seconds winded down of a 55-14 victory over previously-undefeated Hudson’s Bay. 

While it’s hard to never count out a defending league champion and a preseason league favorite, Washougal (4-2, 2-2) found itself in a must-win situation entering Friday’s Week 6 game at Kiggins Bowl. Washougal already had two league losses — both coming at home — on its record, including four turnovers in a 10-point defeat to Ridgefield last week. 

In the words of quarterback Holden Bea postgame, “it was do or die.”

Do, the Panthers did, scoring touchdowns on eight scoring drives, while holding a Bay team that averaged 34 points per game entering Friday to two scores. 

Tailback Will Cooper, who finished with 87 yards on eight carries and a touchdown, gave a peek into the pregame atmosphere. 

“We were nervous,” he said. “But once we got onto that field, we started to work. … We came in knowing that this was supposed to be a good team, and we were ready to fight for the whole game.”

But the offense and defense made for quick work. Perhaps that’s a credit to what coach Dave Hajek and his staff decided to implement for the week’s practice after suffering two league defeats at home: a back-to-basics lesson. 

“When things are going well,” Hajek said, “you go back to basics. And that’s what we did.”

Facing a Hudson’s Bay team seeking only its second 6-0 start in program history, it was all Panthers start to finish. Washougal went just six plays, 48 yards and 2 minutes, 59 seconds to score their first of eight touchdowns.

In fact, it scored on all but one of its offensive series. The only drive it didn’t score on was when backup quarterback Kaden Fautt took a knee to run out the clock with 31.3 seconds left in the game to secure the 41-point victory. By that point, the 55-14 lead had been in place since the 3:03 mark of the third quarter. 

Bea finished 10 of 12 passing for 207 yards, and accounted for five of Washougal’s eight touchdowns. His 55-yard rushing touchdown capped the Panthers’ scoring. Seven of Bea’s passes went to Sam Evers, who finished with seven catches for 155 yards and two touchdowns. 

Rafael Bauman had both of Bay’s rushing touchdowns of 1 and 7 yards Friday. 

The craziness of the 2A GSHL continues. Elsewhere Friday, Hockinson’s upset of Columbia River means there are now three teams — Columbia River, Hockinson and Washougal all tied at 2-2. Also, another three teams — Ridgefield, Hudson’s Bay and Woodland — are tied atop the league standings at 3-1. Four teams make the Week 10 state preliminary round. 

Players are well aware of what’s been happening around the 2A GSHL, calling it a “rollercoaster.” They know the final three weeks will continue to be so, but the Panthers can help control their own destiny with performances like Friday. 

“We’ve got to play hard and to continue to progress,” Cooper said. 

WASHOUGAL 55, HUDSON’S BAY 14

Wash. 21 7 27 0 – 55

Hud. Bay 0 7 7 0 – 14

First quarter 

W — Will Cooper 2 run (kick good)

W — Mercy Johnston 15 run (kick good)

W — Presscott Lenhart 47 pass from Holden Bea (kick good)

Second quarter

HB — Aqeel Bauman 1 run (kick good)

W — Bea 24 run (kick good)

Third quarter

W — Sam Evers 49 pass from Bea (kick good)

W — Evers 18 pass from Bea (kick good)

HB — Rafael Bauman 7 run (kick good)

W — Johnston 20 run (kick good)

W — Bea 55 run (kick blocked)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Hudson’s Bay: Aqeel Bauman 15-90, Rafael Bauman 13-71, William Clark 3-6, Malukai Hodges 5-58, Michael Miller 3-(minus-3); Washougal: Holden Bea 9-147, Will Cooper 8-87, Mercy Johnston 4-55, Chase Pattison 5-32, Kaden Fautt 3-(minus-2).

PASSING — Hudson’s Bay: Miller 5-9-0-67; Clark 1-2-1-8; Washougal: Bea 10-12-0-207

RECEIVING — Hudson’s Bay: Rafael Bauman 4-58, Neistche Labossiere 1-9, Michael Stump 1-6; Washougal: Sam Evers 7-155, Lenhart 1-47, Cooper Maxey 1-7, Deondrae Goodell 1-(minus-2).

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