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Feb. 24, 2024

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Elijah Andersen’s 5 touchdowns paces Woodland in 41-10 win over Hudson’s Bay

Beavers break three-way tie for first place in 2A GSHL with two weeks left in regular season

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

WOODLAND — Every time Elijah Andersen touches the ball, the Woodland junior believes he has a chance to score.

Such a notion might not be as far-fetched as it sounds.

Andersen’s big-play ability took Woodland to another gear in Friday’s 41-10 win over Hudson’s Bay on homecoming night, which helped the Beavers keep pace for first place in the 2A Greater St. Helens League standings.

Five touchdowns and 233 rushing yards for the 6-foot-2, 180-pound multi-dimensional Andersen included scores of 54, 48 and 44 yards to blow the doors off a game between two teams with strong rushing attacks.

“This was one of the biggest weeks we have,” Andersen said. “We had to stop their run game and beat them with ours. (There were) big holes in the line. This is one of the biggest games of our season.”

Woodland head coach Sean McDonald said play-calling is made much easier with Andersen in the fold, whether he’s taking handoffs from quarterback Brett Martynowicz or lining up for direct snaps in the team’s Wildcat formation.

Three of Woodland’s six scoring drives lasted three plays or less thanks to Andersen’s game-breaking speed and vision.

“(That’s why) I break all these long plays,” Andersen said, “is because I don’t just get hit and fall down. I get hit and I always to make more and make more. I always want to score.”

In the second quarter, the Beavers forced an Eagles fumble just 1 yard short of the end zone and linebacker Will Clemens recovered the loose ball. Three plays later, Andersen broke loose and stayed inbounds on the Woodland sideline for a 54-yard score — a 14-point swing that put the Beavers up 14-10 at halftime.

In the third quarter, Martynowicz grabbed the first of his two interceptions to set up a short drive past midfield, which led to an Andersen 48-yard rushing touchdown. Then, after linebacker Jess Starr stuffed Bay on a 4th-and-2 run, Andersen broke off a 42-yard score the very next play to put Woodland ahead 28-10. He added his fifth and final touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.

“His vision of the field is very top-notch,” McDonald said. “His ability to see everything — I think he slows it down in his mind. (He) really can just break it down and just makes the right cuts. He’s really patient in the backfield. … He’s a once-in-a-decade type of player, and we’re happy he’s on our side.”

While Andersen’s performance earned plenty of praise, the unsung hero of the night was Woodland’s defense. The Beavers slowed Bay’s vaunted run game led by Rafael Bauman (129 rushing yards, one touchdown) and Aqeel Bauman (68 rushing yards), including no points allowed in the second half.

“We were talking about it at halftime that our D-line was destroying,” said Andersen, who also plays safety. “They were getting through, they were not getting worked, they were doing their job. … They don’t get all glory, but they make it way easier for us.”

“Another thing that makes it easier is having our two outside linebackers (Will Clemens and Seth Popp) just constantly blitzing,” Starr added. “It draws the O-linemen and then I can see everything. It makes everything a lot easier.”

The Beavers’ performance Friday was the product of a quality week at practice, arguably the best week of the season, McDonald said. They added a rare Sunday session that gave them extra time to install some new looks for a game with big implications in the 2A GSHL standings.

“(We were) just locked in,” Starr said. “We didn’t have any mess-ups at practice. We just kept going and going … we all wanted to win, and we did.”

A three-way tie for first place between Woodland (5-2, 4-1), Bay (5-2, 3-2) and Ridgefield (5-2, 4-1) has now been whittled down to two teams.

Barring an upset next week, Woodland and Ridgefield’s meeting in Week 9 on Oct. 27 will likely decide the 2A GSHL outright champion.

The Beavers strive to treat each week like a league championship. They’ve risen to the occasion for those games, including the likes of Washougal and now Bay. Even after suffering a 26-20 loss to Columbia River three weeks ago, they control their own destiny with two weeks left in the regular season.

“I’m so proud of these boys,” McDonald said. “That was the goal day one. We walked into spring saying every day is a league championship. We’ve got to bring it. … Playing in a league championship Week 9 is going to be huge.”

WOODLAND 41, HUDSON’S BAY 10

Hudson’s Bay 7 3 0 0—10

Woodland 6 8 14 13—41

First quarter

W — Elijah Andersen 16 run (kick failed)

HB — Rafael Bauman 2 run (Joey Roeper kick)

Second quarter

W — Andersen 54 run (Andersen run)

HB — Roeper 35 field goal

Third quarter

W — Andersen 48 run (Diego Almodovar kick)

W — Andersen 44 run (Almodovar kick)

Fourth quarter

W — Andersen 9 run (kick failed)

W— Karsen Northcut 68 run (Almodovar kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Hudson’s Bay: Aqeel Bauman 13-68, Rafael Bauman 23-129, Michael Stump 2-1, Michael Miller 2-8, Malukai Hodges 3-23, William Clark 3-12, Josiah Finn 1-3, Landon Kemper 5-21, Team 1-(minus 3); Woodland: Elijah Andersen 15-233, Karsen Northcut 6-77, Chase Hall 1-3, Preston Davis 1-12, Brett Martynowicz 1-(minus 4)

PASSING — Hudson’s Bay: Miller 4-9-1-61, Clark 1-4-1-10; Woodland: Martynowicz 1-3-0-23.

RECEIVING — Hudson’s Bay: R. Bauman 1-26, A. Bauman 3-23, Neistche Labossiere 2-14, Jay Peppler 1-8; Woodland: Hall 1-23.

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