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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
Feb. 28, 2024

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Woodland captures first league crown since 2007

Beavers host Week 10 playoff game next week against Rochester

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:

RIDGEFIELD — As he made the pass breakup on Ridgefield’s final pass attempt, Elijah Andersen looked up at the scoreboard at the north end of Ridgefield Stadium to make sure the clock indeed read zeros. 

“I looked to see if the time ran out,” he said. 

Sure enough, it did. It meant Woodland’s 28-21 lead finally went final. Only then on the Ridgefield turf is when the Woodland do-everything junior began to celebrate with teammates, coaches and even Woodland community members who sprinted onto the field in celebration of Woodland’s biggest victory in recent memory. 

“It’s crazy,” Andersen said. “The emotions are super high.”

And there’s every reason to be. That’s because the Beavers’ 28-21 win on Friday night over the Spudders gave Woodland its first league title in 16 seasons; 2007 was the school’s last football league title. 

23 Photos
Woodland junior Elijah Andersen, left, runs with the ball while junior Charles Elkinton, center, blocks Ridgefield senior Mason Curran on Friday, Oct, 27, 2023, during the Beavers’ 28-21 win against Ridgefield at Ridgefield High School. With the win, Woodland captured its first 2A Greater St. Helens League title since 2007.
Prep Football: Woodland at Ridgefield Photo Gallery

The victory means the Beavers (7-2 overall, 6-1 2A Greater St. Helens League) host Rochester, the 2A Evergreen Conference fourth-place team, in next week’s Week 10 state preliminary round. Head coach Sean McDonald said postgame it’ll likely be at 7 p.m. next Friday at Beaver Stadium. It’s also the first time since 2015 the Beavers host a Week 10 playoff game. 

Another sentence that is as sweet a validation as a league title. 

“It’s something rare that happens at Woodland,” Andersen said. 

Ridgefield’s loss, plus victories Friday by Hudson’s Bay and Washougal puts into motion a three-team tie for second place between Ridgefield, Hudson’s Bay and Washougal. All three teams finished 5-2, and although all qualified for next week’s Week 10 state preliminary round, they’ll play a tiebreaker at 7 p.m. Monday at Columbia River to determine Week 10 opponents.

Like he’s done all season, Andersen shined in all three phases Friday. He finished with a game-high 156 rushing yards on 26 carries, and also accounted for three of the Beavers’ four touchdowns that led Woodland to race out to a 28-6 halftime advantage. 

Like in any league-title tilt, it came down to the wire. First it was Woodland’s offensive outburst in the first half, then it was a second-half rally by Ridgefield. Woodland scored touchdowns on all four of its first-half possessions, including three by Andersen (two rushing, one receiving). In fact, after Ridgefield cut the deficit to 20-6 inside 1 minute left before halftime, Woodland needed just two plays, 54 yards and 30 seconds to respond with a 27-yard Andersen touchdown reception. 

The second half is when the tides turned in Ridgefield’s favor. The Spudders (6-3, 5-2) cut the deficit to 28-21 with 5 minutes, 40 seconds left with Cly Stephens’ second touchdown of the second half (6 yards), then the defense got a fourth-down stop with 3:19 to go to take over at midfield. 

Woodland’s defense, already with two sacks and an interception earlier in the game, came up with its second interception (Cody Armstrong). Ridgefield took over again with 43.3 seconds to go at its own 43. Four plays later is when Andersen’s pass break up sent Woodland into a celebration frenzy. 

The final 12 minutes is when the Beavers “put our foot on the pedal,” said senior linebacker Jess Starr. 

“Full throttle,” he said. “Everything we had — I have nothing left in the tank right now. We just gave it everything we got.”

WOODLAND 28, RIDGEFIELD 21

Wood 6 22 0 0 – 28

Ridge 0 6 7 8 – 21

First quarter

W — Elijah Andersen 3 run (kick failed)

Second quarter 

W — Andersen 2 run (Diego Almodovar kick)

W — Chase Hall 23 pass from Brett Martynowicz (Almodovar kick)

R — Rocco Wright 1 run 

W — Andersen 27 pass from Martynowicz (conversion good)

Third quarter

R — Cly Stevens 19 run (Brandon Rogers kick)

Fourth quarter

R — Stevens 6 run (conversion good)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Ridgefield — Brayden Malella 7-39, Rocco Wright 4-5, Cly Stephens 10-67, Team 2-(minus-9); Woodland — Karson Northcut 17-81, Elijah Andersen 26-156, Brett Martynowicz 3-9.

PASSING: Ridgefield — Brayden Malella 13-28-2-138; Brett Martynowicz 5-12-1-85

RECEIVING: Ridgefield — Noah Stromberg 2-13, Landon DeBeaumont 3-57, Jamison McCann 2-10, Cash Hill 7-58; Woodland — Chase Hall 1-23, Elijah Andersen 4-62

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