The Woodland Beavers football team, which is composed of fifth and sixth graders, have finished the season in the best way possible.
In their last game against Castle Rock, the team won 27-6, remaining undefeated in all of their regular season games. They also won the championship in the process.
Head coach George Trice put the team up to a challenge even greater than any of the schools they faced during the regular season to test their abilities.
“We have an all-Woodland school team and we thought ‘hey, we haven’t lost a game, so let’s play one of these hotshot teams and see how we do,’” Trice said.
Trice was inspired to have his players test the waters by putting them up against two teams who travel across the country because the Beavers have been undefeated in their league for three years.
“We played a nationally-ranked team out of Seattle called the Heir Academy,” Trice said. “They were ranked … as number three in the nation. In all actuality, we lost to that team, although we were undefeated up to that point. But we played tough, and (Heir academy) had the best kids in the state, so it’s not a school team like ours is.”
Trice said Heir Academy travels across the country playing football and is a collective of the state’s best players. Woodland lost against them 40-0. After that, Woodland went against the Vancouver and Camas-based Bearcats, who also travel around the nation. The Bearcats beat the Beavers 46-20.
Trice said the Woodland Beavers were the only team to go against Heir or the Bearcats.
Since his team has 34 players, there are four different defensive and offensive groups he uses depending on the game.
The players are categorized by the colors gold, which features the most experienced, while white is the least experienced. The other two colors are green and black.
Trice uses that system so all of the players have a chance to get out onto the field during the season.
If the Beavers are playing a tough team, he’ll start out with the gold defense. If they get a lead, then he’ll swap them with the black and green defense, which are equal in skillset. By the fourth quarter, he’ll use the white offense, which features players who haven’t had a chance to get on the field yet.
Trice uses that system so that all of the players have a chance during the season, with some of the kids being used as substitutes if a player is out. It also allows the kids to take on positions they haven’t yet played.
“Those kids get some glory too,” he said.
Each of those groups has 11 kids, with some of them being subs.
Trice said the team has committed to get better and have their sights set on winning the state championship once they get into high school.
He gave shoutouts to two of the quarterbacks, Jackson Andrews and Jackson Gabbard.
“(They are) very athletic, they know the game and are just good athletes,” Trice said.
He also mentioned Carson Davis and Richard McCants, who are “two good running backs that are very fast and athletic.”