After Woodland jumped out to a 28-6 halftime lead over the Ridgefield Spudders, the Beavers held on for a league-capturing victory, 28-21, in the 2A Greater St. Helens League on Friday, Oct. 27.
Woodland’s win gave them their first league title since 2007 and secured their first home playoff game since 2015. The Beavers are set to host Rochester High School, the 2A Evergreen Conference fourth-place team, Friday.
For Ridgefield, the loss provided a quick turnaround for a three-team tiebreaker between Washougal, Hudson’s Bay and the Spudders to determine the second, third and fourth seeds from the 2A GSHL.
After the seconds on the clock marked zero on Oct. 27, Woodland students and parents rushed the field to celebrate the victory. Emotions were high after the game, and Beavers head coach Sean McDonald realized that everything he talked about with his team last spring during spring practices came to fruition.
“Everything we talked about since spring, win that league championship, and these boys deserve so much,” McDonald said. “I’m so proud of them for coming through and battling until the end.”
Elijah Andersen was once again the go-to man for the Beavers as he ran for 156 yards and added three touchdowns on the night.
“If he wouldn’t have gotten those two big-time passes in the first half and did all the things he did, we wouldn’t be the team we are,” McDonald said of Andersen. “I can’t speak highly enough about him. Try to give him the ball as much as possible, and he’s electric out there.”
The Spudders gave it their best effort in the second half by holding the Woodland offense scoreless and adding two of their own to give them a chance to tie after being down 28-6.
Ridgefield’s quarterback Brayden Malella threw for a game-high 138 yards in his effort to bring his team back.
“I think we just made too many mistakes, … Woodland played their tough downhill football, and I thought our defense made some really good adjustments at halftime to get us the ball on offense, and we just couldn’t get out of our own way on offense,” Ridgefield head coach Scott Rice said.
A Spudders’ drive that looked promising in the late fourth quarter was halted by a pass deflection from Woodland’s Jess Starr and landed in the arms of defensive lineman Cody Armstrong’s hands for an interception. Despite Armstrong being in the trenches on defense, that was his second interception of the season.
“It was awesome … I couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to make a play for the team,” Armstrong said.
Ridgefield played in an overtime-rule tiebreaker at Battle Ground High School on Monday, Oct. 30. Results from the tiebreaker were not available at time of print, but the Spudders are guaranteed a week-10 matchup.
Woodland’s coveted home-playoff game against Rochester High School will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3 at Woodland High School.