In a wide open 2A Greater St. Helens League, the Beavers find themselves with momentum on their side after a 40-21 win over the Hockinson Hawks on Friday, Sept. 29.
Woodland was led by junior wide receiver/running back Elijah Andersen as he ran the ball for 181 rushing yards with three touchdowns and 102 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Andersen’s receiving touchdown came at the end of the first half to take a 10-7 lead, but Hockinson head coach Clint LeCount was visibly distraught when a penalty for offensive pass interference was not called on the play. Even after the 19-point loss, LeCount expressed his displeasure.
“I thought we played really well in the second half, kind of bottling up Andersen. You know, he’s a real dynamic kid, but I think they got away with one with that touchdown at the end of the half,” LeCount said. “I mean, I think that was a blatant push, and that’s just the thing that makes it difficult. Momentum jumps to their side in the second half. We didn’t do a good job of recovering, and that’s on us as coaches to make them better prepared for that type of thing.”
Andersen scored his three rushing touchdowns in the second half, including a 55-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to seal the Beavers’ victory.
“He’s everything, man. We try to get him involved as much as possible,” Woodland head coach Sean McDonald said of Andersen. “We’ve been moving around the field a lot, but he just makes things happen on his own, constantly. He makes big plays all the time, and he really put a show on [in] that second half and brought it on. He carries his team.”
Other scores for the Beavers included a first quarter 36-yard field goal by senior kicker Diego Almodovar. Almodovar kicked an extra point that traveled 54 yards that would have been good from around 48 to 50 yards.
The Hawks took an early lead in the second quarter with a 19-yard touchdown pass by Aiden Donowitz to Greg Pepula. Xavier Maitland and Nathan Nielsen added late fourth quarter touchdowns for the Hawks in the loss.
In other 2A GSHL action, the Ridgefield Spudders marched right into preseason favorite Washougal High School and took home a massive 38-28 win on Friday, Sept. 29. The league favorite now falls to 1-2 in league play, putting its postseason hopes in jeopardy, but Ridgefield and Woodland sit comfortably at 2-1 in league with the Columbia River Rapids also at 2-1, only trailing Hudson’s Bay High School, which is 3-0 in league.
The win for Woodland provides McDonald’s team with momentum as the Beavers travel to Longview to play R.A. Long at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6. Then the Beavers hope to play spoiler against Hudson’s Bay at home at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13.
“We’re talking about this is a league championship every week because all the teams in this league battle, and you saw that in the first half of this game,” McDonald said. “Every team’s going to play tough, and we’ve been talking about playing our best game every week because there’s no letting down and focusing and getting better every week. You know, win the week, and that’s what we’ve been really focusing on is getting better and worrying about the little things.”
For Hockinson, the Hawks now sit 1-2 in league play but look at playing spoiler in favor of Ridgefield and Woodland this week against Columbia River at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 6 at home.