Washougal football camp

Watch a few minutes of a Washougal football practice, and it’s soon clear that something has changed.

Oh, sure, the offense is different. That’s to be expected with a new head coach. Bob Jacobs takes over for Josh Gibson and has installed a wing-T attack.

And with only about 30 healthy players running drills with the varsity, the Panthers don’t have the kind of participation that suggests they’re ready to challenge for a league title.

But, for a program that has seen its share of upheaval in recent years, the vibe inside Fishback Stadium is upbeat. Even in the midst of daily doubles, excitement is evident.

“Some people didn’t want to come out after the coaching change,” junior running back and safety Sean O’Hara said. “But that’s stupid. It’s football. It’s fun. We all enjoy it.”

Part of the fun is watching one of the newest Panthers run. A transfer from Hawaii — Jacobs didn’t know how to spell the back’s name — has made his presence felt.

“He’s a load,” O’Hara said. “He’s definitely going to make us a better team.
He showed up midway through summer practices. But I didn’t know how aggressive he’d be until we came out for football.”

Zach Boland, a junior tight end and linebacker, said the play of the offensive line has been a nice surprise.
“We have some smaller linemen, but their doing really good,” he said.

Jacobs has been focusing on teaching footwork and technique to the linemen. He credits a good friend for helping the transition for the Panthers. Stan Scott, who coached at several Oregon high schools, has been teaching the running backs.

“Everything we do has a foot pattern,” Jacobs said. “So every step we take is choreographed. So Coach Scott was able to teach that. While he was doing that, I was putting the blocking schemes in with the line. It was a lot easier transition than if I hadn’t of had him.”

Jacobs expects to put an aggressive team on the field.

“We’re learning a new style of football. … We’re not going to run around you, we’re going to run at you. So we’ve been spending a lot of time working on keeping our shoulders down, finishing runs and blocking to the whistle. It’s a mentality.”

The early critique is positive from Jacobs, who describes his players as “motivated. Hard working. And intelligent.”

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