Belated shout-out to Union, River, and Woodland football

So much going on last weekend and then this week. I had two football games to cover Saturday. Sundays are reserved for NFL viewing only in my home, so I couldn’t write then. And then Monday was the first day of basketball practice. Had to be at Prairie to witness the beginning of a new era there.

I also had a couple stories on football coaches stepping down. Add in signing day for a number of athletes midweek, followed by a couple of features to preview the La Center and Camas quarterfinal football games.

In other words, I did not find time to write a Day After Report after Week 11.

For Camas and La Center fans, that’s no big deal. They will have more coverage this weekend.

But I’d like to give a special shout out to Union, Columbia River, and Woodland football for a their fine seasons.

We couldn’t make the Union game, playing in Spokane on Saturday while we had three teams playing home games on the same day. But from the report from Carl Click and from the story we ran in the paper, it appears the Titans were hit by a familiar pattern in their loss to Gonzaga Prep. They played a strong half, but could not put together two halves. It happened to the Titans against Jesuit, Camas, and Skyview — their other three losses.

Of course, Gonzaga Prep, Jesuit, Camas, and Skyview are all pretty good teams, too. No shame in those losses. Three of those teams are still competing in state playoffs.

These Titans also have continued quite a tradition. Union is 53-16 in its six seasons of football and has never had a losing season. The program has made the postseason five times, and the state playoffs four times.

The Columbia River Chieftains, it has been noted many times, struggled with their non-league schedule, going 1-3. They appeared to be off their game. Then league play began. They got on their game in a hurry.

The Chieftains rolled off five consecutive wins, including victories in three close games. There was a double-overtime win. A touchdown in the final minute. And a defensive gem to win the 3A Greater St. Helens League title outright.

The Chieftains kept it going with an easy victory in the state preliminary round, then found themselves in another close game in the first round of state. This time, the close game went the other way. The Chieftains fell to Kennedy 20-14. Kennedy scored the winning touchdown with 1:15 left in the game.

True to the Chieftains’ season, though, the game was not done. River drove into the red zone in the hurry-up offense and had a chance. It just didn’t happen.

Still, here is what happened: Columbia River went 7-4 and won a league championship, a record and achievement that did not look possible four weeks into the season.

The Woodland Beavers enjoyed their first season as a 1A program. Almost beat La Center. Had to settle for second place in the Trico League. Then almost got another chance to face La Center again.

I am finishing this report at District Stadium, waiting for La Center to take on Mount Baker in the 1A quarterfinals. If Woodland had managed to rally against Mount Baker last week, we’d have a Woodland-La Center quarterfinal and Southwest Washington would rule the land.

Instead, here’s a shout out to the Beavers for almost making it happen. Woodland had eight plays inside the 10-yard line in the fourth quarter but could not punch it in and lost 21-14.

Tough loss, but great season.

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