2A Football: Davis Kicks Bearcats to State
CROSSOVERS: Nole Wollan Runs for 279 Yards as W.F. West Survives Harsh, Beavers in 38-35 Win
By Aaron VanTuyl
One quarterback threw the ball 43 times for 312 yards. The other ran for a whopping 279 yards.
Football, though, is a curious sport, and Friday’s District 4 crossover game came down to a slim senior in neon-pink cleats, a pair of timeouts and a huge serving of drama.
And Cory Davis kicked the Bearcats right into the State 2A playoffs.
Davis’ 26-yard field goal in an untimed down at the end of regulation wrapped up a wild 38-35 win over Woodland, propelling W.F. West into the state bracket for the fourth straight season.
Davis trotted onto the field with 5 seconds left in the fourth quarter and the back-and-forth contest tied at 35. Woodland called a timeout, set its defense again, and called a second timeout, in an attempt to ice the kicker on an already-frigid evening.
The first kick was short — but a roughing-the-passer flag postponed overtime and moved the Bearcats 10 yards closer to the end zone.
“I didn’t follow through on my form and kicking, and I looked up right away to see if it would go through,” Davis said of his first attempt. “I just didn’t keep my form, and that really told me to keep my form for the second one.”
The second kick was just fine — in the eyes of everyone in a crimson and grey jersey that didn’t have Davis’ No. 9 on it.
“When I missed that first one, but got hit, I was like, ‘Wow, that kind of sucks,’” he admitted. “And then when I made that second one, I was happy for the team, and for everybody else and the community — but for me, as a player, always trying to get better, I thought it was a bad kick. But I’m glad I made it.”
His teammates, needless to say, were a bit less concerned with the mechanics and more concerned with the end result.
“I think our sideline all felt that it was going in,” Bearcat coach Bob Wollan said. “So, what a pressure situation for a kid to be in, and to get it done.”
The kick ended an impressive battle between teams, and quarterbacks, of opposing styles.
Woodland’s Wyatt Harsh, a four-year starter and All-Greater St. Helens 2A League pick at quarterback, completed 28 of 43 passes for 312 yards, with three touchdowns and four interceptions; he also led the Beavers with 38 rushing yards and a touchdown.
W.F. West’s Nole Wollan, meanwhile, ran the ball 36 times for 279 yards, with two scores on the ground and two more through the air.
The Bearcats, after jumping out to a 13-0 lead, found themselves playing catch-up throughout the second half. After an interception midway through the fourth quarter by Tyson Guerrero — his third of the night — W.F. West drove downfield, only to have a second-and-goal from the 1-yard line overruled by a holding call, pushing the Cats back to the 15-yard line.
The flag didn’t matter. Wollan dropped back and hit Leandre Gaines over the top for a 15-yard touchdown, tying things up at 35 with three minutes to play.
“(Receiver) Brandon White was the primary (target). They made an adjustment to go double him, and Nole picked it up and hit Leandre,” Wollan said. “That’s what it takes to win a playoff football game, and I’m just so proud of our guys.”
The defense then came up with a stop, forcing a punt with just over a minute left to play, and 11-yard runs from Henry and then Wollan set the Bearcats up on the Beavers’ 20-yard line. Another run by Wollan moved the ball closer to the middle of the field with 5 seconds on the clock, setting the stage for Davis.
“We certainly didn’t want to go overtime with them. I thought that last drive was great; we had some clock management, they were committed to stopping the pass, and it’s a tough spot to be in, defensively,” Bob Wollan said. “We just said ‘We’ve got two timeouts, we’re going to try to rip chunks off, and we’re going to try to get field-goal range.’”
The Bearcats intercepted passes — one by Camden Bull, and another by Guerrero — to end Woodland’s first two drives, and sandwiched the picks around a 13-yard touchdown pass from Wollan to Gaines.
Ka’imi Henry, who racked up 158 yards on 15 carries, broke free on a 55-yard run after Guerrero’s pick, putting W.F. West up 13-0.
The Beavers, though, settled into to their spread offense, and Harsh went to work. His first touchdown came on a 20-yard run, and after a Bearcat fumble he hit Wyatt Wooden on a swing pass for a 12-yard touchdown that put the Beavers up 14-13.
Woodland — who finished in a tie for second in the GSHL, and got the No. 3 seed in a three-way tiebreaker Monday in Camas — pulled ahead 21-13 on a 38-yard halfback pass from Tyler Flanagan to Alex Bishop midway through the second quarter, but saw its next drive end on a diving interception from Guerrero.
“Tonight it just felt like, after such a great start, that we didn’t have any answers, defensively, to what they were doing,” Bob Wollan said. “When you’re confused on defense against a guy like that, he’s going to make you pay, and he did. There was a lot of frustration at halftime, but we made a defensive change, and it shored things up.”
Nole Wollan broke free on his longest run of the night two plays into the third quarter, scoring on a 58-yard keeper and hitting Jordan Thomas with the conversion to tie the game at 21.
Harsh then capped a 63-yard scoring drive with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Bishop that put the Beavers up 28-21; the Bearcats answered with a quick drive and a 2-yard keeper from Wollan, knotting it back up at 28.
Woodland pulled back ahead in the fourth, recovering a Bearcat fumble on the 8-yard line and scoring two plays later when Harsh found Christian Yager in the left side of the end zone from 6 yards out. The teams swapped turnovers — the third lost fumble of the game for W.F. West, and then Guerrero’s third pick — to set up the Cats’ last game-tying drive.
“We were kind of fighting ourselves along the way, but we were clutch when we needed to,” Bob Wollan said. “We found enough big plays to keep things going. I thought our kids were valiant. They were tough.”
The loss ends the season for Woodland at 5-5. W.F. West (8-2) advances to the first round of the State 2A playoffs, and, pending the results of Saturday’s Black Hills vs. Columbia River crossover game, will face either North Kitsap or Selah next week.
Notes: Woodland’s Wooden finished with a game-high eight catches for 146 yards, while Flanagan caught eight passes for 80 yards. … Thomas caught two passes for 37 yards to lead W.F. West.