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Woodland Outlasts Columbia

Bruins put up good fight in defensive struggle with Beavers, but fall 14-7

For the first time in eight seasons, Columbia High finds itself out of the running for a spot in the state football playoffs.

So, Friday night's season finale against visiting Ridgefield will be for pride and vengeance.

Pride because Columbia, at 3-5 overall, can't finish with its eighth straight winning record, but it can finish with a win.

Vengeance because it was Ridgefield which knocked CHS out of playoff contention with a 28-21 win on Oct. 25.

But it was Woodland that made sure Columbia wouldn't get a chance to post a winning record as the Beavers held off the Bruins, 14-7, in a Trico Division defensive struggle, on a frigid Friday night in White Salmon.

For Columbia, the loss was the fourth this season by a touchdown or less.

"I thought our kids really stepped it up," Bruins Coach Larry McCutcheon said. "I was really proud of the effort and the way we played on defense. We played extremely good defense; probably as good as anyone has played Woodland all year."

The Bruins yielded 289 yards of total offense to the Beavers and gave up touchdowns in the second and third quarters to fall behind 14-0.

They got their only score with just under four minutes remaining in the third quarter.

It came on a pass-and-pitch play from sophomore quarterback Jon Bryan to junior wideout Marcus Giovannoni, who lateraled to senior Matthew Carlock for a 5-yard touchdown run.

"That play was something we put in last week," McCutcheon noted. "And the way those guys ran it was as pretty as it gets. It was perfect."

That scoring play was the highlight for CHS's offense, which struggled to gain 169 yards against a formidable Woodland defense.

In the second quarter, down 7-0, the Bruins drove 52 yards from their 43-yard line to Woodland's 5 before turning the ball over on downs.

Much later, they got the ball back for the last two minutes of the game when senior linebacker Tom Shrum recovered a Woodland fumble at the CHS 36.

Columbia advanced the football as far as Woodland's 45 before time ran out.

And, though it had just one penalty (5 yards for false start on the offense) during the game, Columbia committed three turnovers (two fumbles lost, one interception).

The second of those miscues -- a fumble on third-and-one at midfield on the opening drive of the second half -- proved the most costly.

Jake Hanes' recovery led to Woodland's second touchdown: a 22-yard sideline sprint by Jarrod Barrow. The Beavers' senior quarterback finished with a game-high 102 yards rushing.

The touchdown and point-after kick gave Woodland a 14-0 lead with less than 10 minutes left in the contest.

"Our offensive execution wasn't very good, and we made too many mistakes," McCutcheon noted. "You can't do that against a team like Woodland, because they'll make you pay."

Early on, though, Columbia held its own against Woodland.

After Bryan's booming opening kickoff for a touchback, the Bruins stopped the Beavers and forced them to punt.

But two plays into the Bruins' first possession, junior slotback Zane Howard fumbled after a 6-yard gain.

Vince Wilson recovered for Woodland, which ran eight plays to move the ball down to CHS's 7-yard line, first-and-goal.

The Bruins threw Wilson for a 1-yard loss on first down and allowed 4 on second. On third down, the Beavers went to the air but failed to convert.

Instead of going for it, they sent Lucas Pietz out to try a 27-yard field goal. His attempt sailed wide left.

The game's next three offensive series ended in punts. The last of those punts -- an 18-yard effort by Bryan in the first minute of the second quarter -- netted Woodland good field position at the CHS 49.

The Beavers didn't waste it. On first down, Barrow dropped back and let the ball fly down the right sideline. His brother, sophomore receiver Zach, hauled it in and scored to give Woodland a 7-0 advantage with 11:01 remaining in the half.

Columbia had three more first-half possessions but didn't find the end zone on any of them.

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