Varsity football finishes off a strong season

Siri Christopherson, Staff Writer

After a season evenly balanced with five wins and six losses, football met tough competition in their last playoff game of the year, placing them 16th in state.
The Patriots had their first game of the state playoff round of 16 near Battleground last Saturday against the Hockinson Hawks. Even after a tough loss, senior and team captain James Workman has pride in the dedication that the team showed during the game.
“In our loss to Hockinson we were down 42 to 7 in the fourth quarter, but we continued to fight and finished the game with a score of 42 to 21,” Workman said. “I feel this really shows what our team was about this season and that we made a choice not to quit.”
The team is excited about their outstanding performance this year and their entrance into the state playoffs.
“We’re really proud of how hard we’ve worked,” tight end and defensive end senior Sean Bates said. “Winning the first playoff game and making it to the round of 16, which is the first time that’s happened since 2010. We’re really proud of that and we know our hard work is paying off.”
Head football coach Steve Valach is also excited about the team’s successes this season.
“It has certainly been a season with ups and downs and challenges, but it’s fun to be in the state playoffs,” Valach said.
Leading up to playoffs, the team experienced mental and physical improvement throughout the regular season.
“It’s just having that mental toughness to keep pushing forward and realizing that it’s getting harder, but at the same time, if we keep pushing ourselves, the reward is going to be greater,” Bates said.
The team’s word for the year was “grit,” a word Valach thinks embodies the team’s work ethic.
“Grit was the motto for what they think is the key to success, and I really think their grit has been tested,” Valach said.
Workman also touched on the team’s word of the season, pointing out the team’s commitment to never give up.
“In the beginning of the year we chose the word grit to be what defined us,” Workman said. “Grit is about being great in everything you do, even when times are hard. And then you keep doing that every day.”