Though the No. 4 W.F. West football team has been taking its season one week at a time — and one opponent at a time all year — this week’s contest had a bit of added motivation and pregame talk before it.
Facing the opportunity to clinch a 2A Evergreen Conference championship for the first time since 2009, even smoke back home and late venue change couldn’t stop the Bearcats from leaving zero doubt in a 42-15 win over Aberdeen in South Bend.
“They’re ready for anything, they respond well to change and those things,” Bearcats coach Dan Hill said. “We talked about being adaptable, not being flustered, and they were ready to go. They were excited to get over here and play Aberdeen.”
Like all season, the Bearcats started fast with their pass game. Gavin Fugate found Gage Brumfield early and often, and the pair connected on a 30-yard score in the first quarter to get the action started.
But after that, Tucker Land stepped up and delivered, rushing for 133 yards over the course of the game behind a great offensive line effort in the trenches. Land scored the next two touchdowns to help the Bearcats take a 21-7 lead into the half.
“He ran the ball hard, it was nice to see him get north and south, he was able to get some yards after contact,” Hill said. “It’s a tribute to how well our offensive line blocked for him. Aberdeen’s front is solid, they’ve got some big boys and they play hard, it was a great challenge for us coming off that week off.”
In the second half it was more of the same, as Fugate found Brumfield and Cristo Parriott for long scores, and Beau Guyette punched in the final score for the Bearcats on a run.
Having to shift its senior night and final home game away from Chehalis due to unsafe air quality and smoke in Lewis County, the Bearcats made South Bend its second home in the league-clinching win.
“We’re always 1-0 mentality first, and then the second goal this week was winning that league championship,” Hill said. “We sat down with our seniors, and they had one short term goal: the first part was to beat Tumwater, and part two was to win a league championship. It was a big point of emphasis this week, executing and not having mental mistakes.”
The Bearcats rode that wave all the way to another dominant win with just one week left to go in the regular season, taking on Centralia in the Swamp Cup at Tiger Stadium next Friday. The Bearcats will be searching for their 14th consecutive win in the series against the Tigers, who have not won this season.