Semi-pro Pit Bulls work towards playoffs
The Washington County Pit Bulls, a Hillsboro-based semi-professional football team, are winding down their 2018 regular season.
The Pit Bulls, who are playing their inaugural season as part of the Western Washington Football Alliance, started what they hope will be a strong sprint to the finish with a 34-2 win over Spokane Saturday, June 30, at Hare Field.
The home team overpowered and outlasted an undermanned Wolfpack squad, who traveled with a shell of a roster normally nearly 50 deep.
"It was unfortunate that Spokane traveled so poorly," said Pit Bulls head coach Mark Ancheta. "It's hard to motivate the players to make it competitive, because it's tough to see the other team with such poor numbers, but it is what it is."
Ancheta's squad struggled early, scoring just seven points en route to a 7-0 halftime lead. But the home Pit Bulls awoke from their slumber in the second half, scoring four times and finishing Spokane with a show of force.
Washington County was playing without starting quarterback Cody Patterson, who recently suffered torn ligaments in the thumb of his throwing hand. Ancheta is still uncertain as to Patterson's availability going forward, but he considers his team fortunate to be able to get backup quarterback Kyron Carlson some action.
"We still don't know how long Cody will be out," Ancheta said. "So it was nice that Kyron was able to get some reps as the starter."
The Pit Bulls are 4-2 in regular season action this season and are currently seeded sixth in the 18-team, three-division Western Washington Football Alliance, which consists of teams from Oregon and Washington. Last season, the team played in the Pacific Football League, but it chose to move into the WWFA this year in search of better competition.
"Last year, we outscored our opponents like 153-7 over a five-week span," said Ancheta. "This a good step for my team because the competition is simply better. The WWFA, they have three of the top five teams in the northwest."
Ten teams make the playoffs, and the league's eventual champion will play teams from Idaho and California in a regional playoff, with the winner competing in the national championships later this year in Las Vegas. Ancheta's team, formerly branded the Portland Monarchs, played in the 2010 national championship playoffs, and the coach hopes that despite a young roster, it will return there in the near future.
"We recruited really, really young this year, and it's attributed to a lot of the growing pains," the coach said. "But we're enjoying the competition, and it's been fun watching the team develop."
The team, like most semi-pro football squads, is made up of a mixture of youth and elder statesmen, including players ranging from teens to men in their mid-30s. The Pit Bulls have a roster of 53 — 43 of whom suit up for games — and all of whom play for one thing: the love of the game.
"Our players put a lot on the line, and all for a shot at a national championship," Ancheta said. "There's a lot of sacrifices players make to stay on the field."
Washington County plays its final regular-season game versus the Washington Cavaliers at Woodland Middle School in Woodland, Wash., Saturday, July 14, at 6 p.m.