Camas upends Skyview 17-7 to get to .500 on the season and remain perfect in league play
They were annoyed.
They were angry, too.
They battled in those tough games, but they were always on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
It was four weeks of frustration.
There was never any doubt, though.
Not with these Camas Papermakers.
Annoyed. Angry. Frustrated. Sure.
But they also were learning, adjusting, growing.
The Papermakers took those four losses, all the while knowing that those defeats would prepare them for the games that matter the most.
On Friday night, the Camas Papermakers assured themselves of at least a share of the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League title, taking down Skyview 17-7 at Doc Harris Stadium.
Next, the Papermakers have a shot at winning the title outright, going up against rival Union in the regular-season finale.
If that happens, well there could be a bit of chaos when figuring out just how to seed a league champion with four overall losses.
It’s the kind of chaos that Camas would not mind at all.
For folks outside of the football program, all of this might have seemed far-fetched after the 0-4 start.
Of course, those four losses came against Oregon playoff teams, some of the top-rated teams in the Northwest.
But then the Papermakers got a win. And another. And even one against Tumwater, the top-ranked Class 2A team in Washington that performs as well as any 4A or 3A program.
Then the return to league play in Weeks 8 and 9 for the Papermakers. This was Week 8.
This. Was. Camas. Football.
The Papermakers held Skyview, a team that scored 37 in a win over Union last week, to one touchdown. The Storm rushed for 69 yards.
While the Camas offense did not score a lot on Friday, the offense did control the ball, rushing for close to 200 yards. Jon Schultz had 164 yards on 30 carries.
That was enough to get the Papermakers close enough for a 32-yard field goal from Ethan Ouchi late in the third quarter to take a 10-7 lead.
Even though the next drive did not produce points, the Camas offense got into the red zone. Skyview would get the ball on a turnover, but the field position still belonged to the Papermakers.
Three plays later, Zach Blair intercepted a Skyview pass and returned it to the 12-yard line.
The next play, Camas was up by 10 points when quarterback Taylor Ioane noticed Nathan Criddle was standing all alone, with no defender on him. Easy touchdown pass to Criddle.
Skyview, in desperation mode, converted on two fourth-down plays on its next drive. But the Storm missed a field goal with 4:27 remaining, still down by 10 points.
Skyview would get the ball one more time, but the Camas defense was up to the challenge. Again. Holt Williams had two fourth-quarter sacks for the Papermakers.
“This is everything for us. We know we’re the best defense in the state, and we just proved it,” Williams said.
Jairus Phillips had a fourth-quarter sack, as well.
“We knew coming into this game that our defense was going to play,” Phillips said. “We knew that we needed to come out here and execute, we needed to play together, we needed to communicate, we needed to do it all, and we really did. It really showed tonight.”
Ready for this
Jack Hathaway, in his first year as head coach at Camas, took over a program and had perhaps the toughest non-league schedule a Clark County team has ever faced.
Central Catholic. Clackamas. Jesuit. West Linn. All four teams still ranked in the top 10 in Oregon.
It turned into four losses for Camas, but four competitive games. Four learning experiences.
Now look at the Papermakers.
“I don’t think you can say there is a team out there that is as battle-tested as us,” Phillips said. “Our schedule was ridiculous. Our first four games didn’t go as we wanted, but they definitely made us better. It really helped us against the Washington teams.”
“We never doubted,” added defensive lineman Brock Thornburg. “Those were some hard games to start with. It was a hard start, but we learned from it, and we got better.”
In time for the Skyview game.
“Those four games definitely helped us,” Schultz said. “Skyview didn’t have any of those tough games. Once they got in a fight like that … that’s what got us an advantage.”
“Our team is focused,” Hathaway said. “We went through that 0-4 start. That hurt us a lot. But it made us work harder. It prepared us for games like this and next week.”
QB with the IQ
Camas did not throw the ball much on Friday. No need to, once the offensive line and running back Jon Schultz started chewing up the yards.
But there was one pass that wasn’t even supposed to be a pass. And it was huge.
“No one lined up on me,” receiver Nathan Criddle said. “I was just standing there, tapping my helmet. I ran to the end zone and just waited for it.”
Quarterback Taylor Ioane got the signal, and he changed the play. After all, how often does a quarterback prepare to take a snap and see that one of his receivers is all alone, no defender on him?
“I believe it was a run play,” Criddle said. “He saw me. Great play by Taylor.”
It was a 12-yard touchdown pass that gave Camas a 17-7 lead with 8:40 to play in the game.
The way the Camas defense was playing, it was pretty much Game Over.
“I’ve run out of things to say,” Hathaway said about his team’s defense.
Well, no he hasn’t. Because just after he said that, he said this:
“They’re smart, they’re physical, they’re fast, they’re coached well, and they play hard. When it comes down to it, they believe in each other, and they do their job.”
A week ago, Skyview scored four touchdowns and kicked three field goals.
This week, just one touchdown. The Storm were held to 69 yards rushing.
Camas ended up rushing for 196 yards, but if you take away a team-loss of 21 yards on a bad snap, the Papermakers surpassed the 200-yard mark. Against a defense that held Union to one touchdown last week.
“I think our O-line coach (Justen Wochnich) does a great job with those boys making adjustments throughout the game. I trust him and what he’s seeing,” Hathaway said. “Our boys up front, they battled. They are super aggressive, and they don’t quit. We executed really well.”
Schultz had a career-high 30 carries to get his 164 yards.
“Schultzie just saw the right gaps, saw the right holes, and he made the right cuts,” Hathaway said. “We had something going there.”
Camas’ victory on Friday ensures either a chaotic ending in the 4A GSHL or a chaotic meeting come seeding time.
Here is what this week’s result means for next week:
Camas is 2-0 in the 4A GSHL. Skyview has completed league play at 2-1. Union is 1-1. Camas takes on Union.
If Camas beats Union, Camas is the 4A GSHL champion, and Skyview is the No. 2 team. Those will be the playoff teams.
If Union beats Camas, then all three teams are 2-1. (For what it’s worth, in the abbreviated spring season, Union beat Camas, Skyview beat Union, and Camas beat Skyview.)
If there is a three-way tie, there will be some sort of tiebreaker with all three teams finding a place to play in whatever tiebreaker system the athletic directors come up with to determine the two teams to go to the playoffs.
Now, if Camas does win next week, it’s simple, as far as the 4A GSHL goes. But then what?
This year, for the first time, the Week 10 state preliminary playoff games are being seeded by a committee of ADs. Don’t worry Camas. There should be no way that Camas goes on the road in Week 10 should the Papermakers go 3-0 in the 4A GSHL. But in theory, a 5-4 team could be seeded as a road team. (Again, very, very unlikely in Camas’ situation. The record is one thing. But human beings who can read a schedule will see the bigger picture.)
Let’s go beyond Week 10. If Camas wins in Week 9, then wins the state preliminary round game, it will go to state on a six-game winning streak but also with a 6-4 record. Could the Papermakers get a top-eight seed and a home game in the first round of state?
That’s going to be interesting. The committee should take into account the team’s tough schedule. Should take into account the team’s history. Camas is, after all, the last team to win a 4A state championship.
But looking at the standings throughout the state right now, I see six undefeated Class 4A teams, and five more with one loss. Of course, not every one of those teams will remain undefeated or with one loss, and more than one might not even make it to state. Regardless, it might be tough to convince everyone that a team with four losses should leap past a one-loss team. Or even a two-loss team.
Should Camas win the next two games to get to 6-4, things might get chaotic in the state seeding committee.
Camas vs. Union, 4:30 p.m. Friday at McKenzie Stadium.
Fans need to be reminded this is the early game at McKenzie next week.
The players won’t need a reminder.
“This is what we’ve been getting ready for all year,” Williams said.
“We’ve got to come out and punch them in the mouth,” Phillips said. “We have to come out and play and do what Camas does. We’ve got to do it the Camas way.”
Then carry over that philosophy into Week 10 and beyond, he added.
“We can’t have days off. We have to bring it every day, every week, non-stop, 24/7,” Phillips said.
Hathaway told his players to enjoy Friday’s win over Skyview. But the focus must quickly turn to Union.
“We’ve got to play our best game to beat them,” Hathaway said. “Our business is not done yet.”
Article Source: Clark County Today