Josiah Pacheco was the eye in the storm for the Papermaker boys soccer team.
The junior jumped at the opportunity to play center forward, and delivered a goal and an assist to help Camas beat the Union Titans 2-1 Thursday at Doc Harris Stadium.
“Every game, I get in my zone and give 100 percent,” Pacheco said. “If I ever come off the field feeling like I didn’t give my all, I feel disappointed in myself.”
With three minutes left on the clock in the first half, the game was still scoreless. That’s when Pacheco stole the ball from the Titans and fired a perfect pass to an open Nate Beasley on the left wing. Beasley skipped the ball across the turf into the far right corner of the net for a goal.
“Nate’s always really fast. I knew if I got him a through ball, he would go right after the goal and take the shot,” Pacheco said. “It’s suspenseful watching the ball bounce around like it did. I’m glad nobody touched it.”
The celebration for Camas would be short lived. Union tied the game on a sudden goal with 55 seconds left on the clock. After the Titans took the momentum into the locker room at halftime, head coach Roland Minder told the Papermakers to get it back.
“Minder told us to step up,” Pacheco said. “It’s a tie game now. They are going to work 10 times harder because they want to win.”
Roldan Alcobendas set the stage for Pacheco’s decisive goal. He curled the ball around the defender and fired a laser beam that took the opposing goalkeeper off his feet.
“I received the ball and heard coach Minder say ‘turn, turn, turn,’” Alcobendas said. “Then, I saw the open net and just went for it. Thankfully, Josiah was there to put it away.”
Pacheco followed the ball the whole way and finished the deal.
“It was beautiful shot by Roldan. The keeper fumbled the ball, and I was right there,” Pacheco said. “I just laid on Roldan and said ‘thank you.’ A goal like that brings so much energy to the game. The adrenaline kicks in and the fans are screaming. It’s a great feeling.”
The wind and rain picked up steadily in the second half, but Camas maintained control. Union launched a free kick from long range, but goalkeeper Connor Heredia stepped right up and made the save.
“Having Connor in goal is such a tremendous help to the team this year,” Minder said. “He’s my favorite kind of guy — blue collar. Brings it all the time.”
Camas (7-0, 4-0) jumps back into league play after spring break. The Papermakers play at Kelso Wednesday, at 4 p.m.
“We can’t walk into that match just thinking we’re going to win it,” Alcobendas said. “Every game is a fight for the state championship.”