The Camas football team is in its first 4A state tournament after a convincing 43-12 victory against South Kitsap Friday, at Doc Harris Stadium.
Nate Beasley rushed for 178 yards and scored three touchdowns. His first trip to the end zone came on a 33-yard run following an interception by Zach Eagle.
“It’s do or die now. From that first play on, I just had a different mentality,” Beasley said. “We’re driving on the road built by the guys who played here before us, while at the same time creating our own path for future classes to follow. And we’re doing all of this in 4A.”
On the second snap in the third quarter, Beasley broke off a 61-yard touchdown run to give the Papermakers a 43-0 lead. He also had a 9-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.
“The credit goes to the line,” Beasley said. “They opened the holes from the first play on.”
Reilly Hennessey threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns. Zach Eagle made a 38-yard touchdown catch and Jorden Payne snared a 16-yard touchdown catch. Eagle finished the game with nine catches for 118 receiving yards. He also intercepted a pass on the third play of the game. The Papermakers scored on the very next play and never looked back.
“Our defense was stellar,” said head coach Jon Eagle, adding that Camas outgained South Kitsap 338 yards to 7 in the first half.
Adam Dawson tackled the South Kitsap running back in the end zone for a Camas safety. Dawson, John Norcross, Colton Dowd, Nick Gadbaw, Vince Huber, Michael Digenova and Michael Johnson delivered some crushing blows.
“These kids get it done both on and off the field. The focus is on the team and not the individual,” said coach Eagle. “It doesn’t matter who scores the touchdown as long as we get the points. We want these kids to feel they are contributing and helping us get the ball into the end zone.”
The Camas players and coaches hear the debates every week. It’s hard not to when newspapers are ranking them top three in the state. But in reality, those are just fancy numbers. The Papermakers do not want to leave the field thinking some prediction interfered with their ability to play their best. As hard as it may be, they have to tone the voices out and play football one game at a time and one snap at a time.
“We tell the kids every week, ‘don’t believe the hype,’” Eagle said. “You’re a player, not a fan. Control the things you can control.”
The results spoke for themselves. Skyview, who played for the 4A state championship last season, didn’t even make it into the bracket this year. Camas expected to be playing Kentridge in the first round of state, but the previously undefeated Chargers lost to Arlington 21-14. So it will be the Eagles and the Papermakers Saturday, at Doc Harris Stadium. Kick off is at 6 p.m.
“Anything can happen. This is still a game played by humans,” Beasley said. “We have to be in the right mentality, and in the right position on every play, if we want to be as good as everybody says we are.”
The Papermakers delivered a sixth sense from playing so much football together since they were in elementary school.
“It’s like we’re all brothers,” Beasley said. “We know exactly where we need to be in order to make a play on the ball.”
Coach Eagle couldn’t agree more with that statement.
“When these kids know their assignment, they can get to the ball that much quicker,” he said. “When you can trust the guy lining up right next to you, it’s a huge advantage.
“That’s why everybody wants to coach in a one horse town,” Eagle added. “It wasn’t just me. It was all of these youth coaches who dedicated time to these kids.”