Busting down the Tacoma Dome door

Camas football team challenges defending state champion Skyline on Saturday

Nate Beasley cuts by three defenders and inches toward his fifth touchdown of the game Saturday, at Doc Harris Stadium. Camas hammered Federal Way 65-32 to earn the opportunity to play in the Tacoma Dome again this weekend. Buy this photo

Camas football team challenges defending state champion Skyline on Saturday

Before carving the turkey Thursday, the Papermakers will still be playing football.

Camas hammered Federal Way 65-32 in the state quarterfinals, at Doc Harris Stadium. After busting the door down to the Tacoma Dome, the Papermakers are ready to test themselves against defending state champion Skyline Saturday, at 1 p.m., to see if they can become the best football team in Camas history.

“Everyone is thrilled to be going back to the dome, but it’s also bittersweet because we know we only have a few more games left,” said junior running back Nate Beasley. “This was already our last game at Doc Harris. At any moment, it could be all over. We can’t look too far ahead, and we can’t take these wins for granted no matter what the scoreboard says. We have to live in the present and play each play like it’s our last.”

Beasley torched Federal Way to the tune of 249 yards rushing, 47 yards receiving and five touchdowns. He couldn’t have made those many trips into the end zone without the assists from his linemen. He said they were clearing the road as far as 10- to 20-yards ahead of him.

“I love my line. Most of the time, they are the ones doing all the work,” Beasley said. “We’ve been through a lot together over the years. We go to dinner together and we do homework together. It’s just a great relationship I have with those guys.”

Reilly Hennessey threw touchdown passes to Dylan White and Beasley. He also ran the football into the end zone once for three touchdowns in the game.

“I look around and I don’t just see my teammates. I see my brothers and my best friends, and I see my town cheering us on every step of the way,” Hennessey said. “That’s what makes these moments special. I’m still shaking when I think about it. We all did this together.”

The first dance in the Tacoma Dome was overwhelming for the Papermakers. Beasley said it was scary coming in to run the football after Zach Marshall broke his thumb. Hennessey watched desperately from the sidelines as his teammates stumbled against O’Dea.

Camas then saw Skyline handle Skyview in the 4A state title game the following weekend. Since moving up to the 4A classification this fall, the Papermakers have dreamed of this match up with the defending state champions.

“This is just such a great opportunity for Camas,” said senior lineman Luke Minder. “It’s going to be a big challenge, but we’re going to play as hard as we can, leave it all out on that field and hopefully come out with a victory.”

“Skyline is on such a high pedestal. I can’t wait for our chance to try and knock them off,” Hennessey added. “Win or lose, I am so grateful for what we have accomplished so far. We’ve already had an excellent season. But when it’s all over, I want to be able to say we beat the very best and showed everybody that Camas can play some football.”

After the victory against Federal Way, head coach Jon Eagle was proud to tell the boys they have to practice on Thanksgiving for the second year in a row. He then piled some gravy on top of the turkey and mashed potatoes.

“Camas has been playing football for over 100 years, and this is the first time the team has won 12 games in a season,” Eagle said. “I’m super proud of our kids for the way they play and prepare every single week.”

This week will be no different. It’s time to paper the Tacoma Dome again.

“That’s the dream, to be able to bring your community up with you to the dome,” said senior linebacker John Norcross. “It’s a great thing to accomplish in your senior year, but we couldn’t have done it without our juniors. It’s just a great year to be a Camas Papermaker.”