Defense fed the offense for the Camas High School football team Friday, at Doc Harris Stadium.
The Papermakers pounded the Canby Cougars 31-7. There were no fumble recoveries or interceptions. Just plenty of crash and burn when the Cougars tried to test the Papermakers.
“That just represents Camas defense,” said senior linebacker John Norcross. “We can get beat on the block, but we’re always going to give 100 percent and fight back. We just kept hitting them and stomping them. It was definitely a defensive game.”
The biggest play of the game came midway through the first quarter. Canby moved into Camas territory, but opted to go for it on fourth down instead of kicking a field goal. Jason Vailea and Luke Minder led a Papermaker gang tackle to stop the Cougars dead in their tracks and get the ball back.
Camas built more momentum with first down passes from Reilly Hennessey to Michael Digenova and Jack Beall. Nate Beasley added a run and a catch for first downs to keep moving the chains. Finally, Vince Huber broke loose down the left sideline for a 21-yard dash and smash into the end zone.
“The outside edge was perfectly blocked. I saw nothing but open grass and kept going,” Huber said. “The offensive line and the running backs all fight as one. They got the blocks and I kept moving my feet. It was nice to see everyone working hard out there.”
Beall tackled the opposing running back for a loss on the next series for Canby. Huber and Nick Gadbow then sandwiched the quarterback as the first quarter came to a close. The Cougars fought their way into scoring position again, only to be pushed back again on big tackle by Zach Eagle. This time Canby tried to kick a field goal, but the ball missed the uprights by a wide margin.
“The defense was totally fired up tonight,” Huber said. “Everyone was making an effort to get to the ball.”
Camas added one more touchdown before halftime. Beasley got the drive started with a nice run for a first down. After the Papermakers were pushed back about 20 yards, Hennessey fired a 17-yard dagger up the middle and Eagle made the catch in the air. Beasley then followed his bulldozing offensive linemen for a first-and-goal situation.
It was up to Norcross to get the ball into the end zone, but he didn’t make it easy. He mishandled the snap and fumbled the pick up, but finally got a hold of the ball and slithered over the top of two defensive linemen to score the touchdown.
“Jason Vailea hit the hole perfectly, and I was able to go right over the top,” Norcross said. “What made it so great for the other guys was seeing the relieved look on my face. It was such an intense emotion of panic and relief.”
Roldan Alcobendas kicked a 31-yard field goal for Camas in the third quarter, and Norcross added a 5-yard touchdown run. Beasley then turned a shovel pass from Hennessey into a 56-yard sprint down the right sideline for a touchdown.
Nick Napier delivered one of the final big hits by the Papermaker defenders. It was a special moment for the senior after he broke his ankle during a pre-game warm up last season.
“Defense is something we’re really proud of at Camas,” Napier said. “That hit was the best feeling in the world. When I got hurt, I knew there was a chance I might never make it back out on that field. Now that I have, I definitely appreciate the game more.”
Camas (2-0) hosts Auburn-Mountainview Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m., at Doc Harris Stadium.