Redemption received. Respect earned.
The Camas High School football players achieved both of those goals by defeating Lakes 53-14 Friday, at Harry Lang Stadium in Lakewood. The Papermakers dedicated their victory to the members of the 2010 team, who won the first state playoff game in school history before losing to Lakes in the quarterfinals.
“It was a special group because they took Camas further than it had ever gone before. We all looked up to them,” said junior offensive lineman Drew Clarkson. “This was the toughest team we have gone up against this season, but we went out there and beat them for all those guys who had lost that playoff game.”
Jon Eagle was at a loss for words during the post-game huddle. He said this was the best team performance he has seen in 30 years of coaching.
“To go far, you have to come to places like Seattle and Tacoma and play well,” Eagle said. “I hope these kids realize what they just did. To come up here and beat a team of this caliber means a lot for program.
“At the end of the road, winning and losing is not that important. If the kids played as hard as they could, nothing else matters,” he added. “These kids always play hard, and that’s why I’m proud to be their coach.”
The Papermakers built a 29-0 lead before the Lancers could pierce their armor. It all started with an interception by Michael Digenova on the second play of the game. Camas wasted little time getting the ball into the end zone on a 2-yard run by Nate Beasley.
A couple of penalties pushed the Papermakers into a third-down and 24 yards to go situation on their next possession. With lots of protection from his front line, Reilly Hennessey had plenty of time to find Connor Maloney open in the middle of the field. Maloney made a leaping catch for a first down. On the next play, Hennessey saw that Beasley was all alone on the left wing. He placed his pass perfectly, Beasley caught it on the fly and left the defenders in the dust on a 55-yard dash into the end zone.
Beasley racked up four touchdowns in the game. He gave credit to Clarkson, Troy Patterson, Jason Vailea and Luke Minder for creating those breakthroughs.
“I didn’t expect to put four in today. Lakes is pretty good competition,” Beasley said. “It’s a team effort. The running back and the quarterback get the attention, but it’s the linemen who are doing all the work. If they don’t get the good blocks, we don’t get the good runs.”
Adam Dawson planted the Lakes quarterback on defense to get the ball back for Camas. Zach Eagle turned a short pass from Hennessey into a 34-yard gain. Beasley finished off the drive with runs of 17 and 8 yards into the end zone.
Roldan Alcobendas set a new school record with a 52-yard field goal last week. On Friday, he kicked the ball through the uprights from 32 and 47 away. He attempted a third kick from 51 yards out that had the distance, but the ball sailed wide of the goal post by about an inch.
“To have my coaches and teammates trust me from anywhere, it touches my heart,” Alcobendas said. “I missed one today. If I got to go 50 again, I’ll be ready.”
Eagle hooked up with Hennessey on a 24-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Eagle finished the game with four catches for 100 receiving yards. Hennessey completed 15 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns. Beasley and Vince Huber combined for 137 rushing yards.
Maloney made an interception on defense. Jorden Payne returned a punt for a 68-yard touchdown to kick start the running clock in the fourth quarter.
“I’ll just remember how well we played on defense and moved the ball on offense. We put it all together in this game,” Maloney said. “We were proud to represent Camas and all of Southwest Washington in this game. This win felt good, but now all our focus has to be on Skyview and the start of league play.”
The Papermakers welcome the Storm to Doc Harris Stadium Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. It will be the first 4A Greater St. Helens League game in Camas history.
“It’s going to be a huge game. We know Skyview is going to bring it,” Clarkson said. “Just rely on the guy next to you, and our coaches, and we can accomplish anything.”