Playing for the love of football

Papermakers host Monroe Friday at Doc Harris

Fourteen Camas High School football players surprised the fourth- and fifth-grade CCYF Camas Cardinals by showing up at their playoff game Saturday, at Fishback Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Hawks 20-19 in double overtime.

Fourteen Camas High School football players traveled back into time Saturday.

Nate Beasley, Drew Clarkson, Matt Danis, Michael DiGenova, Chris Durrett, Zach Eagle, Caleb Eldred, Reilly Hennessey, Dustin Krecklow, Jorden Payne, Brendan Unger, Dylan White, Dalton Wunderlich and Ethan Young watched the Camas Cardinals fourth- and fifth-grade Clark County Youth Football team beat the Hawks 20-19 in double overtime at Fishback Stadium.

“You see a little guy running exactly like you did at that age, and it makes you wonder what our program is going to look like when these kids get to high school,” said Beasley, a senior running back. “These are the younger brothers and sisters of the players on the team today. It shows how close knit our community is, and how our legacy continues.”

This playoff game featured the second place teams from the South and North divisions. The Cardinals finished with a 7-1 record and the Hawks were 5-2.

The score was tied 6-6 at the end of regulation. Both teams earned a touchdown and an extra point in the first overtime. The Cardinals got the ball first in the second overtime and delivered a touchdown and an extra point. The Hawks answered with a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line, but fumbled the snap on the extra point try. And that how the game ended.

The Camas Cardinals are Mason Packer, Justin Taylor, Quaid Milholen, Parker Shattuck, Ryan Niziol, Jadon Popp, Owen Brown, Nathan Criddle, Andrew Sauer, Jackson Knuth, Kevin Simpson, Nathan Farra, Kellen Patterson, Luke Jamison, Jairus Phillips, Tommy Taylor, Joshua Gagnon, Brian Hoff, Jacob Burkholder, Tyler Vigil, Owen McGuire, Jack Martin, Kellen Mason, Noah Corbin, Tyler Schiffman, Gavin Toliver, Kara Coleman, Brock Thornburg, Adam Schembs, Garrett Perkins and Owen Jacobs-Brown.

Most of the CHS football players got their start in CCYF and thought it would be a good idea to cheer on the Papermakers of the future.

“It was pretty cool seeing how much these kids enjoy playing the game,” Eagle said. “I remember when I was their age. I wanted to be a CHS football player someday. These kids look up to us and we want to set a good example for them to follow.”

The Papermakers of the present are about to begin their playoff odyssey. They have been waiting for this week since losing to Skyline in the state semifinals, at the Tacoma Dome.

“It’s a bigger stage, but we have to treat it like any other game,” Eagle said. “If we’re not working, we know somebody else is. We have to get better every day.”

Battle Ground seemed to bring out the best in Camas Friday, at District Stadium. Tiger quarterback Colston Vukanovich tossed six touchdown passes. Battle Ground traded jabs with Camas in the first half. Then the Papermakers turned a 49-32 lead at halftime into an 85-38 victory.

“It was kind of nice to see our players come out with a playoff type attitude in that second half,” said head coach Jon Eagle. “I hadn’t seen that from our sideline in awhile.”

Beasley and Eagle each scored four touchdowns. Eagle returned the first punt of the game for a 60-yard score. He also caught 50-yard and 60-yard touchdown passes from Hennessey. Beasley delivered three touchdowns during a 29-6 third quarter for the Papermakers.

“By the second half, you could tell it was going to be a closer game. The environment needed to change,” Beasley said. “Our defense showed up in the second half. You can put points on the board, but defense wins championships.”

Camas is determined to get off on the right foot against Monroe High School Friday, at Doc Harris Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.

“We want to chisel down those rough edges and build a more perfect team,” Beasley said. “Friday wins come on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. They don’t come on Friday without preparation.”

These Papermakers have come so far since their CCYF days. They are thankful to still be playing football when so many other teams in the state have packed it in for the season.

“It’s chilly and the rain is coming down, but it’s a blast,” Zach Eagle said. “We still love playing the game of football.”