It didn’t take long for the Camas football team to catch playoff fever.
Monroe pulled a fast one by recovering a short opening kick off to begin the game. It turned out to be the shot in the arm the Papermakers needed.
Michael DiGenova intercepted a pass on the next play to turn the tables for Camas. The Papermakers scored touchdowns on their first seven possessions and buried the Bearcats 55-20 Friday, at Doc Harris Stadium.
“It’s always great to start with a play like that in a big game like this one,” DiGenova said. “As long as we keep putting points on the board, and the defense keeps playing like they play, good things will come.”
Camas went on a 28-0 scoring drive in the first quarter. Nate Beasley delivered an 11-yard touchdown run. Zach Eagle caught a 22-yard touchdown pass from Reilly Hennessey. James Price snagged two touchdown passes from Hennessey in the first quarter. He finished with six catches for 138 receiving yards in the game.
“It’s an honor to be able to make big plays in big games. At any moment, it can be taken away from you. It’s nice to rise to the occasion,” Price said. “It’s more than just putting points on the board, it’s helping this community. Whatever I can do to help this team and this town, that’s what I’m going to do.”
The Papermakers led 49-0 by halftime. Beasley added two more touchdown runs in the second quarter and Brian Kelly had one.
Camas offensive lineman Payton Rusu said the Papermakers were getting “great surge” on every snap. He couldn’t have imagined his first start in a playoff game going any better.
“This is definitely going to be in my head when I go to sleep tonight,” Rusu said. “We just want to play every play like it’s our last, go all out and give everything we got. You never know when it’s going to be over.”
Hennessey fired a short pass to Kelly that turned into a 29-yard touchdown. Hennessey completed 15 of his 19 passes for 318 yards and four touchdowns. He gave credit to Price, Eagle, Kelly and DiGenova for making fantasic catches.
“They have been doing it all year, week in and week out,” Hennessey said. “I’m just throwing the ball and they are doing the rest. It all starts with those five guys up front.”
Head coach Jon Eagle said the Papermakers were prepared and determined to keep their season going strong.
“When you’re faced with the prospect that this might be your last game, it all comes down to how you’re going to play,” he said. “We have high expectations for this season. We’re one step closer to where we want to be.”
Camas hosts Cascade in the first round of the state tournament Saturday, at Doc Harris Stadium. Kickoff is at 4 p.m.
The Papermakers have been to this dance before, but they are not taking anything for granted.
“I’ve been in these playoffs for three years,” said senior defensive lineman Jason Vailea. “You think it would get old, but I still get nervous and I still get fired up like it’s the last game I will ever play.”