A 62-0 victory in their homecoming football game sounds like a perfect night for the Camas Papermakers. But not when the field gets littered with yellow flags.
Camas had drives disrupted and touchdowns taken away against Heritage because of blocks in the back, holding, illegal formations and other violations.
“When there’s penalties, we always try to focus on the next play,” said senior offensive and defensive lineman Matt Danis. “You can’t get caught up on the last play, and whether we think the call was right or wrong. Just go on to the next play.”
Head coach Jon Eagle pulled the first string players out of the game after they committed a series of penalties in the second quarter. At that point, two touchdowns had already been called back.
“You have to tip your hat to Heritage. They did some things that caused us some problems,” Eagle said. “It was just a lack of focus by our players. To me, they weren’t ready to play. They had to come off the field and think about it for awhile.”
It seemed to be the wake-up call the Papermakers needed.
“That’s not Camas Papermaker football right there,” said quarterback Reilly Hennessey. “Our coaches didn’t have to say anything to us. We knew.”
Once the starters returned to the field, James Price rose above the defender and snagged a 28-yard catch from Hennessey after the two had been denied a touchdown because of a flag. Hennessey then fired a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jorden Payne that pumped up the Camas side.
“I took it as a challenge,” Hennessey said. “When I went back out there, my thought was ‘it doesn’t matter who is on the other side, we are scoring a touchdown.’”
Zach Eagle got Doc Harris Stadium rocking again when he returned the punt for a 40-yard touchdown. Eagle also caught a 16-yard touchdown pass from Hennessey.
“The mistakes we made early were frustrating,” Hennessey said. “We had to dig down deep and get back to playing Papermaker football.”
Jason Vailea bowled into the end zone for a touchdown, following a 52-yard run by Cole Zarcone.
Charles Bronson scooped up a fumble and returned it to the Heritage 14-yard line. Jake Peebles ran the ball in for a touchdown.
Brendan Unger recovered a fumble on the next defensive series. Brian Kelly and Jordan Del Moral busted out several yards. Kelly capped off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run.
Coach Eagle said it was hard to keep the Papermakers focused on the game during homecoming week. They accumulated almost a football field’s worth of penalty yardage. They can’t afford to do that during the playoffs, when every inch counts.
“It’s a constant grind, but you have to get back to work, look at the film and try to correct the mistakes,” Eagle said. “You have to try and get better every day.”
The win by Camas and the loss by Battle Ground to Skyview means the Papermakers are the league champions and they own a number-one seed in the playoffs. If Camas can keep winning, they will get to play three more games in front of their fans at Doc Harris Stadium.
“We love playing in front of our crowd as many times as we can,” Danis said. “They deserve it. They come to all of our games. We want to make them happy.”
The Papermakers wrap up league play at Battle Ground Friday. Kick off is at 7 p.m.