After three days of thinking and doing nothing but football, the Camas High School athletes and coaches are feeling more like a family.
A total of 72 Papermakers tasted life on a college campus by attending the Oregon State University football camp, June 24 to 27, in Corvallis. The boys stayed overnight in a dorm room and threw the ball around Reser Stadium, one of the premier college football fields in the Pacific Northwest.
Wide receiver Jonathan Warner, a senior for the Papermakers next fall, was invited for a personal workout in front of Beavers head coach Mike Riley.
“That’s what it’s all about, exposing kids to a college like atmosphere,” said Camas head coach Jon Eagle. “It’s neat seeing kids get these kinds of opportunities in high school. You know it’s something they will never forget.”
Camas, Prairie and Skyview were the three local high schools who attended the camp. The two-time defending camp champion Papermakers defeated Olympia, Yelm and Ferndale, of Humbolt, Calif., before losing to Skyview in the semifinals. Skyview also beat Prairie in the finals to bring home the camp trophy.
“Out of the whole experience, our team got a pretty good vibe,” Eagle said. “We have a great group of kids who are ready to say goodbye to last year and establish themselves as their own team.
“The goal is to defend the league championship, and to win every game,” he added. “Until we can get out there as a team, see what our kids can do and establish the things we need to work on to get better, it’s all just talk.”
Camas gets another crack at Skyview in the fourth week of the season. The game is scheduled for Friday. Sept. 23, at Kiggins Bowl. Before that, the Papermakers have their hands full with Timberline, Mountain View and Columbia River.
“Our goal now is to continue to get stronger, faster and more agile,” Eagle said. “Our numbers in the weight room so far this summer have been in the 50s. Our goal is to get as many kids as we can in there.”
When the Camas football players are playing games on Friday nights again in eight weeks, they can look back at this Oregon State camp as the start of becoming a family. They can see the light at the end of the tunnel. A family that lives together sticks together.
“We are pleased with our progress. We are a lot further along with this group than we thought we were,” Eagle said. “We still have a lot of things to work before the season starts, but now we have the confidence to take that next step together. This is all part of the process of becoming a better football program.”