When the Camas High School football players grit their teeth at the line of scrimmage, opponents can see their pink mouth guards.
It’s a unified statement the Papermakers are delivering every Friday night. Not only are they fighting for championships, but they are also putting on the pads and the helmets for women stricken with breast cancer.
“This is something we wanted to make [people aware of] for our mothers, aunts and grandmothers by rocking the pink mouth pieces,” said senior running back Zack Marshall.
“I just smile and let everybody see it,” he added. “In this world, you never know what can happen. Cancer is serious. I thank God every day that my teammates and I are healthy and able to play football.”
Drs. Jared A. Franson and Joshua Hiller, of Franson Family Dentistry in downtown Camas, designed custom sports guards for the Papermakers. Each mouth piece is pink to help raise awareness for the Susan B. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research.
“Dr. Franson and Dr. Hiller, along with their staff and family, volunteered their time to fit our players on a Saturday in the scorching heat at no cost,” said Keesha Goodnow, mother of senior Kyle Goodnow. “Their dedication to our players and outreach to our Camas community is greatly appreciated.”
The pink pieces of protection stand out on the field, which fits the style of these Papermakers.
“I’m not afraid to wear pink or purple,” said senior defensive lineman Kamari Browm. “I embrace those colors.”
He said the team message is clear.
“A lot of families suffer from breast cancer,” Brown said. “We want to fight it.”
The Camas football players had plenty of reasons to show their pink smiles Friday. The Papermakers racked up 51 points in the first half at Kiggins Bowl, before rolling along to a 58-0 victory over the Hudson’s Bay Eagles.
Quarterback Tony Gennaro completed 10 of his 13 passes in the first half for 168 yards and two touchdowns to Zach Eagle and Dylan White. He also ran in a third touchdown for good measure. Marshall rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Nate Beasley also scored twice on a run and an interception return.
“It’s great to see a lot of guys get the ball and make plays all over the field,” Marshall said. “That’s what a good week of practice will do. We just had a fantastic week on the field, and it showed tonight.”
Camas scored nine points in the first three minutes of the game. Hudson’s Bay fumbled the ball out of the end zone to give the Papermakers a quick two points on a safety. Camas received the kick off, marched down the field and Marshall crossed the goal line on a 16-yard touchdown run.
Gennaro’s touchdowns came on a 49-yard pass to Eagle, a 1-yard pass to White and 5-yard run. Reilly Hennessey took over at quarterback in the second half, and delivered a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Eagle made two catches for 64 yards. Jonathan Warner also had a few grabs for 47 yards, and Jack Beall added two catches for 23 yards. Beasley was all over the field with 43 yards rushing, 36 yards receiving and a 38-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“We asked these kids to be better tacklers, and they did that,” said head coach Jon Eagle. “We asked them to work harder, prepare better and be better leaders off the field, and they did that.”
Camas (5-1, 4-0) challenges Heritage in a non-league game this Friday, at McKenzie Stadium in Vancouver. Kick off is at 8 p.m.
“I’m just real pleased with where are right now, as a group,” Eagle said. “Now the challenge is, are these kids willing to continue to do what they need to do in order to get better? I think we still have a lot to learn.”