On a Friday night 23 years ago in Ellensburg, Camas High School coach Joe Hallead was playing in his own homecoming football game. In his wildest dreams, he never could have imagined the nightmare that would haunt him for the rest of his life.
In the fourth quarter of that game, Hallead’s teammate and friend Kevin Jewitt made a tackle and never got back up. It wasn’t until after Ellensburg lost the game in double overtime that Hallead and his teammates found out that Jewitt had died.
“I was 16-years-old at the time and thinking I knew everything about the world,” Hallead said. “Life hit us pretty hard that night. Twenty-three years later, it still hurts.”
Jewitt passed away on Oct. 21, 1988. As Camas hosted it’s own homecoming football game on the same day 23 years later, Hallead was hit with a wave of emotions. For the occassion, he wore a wrist guard with the initials “K.J.” and the number “84.”
Hallead shares this story with students and athletes to teach them the importance of life. It could be all over in a heartbeat, so cherish the time you have living and breathing.
“Never take the friends, family and teammates you have for granted,” Hallead said. “Life is precious.”
Camas football won its homecoming game over Fort Vancouver 58-6 Friday. The Papermakers scored 28 points in the first quarter, and led 51-0 at halftime to start the running clock.
With the league championship in hand, Camas is aiming for one more win at Kelso before rolling into the playoffs. The time to live is now.
“Love your teammates, fight for each other, do the right things, and we’ll see how far this takes us up the mountain,” Hallead said.
Panthers fall out of playoff race
With both teams battling in the mud Friday at Longview Memorial Stadium, Mark Morris defeated Washougal 14-7 by scoring a game-winning touchdown with 30 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
The second league loss for the Panthers combined with Hockinson beating Woodland means Washougal has been eliminated from the playoff race.
The Panthers look to take their frustrations out on the first place Hawks this Friday, at Hockinson. A win would give Washougal a 7-2 record.
Read more about these Camas and Washougal games in Tuesday’s print edition of the Post-Record.
See you on the sidelines.