Down a receiver just before the first league game of the season, Jonathan Warner wanted to step up and show what he could do.
The Camas High School senior made two touchdown catches in the first quarter Friday, and the Papermakers were off and running to a 31-0 victory over Mountain View at Doc Harris Stadium.
Warner finished the game with 10 grabs for 131 yards receiving. He dedicated his performance to Nick Napier, who broke his leg during the pre-game warm up and had to be taken off the field on a stretcher.
“Anytime that ball was coming my way, I told myself I got to catch this one for Napier. He was definitely on our minds and in our hearts the whole game,” Warner said. “We knew this game means a lot because it could be for the league championship. I just wanted to step up and prove myself. Those two touchdowns felt so great.”
Camas quarterback Tony Gennaro was on target. The senior completed 14 passes for 191 yards and three touchdowns. Gennaro and Warner connected on 8- and 15-yard touchdown passes in the first quarter. He also led Chris Galusha into the end zone on an 8-yard pass to give the Papermakers a 28-0 lead at halftime.
“We were finally able to get the offense into the end zone. It feels great after all of that hard work,” Gennaro said. “Our offensive line, by far, won the game for us. They gave us time to execute our plays and get the offense rolling.”
The Camas defense was just as unforgiving. Mountain View marched into scoring position early in the second quarter. By then, the Thunder already trailed 14-0. As the opposing quarterback dropped back to pass, Kamari Brown blind sided him and stripped the ball. A bunch of Papermakers dove for the ball and got it back.
Gennaro and Warner hooked up in the end zone for a third time, but the touchdown was erased because of pass interference. Camas back peddled and punted, but on the very next play, John Norcross stole the ball and scored a touchdown for the Papermakers.
“I knocked the ball loose, and Norcross was right there again to pick it up,” said senior linebacker Scott Feather. “That’s his third score off a fumble in two weeks. He’s our good luck charm.”
Mountain View did not have much better luck in the second half. Brown, Feather, Galusha, Norcross, Kyle Goodnow and Jason Vailea stopped the Thunder on fourth down twice. Nate Beasley snatched the third fumble of the night.
“We were able to keep our composure on defense and rally for the ball,” Galusha said. “These guys have been living in the shadow for far too long. We take what we do seriously in practice, and then we go out there, have fun and hit hard. We live for this game. That’s what we do.”
Roldan Alcobendas nailed a 43-yard field goal for the final three points of the game.
Camas (2-0) has put the 3A Greater St. Helens League on notice. Now, the Papermakers look to keep rolling on the road. Camas heads to Columbia River Friday. Kick off is at 7 p.m.
“I hope this game shows that we are not to be taken lightly, and that we are a team to contend with,” Warner said. “Last year was great. Now, it’s our turn to step up.”