Where it all begins, again

High school football teams get back to work

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Helmets and pads are where it all begins. By next Friday, Camas and Washougal will be playing football games again.

“This feels like rejuvenation,” said Camas High School head coach Jon Eagle. “It’s fun to get back into it, cause the last time we played football …” Camas lost the state championship to Chiawana by one point.

Eagle has nothing more to say about that game. It’s a new season. And what better way to kick off the next year than with a rematch between the Papermakers and the Riverhawks Friday, Sept. 5, at Doc Harris Stadium. The game starts at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling knowing we have another shot to prove ourselves,” said senior wide receiver James Price. “We’re doing all we can to prepare for the biggest game of our lives. No matter what happens, we know the city of Camas is behind us.”

Success plants seeds for future growth. Camas had more than 180 students out for football during the first week of practice, and 75 of them are freshmen.

Price said he sees competition for playing time at every position on the field. The one thing pushing all of these Papermakers is pride.

“Pride is the backbone of this team and this city,” Price said. “With that pride comes determination to be the best. If you don’t want to be the best, then you can’t play for Camas.”

Washougal is also off to a fresh start with new head coach Dave Hajek back with the program after spending six years as an assistant football coach at Union High School.

“I’m impressed with the kids’ attitude and determination,” he said. “I’m unknown to them and they’re unknown to me, and yet they are doing all they can to be successful. That’s all I could ask for.”

Senior running back and cornerback Tristan Roseff said it is both challenging and rewarding to get the group back together with a new coach and a new playbook.

“It’s been a lot of learning and a lot of mental focus,” Roseff said. “We just need that intensity to complete it all.”

After the first of two practices Friday, Roseff found the words to inspire his teammates to come back to the field in a few hours and work even harder.

“We don’t have a lot of time in this game. That came from the heart and what I’ve heard from all the seniors before,” Roseff said. “You’re already out here. Why not give it your all? The only reason we’re out here is to win football games.”

Washougal heads to Stevenson High School Friday, Sept. 5, for the first game of the season. Kick off is at 7 p.m.

Hajek said the Panthers in the helmets and football pads are buying into the new philosophy, but it’s going to be a long process.

“I hope they understand we are setting a tone. We want to improve this program at every level,” Hajek said. “If it means as much to them as it does to you, you hope they take this opportunity and run with it. Not sit back and wait for it to come to them.”