In order to play football for the next four weeks, these brothers from Camas are going to have to make every single day count.
On the field, and in the classroom, weight room and film room. No stone can be left unturned.
“Never get tired of the grind,” said senior wide receiver and defensive back James Price. “It’s not any easy thing to do in a physical game like football, but championship teams are the ones who never stop working. Anything can happen. We learned that the hard way.”
Price and the Papermakers haven’t forgotten about the 2013 state tournament ending with a one-point loss to Chiawana in the championship game. Since that dark December day, these brothers picked up their town and started rebuilding the road back to state.
And now the journey begins again Saturday, when Camas (10-0) hosts Bellarmine Prep, at Doc Harris Stadium. Kickoff is at 5 p.m.
Head coach Jon Eagle said these Papermakers had a lot to prove after Camas made it to the Final Four in 2012 and 2013, and the championship game in 2014.
“Until the kids do it and achieve it, that’s when they really start to believe,” Eagle said. “Not a lot of people thought we would be 10-0. Our kids should be confident, but they can’t just go out there and coast. You have to be mentally and physically prepared on every play, or you’re going to be done.”
Camas came out flat in the first half of Friday’s state qualifying game against Tahoma before scoring five touchdowns in a row to 47-18 victory. Cole Zarcone rushed for 108 yards and scored two touchdowns. Bryan Kelly added 90 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Liam Fitzgerald threw for 239 yards, including touchdown passes to Jared Bentley and Price.
Eagle said Tahoma quarterback and defensive lineman Amandre Williams kept the Bears in the game on both sides of the field. He racked up 476 passing yards, but the Papermakers held him to just two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Camas made a big defensive stand before halftime and then scored four touchdowns in the third quarter to kick start the running clock.
Price said the Papermakers will need a 48-minute effort to take down a determined Bellarmine Prep team, who was also supposed to be “rebuilding.” These teams squared off in the semifinals a year ago. Now they’re kicking off state against each other.
“The only way we can make our dreams come true is to keep pushing hard in practice,” Price said. “Camas has a lot of pride in its football program. It means the world to me to be a brother for four years, give back to the youth and keep the tradition alive.”