The Camas High School soccer team wrapped up the league championship with three games to spare Friday, but the boys didn’t celebrate.
This is the fourth league title for the seven seniors on the team, but they are determined to fulfill their dream of playing soccer in the Final Four.
Despite a 13-0 record, Camas still has to win the district championship game Tuesday, May 12 at Doc Harris Stadium. If not, the Papermakers could see their string of 16 straight state tournament appearances come to an end. Which is why Friday was not the time to celebrate.
“Districts is all that we’re thinking about,” said co-captain Bennett Lehner. “We want that title because you go straight to state.”
Lehner sat out two games, and the first half of Friday’s match, with a separated shoulder. The junior played with his right arm in a brace, but that didn’t stop him from scoring two goals to help the Papermakers beat Union 3-0.
“He played with his shoulder tied to his side,” said head coach Roland Minder. “He definitely gave us a boost in the second half. No question.”
Camas gained a 1-0 advantage on a trick shot by Danny Wing. The opposing goalkeeper got caught out of the box on a failed attempt to make a save. Cayne Cardwell chipped the ball past the keeper and Wing headed it into the empty net.
“I saw the ball go up, and I knew I had to attack that,” Wing said. “It was a great assist by Cayne. He played it to me perfectly.”
Steady rainfall made navigating the field an adventure, but the Papermakers soldiered on. Camas goalkeeper Brian Murray snagged six saves.
“The conditions were horrible,” Minder said. “I thought we were going to have to get out the hip waders and paddles.”
“You never knew where the touches and ball bounces were going to go,” Wing said. “We just had to keep our heads above water and not stop working.”
Lehner received the ball in open space midway through the second half, used his legs to defeat the keeper and was awarded with the second goal of the game.
Camas feasted on the net during the final 20 minutes. Lehner dribbled the ball around the defenders and delivered it into the back of the net before time expired.
The Papermakers play Skyview tonight, at Kiggins Bowl. Camas hosts Battle Ground Friday, at Doc Harris Stadium, before facing Union Tuesday, May 5, at Mckenzie Stadium. All three games start at 7 p.m.
The Papermakers have two weeks to heal and prepare for the district championship match.
“The pressure is off for the next few games,” Minder said. “Although you know everybody is still gunning for us. That’s just the nature of the beast.”