The Camas High School boys soccer team sidestepped the district trap and grabbed the championship May 12, at Doc Harris Stadium.
A needle and thread between teammates helped the Papermakers weave three goals to defeat Mountain View 3-0 and secure their 17th straight appearance in the state tournament.
“This has been our goal since the beginning of the season — league champions, first in districts and not getting stuck having to play that second game,” said senior captain Josh Stoller. “It was a full team effort. Not one person stood out.”
After seven days to rest and refocus, the Papermakers play Tahoma in the first round of the state tournament Wednesday, 7 p.m., at Doc Harris Stadium.
Camas and Mountain View played with a sense of urgency to score the first goal from the opening kickoff. Cayne Cardwell, Cameron Eyman and Bennett Lehner took a few cracks at the net, unsuccessfully. The Thunder earned a few free kicks in scoring range. Camas keeper Brian Murray leaped up and snagged one of the shots on target.
“It started off intense,” Stoller said. “Both teams were giving it their all.”
The Papermakers finally broke through in the 26th minute. Lehner used his hip to direct a chip shot by Danny Wing past the keeper and into the net. Lehner struck again in the 62nd minute off a cross from Jakob Cavin.
“All week, we worked on linking the forwards and midfielders,” Lehner said. “It would have been hard for me to miss those balls by Danny and Jakob. They had pinpoint accuracy.”
Mountain View attempted to tie the score early in the second half. Riley Brannon headed a threatening ball away on defense for Camas. Murray also used quick reflexes to stop a ball that bounced off the heads of a couple of players in the box.
Camas gained some breathing room in the 52nd minute. Lucas Ulmer served the ball up on a silver platter and Eyman headed it into the net.
“I was surprised all three goals came off excellent crosses and finishes,” said head coach Roland Minder. “Those were nice to see.”
Lehner’s second goal finished the deal. He said a 0-0 tie to Union a week before this match motivated the Papermakers to finish strong. They did not want to go to a shootout after losing two of them in the playoffs last season.
Minder reminded the boys of their 2012 loss to Mountain View in the state quarterfinals. They also had a streak of 16 consecutive state tournament berths to uphold.
“I wouldn’t want to be the team that doesn’t make it,” Minder said. “It’s momentum for us. It’s tradition.”
If Camas wins Wednesday, it will host a quarterfinal match Saturday.
“The community is always here and supports us,” Stoller said. “It gives us that extra boost of confidence going into a big game.”