There were fireworks between the No. 2 ranked high school football teams in Washington and Idaho Friday.
Hundreds of miles from home, the Camas Papermakers played four phenomenal quarters in Coeur d’Alene and defeated the Vikings 49-30.
“We’ve never done anything like that before. We had to eat three meals on a bus before the game even started,” said head coach Jon Eagle. “We felt the whole hometown advantage against us. It was great for the kids.”
Michael Matthews collected four touchdowns, set up by a combination of receivers catching passes from the quarterback. Jack Colletto racked up 260 yards passing and 130 yards rushing, including a 42-yard touchdown run. Cooper McNatt made 10 catches for close to 150 yards and a touchdown.
“I think it was good for us to have to play four quarters and finish four quarters,” Colletto said. “That’s the biggest thing we got from it was just a good, tough game. They were very physical and we had to be physical, as well.”
The challenge started for the Camas football players and coaches when they boarded the bus at 8 a.m.
“That’s when the game starts,” Colletto said. “You’re on the bus and you’re thinking about it the whole way. You start to lose focus halfway. Once you get there, you have to regather yourself. I thought our team did a great job of doing that and starting out very fast.”
Coeur d’Alene kicked a field goal to get on the board first. Camas responded with touchdown runs by Matthews and Will Schultz. Both teams scored 21 points in the second quarter.
“A lot of fireworks, boy,” Eagle said. “It was back-and-forth, back-and-forth.”
Matthews and Colletto delivered touchdown runs, and McNatt caught a 4-yard touchdown pass from Colletto, to give the Papermakers a 35-24 advantage at halftime.
“Every team has a weak spot. We just exploit it and attack it,” McNatt said. “Jack threw some amazing passes to everyone. You just got to go get it and make something happen.”
Camas held Coeur d’Alene to one touchdown in the second half. The Papermakers wrapped up the win on a touchdown drive that lasted longer than seven minutes.
“In the fourth quarter, when everyone was tired, we were able to just keep pounding it and burning time,” Colletto said. “To be able to get a score off that was huge. That’s the drives we want.”
They didn’t get home until 6 a.m., Saturday morning, but the victory and memories will stay with them forever.
“Growing closer and playing some great football,” McNatt said. “There’s nothing else like it.”
Camas looks forward to hosting Battle Ground in the first league game of the season Friday. The Papermakers and the Tigers are both 4-0. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. at Doc Harris Stadium.
“They’re very talented, well coached and got a lot of athletes. That’s a lethal combination,” Eagle said. “Their class has won a lot of football games for a long time, even in youth football. It’s going to be quite the clash.”