Snaps over the punter’s head doomed Central Catholic from the start, while the Camas High School football team continued to find ways to win Sept. 1 at Hillsboro Stadium.
The defending Washington Class 4A state champion Papermakers defeated the Oregon 6A runner-up Rams 35-13. This was the 15th win in a row for Camas and the 51st consecutive victory against non-playoff opponents since 2011.
“We’ve been practicing for two weeks looking forward to this game. We’re finally here, and we were able to capitalize on some good plays,” said Camas center Jordan Howes. “Their front line was pretty big. We don’t have the size on our line, but we got some boys who can play. A lot of big hearts. Absolutely.” New Camas starting quarterback Kyle Allen completed 18 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns, and returning all-league receiver Drake Owen made 11 catches for 188 yards and two touchdowns.
“I’ve been waiting three years to be a starter out there,” Allen said. “I had some jitters, but once I got out there and got comfortable with it, everything was alright.”
It helped Allen having athletic receivers such as Owen, Ryan Rushell, J’Michael Shelton and Luc Sturbelle to throw to.
“Those guys are awesome about route running and finding open spots,” Allen said. “I have so much confidence in them. If it’s one-on-one, I’m just putting the ball up there and they’re just making plays and making me look better.”
Camas and Central Catholic were locked in a tight battle during the first half.
After the Papermakers forced the Rams to turn the ball over on downs, Camas ended up punting its first possession away. Central Catholic attempted to do the same after the next series failed, but the snap sailed way over the punter’s head and he dove on top of it in the end zone to give the Papermakers two points instead of a potential six on a fumble recovery.
Once again, Camas clamped down on defense and forced Central Catholic to punt. And, once again the ball was hiked over the punter’s head and bounced out of the back of the end zone. This gave the Papermakers two more points. At the end of the first quarter, it was 4-0 Camas. The spread got back to normal after the next possession, as Andrew Boyle kicked a 22-yard field goal to give Camas a 7-0 advantage. Owen then caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Allen, following a 26-yard run by Will Schultz, to put the Papermakers up 14-0.
“Kyle was throwing very well and our o-line was protecting him very, very well, which is what we needed,” Owen said. “I just focus on what I need to do. Who’s covering me and how to get open. Just all those little details that matter.” Central Catholic finally completed a drive down the field and scored a touchdown to get on the board. The Rams also forced the Papermakers to punt before halftime.
The momentum shifted back in Camas’ favor with 14 unanswered points in the third quarter. All it took was two passes between Allen and Owen, including a 57-yard strike for a touchdown. After the Papermakers forced the Rams to turn the ball over on downs again, Shelton snagged a 17-yard touchdown pass from Allen to give them a 21-point cushion.
“We’re glad our preparation came through and helped us get the win against a very good Central Catholic team that will have a lot of success this season,” Owen said.
Central Catholic scored one more touchdown in the fourth quarter, but Isaiah Abdul blocked the extra-point kick for Camas. Over the next seven minutes, the Papermakers proved they had a lot left in the tank by driving across the field, collecting first downs and punching the ball into the end zone. After fighting for several yards with the help from his teammates, Schultz completed the surge with a 14-yard sprint across the goal line for a touchdown with 58 seconds left on the clock.
“It just took not getting tired and keeping our heads in the game,” Howes said. “All that comes from good practice and good coaching.”
Camas hopes to continue to find ways to win at Sherwood, Oregon, Friday. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. The Papermakers then return to Doc Harris Stadium to face Davis, from Yakima, and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.