Thousands of Camas High School football fans witnessed a miracle at Doc Harris Stadium Friday.
The Papermakers rallied from 11 points down in the last two minutes to defeat Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, 28-25 in a battle between two No. 1 ranked teams from different states.
“We backed ourselves up to a wall. We just had to fight out of it,” said senior center Jordan Howes.
“We had a long talk before the game about brotherhood — what it means to be a brother and to make plays for the guy next to you,” he added. “I think that’s what it took to come back and win this game. It really took standing together as a unit. Just together, we’re unstoppable.”
The Papermakers needed a pick-me-up after University of Washington bound quarterback Colson Yankoff ran for a 65-yard touchdown to give the Vikings a 25-14 advantage. Camas recovered a fumble on its own 3-yard line with about two minutes left on the clock.
What followed next was nothing short of magic …
Ja’Michael Shelton snagged a 50-yard catch to breathe new life into the Papermakers.
“I was happy I could get down the field. I’m happy that Kyle saw it,” Shelton said. “I just followed the ball, and when I caught it, I made sure to get out of bounds as fast as I could.”
After hauling in a 9-yarder, Drake Owen caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Kyle Allen in the corner of the end zone. Owen made sure to plant his feet in-bounds before getting pushed out.
“Lots of practice with Kyle,” Owen said. “All those throws since we were little. It worked.”
Camas then recovered the on-side kick to earn another crack at the end zone. Isaiah Abdul caught the ball in open space and faked out the defender for a 19-yard gain. A late hit by a Viking sent the Papermakers to the 10-yard line.
It all came down to fourth-and-four. Allen stepped back and put up a picture perfect pass to Owen as he drifted toward open space in the end zone to give Camas a 26-25 lead. Owen then caught a 2-point conversion pass from Allen to make it 28-25 Papermakers with 20.6 seconds left on the clock.
“It’s crazy! I can’t describe the feeling right now,” Owen shouted as he celebrated with his teammates after the game.
Owen finished with eight catches for 63 yards and those two touchdowns in the final minute. Allen collected 235 passing yards and three touchdowns. Shelton had seven catches for 93 yards and a touchdown. Will Schultz rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown.
The Papermakers face Battle Ground in their first league game tomorrow, at Battle Ground High School. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Camas has won 54 regular season games in a row dating back to a non-league loss in 2011.
When the final whistle sounded at Doc Harris Stadium Friday, the Papermakers rushed the field with joy only to be followed by Camas football fans of all ages. They will always call this game the “Mill City Miracle.”
“It’s amazing just to know that not only does my team have my back, and we all have each other, we’ve got the whole community,” Abdul said.
“We were down two touchdowns, and I could still hear them cheering. They were not giving up,” he added. “I think that the band and the community and parents cheering for us really kept us motivated and kept us going. That’s a feeling that you just have to be in to experience it.”