Success has not been easy for the Camas High Papermakers football team this season, due to a slew of injuries and three heartbreaking losses, but the team rallied last week, beating the Skyview Storm 48-35, for a dramatic homecoming victory under starry sky, Friday, Oct. 19.
Despite three close losses early this season to non-league teams, Camas now has a perfect 3-0 league record going into next week’s league title showdown against the undefeated, 8-0 Union High Titans.
The Papermakers proved their depth Oct. 19, in the match-up with Skyview, pulling together to overcome recent injuries that left the team without several skill position starters, including quarterback Jake Blair and running backs Randy Yaacoub, Blake Deringer and Zach Terry.
Receiver Shane Jameson stepped up to the challenge Oct. 19, transforming himself into a running back and rushing for a game-high 133 yards, including two touchdowns.
“It was a great battle for the whole team. We kept in the game the whole time,” Jameson said. “Nobody ever gave up, and we just put our heads together and went to work.”
Sophomore running back Jacques Badalto-Birdsell made the most of his opportunities, rushing for 112 yards on 18 carries, including two touchdowns.
“It started to get really close toward the end, but everyone stepped up,” Badalto-Birdsell said. “We had injuries, so we pulled together.”
Boyle leaves game on crutches
The Oct. 19 victory was sweet, but it didn’t stop the Papermakers’ recent string of injuries. Andrew Boyle, Camas’ starting quarterback, safety and all-league punter and kicker — who had already played a role in all four of the Papermakers’ first-half touchdowns, including a 60-yard touchdown return and interception — went down with a right knee injury late in the first half of the game.
At the team’s daily practice sessions, Camas head football coach Jon Eagle likes to talk about the importance of “two-deep,” which means developing solid backups for every position. During the Skyview game, the Papermakers and their fans discovered their team is “three-deep” at the quarterback position, after third-string quarterback Blake Ascuitto stepped in to run the Papermaker offense.
Prior to the Oct. 19 game against Skyview, Ascuitto, a junior, had very little varsity experience.
“It was pretty scary at first, but after a while I realized the ‘O line’ was blocking really well for me,” Ascuitto said.
Late in the game, the Skyview Storm nearly had another touchdown, but Ascuitto responded with a long pass to receiver Luc Sturbelle, resulting in a 71-yard drive that ended with a clutch 25-yard rushing touchdown by Shane Jameson and secured the Papermakers’ victory.
“I just threw it to Sturbelle, and he did all the work,” Ascuitto said of the victory-making play.
Sturbelle had a big night on offense and defense, finishing the game with 12 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. After the game, Sturbelle talked about what he and the team learned from those heartbreaking early-season losses.
“It took mental toughness. Those losses earlier this season were big hits to us, and we didn’t want to feel that again, so we battled and pulled it off,” Sturbelle said.
The Oct. 19 win secured the Papermakers a playoff spot. Camas will play for the league title and a home-field advantage in the playoffs when they take on the undefeated Union Titans Friday, Oct. 26, at McKenzie Stadium in Vancouver.