A more fitting end couldn’t have been scripted for the end of the Camas High School (CHS) football team’s self-proclaimed “revenge tour.”
When the Papermakers (13-0) march onto the field at Mount Tahoma Stadium in Tacoma on Saturday for the 4A state championship game, they will face Bothell High School (BHS), the team that ended CHS’ 2018 season in a Week 10 playoff game.
“Obviously it’s everyone’s dream to get (to the championship game), but few teams actually get there, and (playing Bothell) is just like the topping to a wedding cake,” Papermakers wide receiver Jackson Clemmer said after Camas beat Mount Si 35-14 on Nov. 30, in a state tournament semifinal contest at Vancouver’s McKenzie Stadium. “It’s just perfect — exactly what everyone wanted.”
The Cougars (11-2) beat Woodinville High School, their KingCo rival, 31-21 on Saturday, Nov. 30, to advance to the finals. BHS won the 4A state championship in 2014, two years before the Papermakers won their first state title.
“Bothell is a great program,” CHS coach Jon Eagle said. “They’re fun to play, and a very good team.”
For Papermakers quarterback Blake Ascuitto and other seniors, winning a state championship is a goal they set together as freshmen in 2016 after watching their older teammates win a state championship.
“It’s what we’ve dreamed of — me, Jackson, Charlie (Bump), Randy (Yaacoub). We’ve played together forever and always dreamed we’d be just like the 2016 class and go to the state championship and win it,” Ascuitto said.
“Honestly, I think every dude will play their hearts out,” Bump said. “I mean, it’s our last game as seniors, and there are 33 of us (seniors), and we are going to give it all we’ve got.”
CHS vanquishes Mount Si
An icy cold east wind howled across the field at McKenzie Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 30, but the conditions where exactly what the Papermakers expected.
“We knew it was going to be a cold game, so being able to practice the whole week in the east wind really helped us, and luckily for two of the quarters the wind was at our backs,” Clemmer said.
After winning the coin toss, the Papermakers gave Mount Si the first possession to have the wind at their backs. The Wildcats started with an impressive opening drive, led by junior quarterback Clay Millen, son of former University of Washington and National Football League quarterback Hugh Millen. Mount Si capped the 80-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run.
The decision to play with the wind to its backs had an impact on Camas’ first offensive play. Ascuitto used the wind to throw a touchdown strike down the sideline to Clemmer.
“That’s what got it started,” said Clemmer, who caught four passes for 110 yards. “No credit to me. Everything was about the quarterback making a perfect play and the line blocking perfectly.”
Imposing its will on the Wildcats’ defensive line, the Papermakers’ offensive line made some big holes for junior Jacques Badolato-Birdsell, who finished the game with four touchdowns and 150 yards rushing on 28 carries, and Yaacoub, who had 53 yards on nine carries.
After the game, Badolato-Birdsell couldn’t say enough about the impressive play of the offensive linemen, especially during the final drive, when Camas ate up the clock and closed out the game with Badolato-Birdsell’s fourth touchdown run.
“That last drive, (Mount Si) literally knew what we were running every time,” Badolato-Birdsell said. “We ran at least 12 running plays and they still couldn’t stop it. The o-line created holes and I just took my opportunities. Now the adventure continues.”