Tim Martinez: It will be hard to not pick Camas

Tim Martinez: High School Sports

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant sports editor

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I was chatting with Scott Odiorne a while back. You might know him better as the Score Czar, the Vancouver resident who creates computer rankings for high school football.

He was sharing a story about predicting playoff scores and Doug Pacey, the former preps reporter for the Tacoma News-Tribune.

Last season, Pacey felt top-ranked Bellevue would beat Lakes in the 3A state playoffs. However, for his prediction, Pacey picked Lakes, throwing support behind his local team.

Odiorne was stunned that a journalist would set aside his true convictions to placate his local fan base.

Incredible! Unbelievable! Who could believe such a thing?

The next thing you'll tell me is sports journalists like to sit around all day avoiding exercise by eating pizza and watching football on TV.

But here's the thing about predicting prep football scores: The only people who understand that those predictions mean absolutely nothing are the ones making them.

The other thing about these predictions is that fans love them, even when they hate them. These predictions get people fired up. When they get fired up by a pick against the local team, they tend to let you know what kind of an idiot you are through calls, emails, social media and comment threads.

So picking the local team to win, even when you think they'll probably lose, often leads to a more peaceful week.

All of this occurred to me as headed out to watch Camas play Federal Way on Saturday in the Class 4A state quarterfinals.

When I had looked at the Papermakers' playoff bracket, I was very confident they would win their first two playoff games, and there was a good chance they could win their third.

But the fourth game meant a matchup with Skyline. No. 1 Skyline. Defending state champion Skyline. Skyline that rolled past a very good Skyview team to win that title last year. Skyline with its USC-bound, all-state quarterback.

I was all prepared to predict the end of Camas' run against Skyline. And it wouldn't have been a stretch.

The Papermakers made the 3A state semifinals last year with seniors at quarterback, running back and wide receiver. Those all-league players were being replaced by juniors this season. And Camas was moving up to 4A this season.

Of their 60-man roster, only 15 are seniors.

A state semifinal run under those circumstances would be considered an overwhelming success given a semifinal matchup with Skyline.

But then I went to see Camas play on Saturday. It was my first trip to Doc Harris Stadium this year.

Nothing against Camas, but on Friday nights, my responsibilities required a quick return to the office. So generally, that meant a trip to Kiggins Bowl.

But after watching the Papermakers rout the No. 2 team in the state Saturday — um, for the record I had Camas as No. 2 in my AP ballot since mid-September — I'm not so sure that picking against Camas is the right move.

The Papermakers rolled to a 65-32 win over Federal Way. The Papermakers had 51 points by halftime. They could have had more.

They added 14 more after halftime. They could have had more.

And make no mistake. Federal Way was a good team. You could see the Eagles' speed. You could see their skills.

They just didn't have an answer for the Camas offense.

Nate Beasley ran for 249 yards. He had more than 200 early in the second half. Quarterback Reilly Hennessey, who has passed for more than 2,500 yards and 23 TDs, didn't have to do much. He was 12 for 15 for 149 yards and 1 TD on Saturday.

Kicker Roldan Alcobendas negated one of Federal Way's biggest strengths, its return game, with 10 touchbacks on kickoffs.

The scariest part of Camas' win Saturday was when Alcobendas was run into by the Eagles defense while attempting a 53-yard field goal.

Don't worry, Camas fans. Roldan says he's fine. Just a bruise on the leg.

Now, Camas heads to the Tacoma Dome for a 1 p.m. kickoff Saturday against vaunted Skyline.

Is this where Camas' magical run will end?

I wouldn't bet on it.

Tim Martinez is the assistant sports editor/prep coordinator for The Columbian. He can be reached by phone at 360-735-4538, email at tim.martinez@columbian.com or follow his Twitter handle @360TMart