The Camas Papermakers not only took command of the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League on Friday night, they also made a little bit of history at McKenzie Stadium.
The Camas defense started strong, finished stronger, in a 22-0 shutout over the Union Titans. It was the first time Union was held scoreless in its six seasons football.
“Wow!” said Camas defensive back Zach Eagle, who had an interception and a fumble recovery. “Defense is starting to define who we are as a team. The defense sets the tone for the rest of the team. We were swarming and playing with a lot of passion. Everyone is all-in.”
The Papermakers (7-0, 3-0) are also all going toward a league title in their first year as a 4A program. The Papermakers, who won the past two 3A GSHL titles, now own two wins over the league’s other power players — Union and Skyview.
“I really want to thank the years before us. They paved the road for us,” said senior Vincente Huber, who had a third-down sack when it was still a one-possession game in the second half. “They had a huge impact on what we’re doing now. We’re handling 4A this year, I can tell you that much.”
Jack Beall had a fumble recovery to end one Union drive, then a tackle-for-loss on third down on the next Union drive. Nick Gadbow forced a fumble on a sack that was recovered by Camas. Connor Maloney had a big hit to force an incomplete pass on third down. And John Norcross got a sack, strip, and recovery on Union’s final offensive play of the contest.
“It just really feels good to completely dominate,” lineman Drew Clarkson said. “It’s always nice when they can’t score anything. It demoralizes the other team.”
Eagle also was one of the top players on offense for the Papermakers. He caught 10 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown from quarterback Reilly Hennessey.
He had a long reception to set up Camas’ second touchdown for a 12-point cushion in the third quarter.
“We were just trying whatever we could. The ball was wet. It was a tough night,” Eagle said. “I got open a few times for some passes and we were able to capitalize on that.”
The Papermakers needed that because Union’s defense was proud, too.
Union (5-2, 2-1) held Camas to 128 yards in the first half and went into the locker room down 6-0.
“Their run defense was the best we’ve seen to date,” Camas coach Jon Eagle said of the Titans.
His defense, though, was better. Camas held Union to 114 yards for the game.
Union managed three second-half first downs, all via Camas penalties after it was 22-0.
“We played physical, we tackled well, and we didn’t give up the big play,” the coach said.
That allowed the Camas offense to eventually get its three touchdowns plus a field goal for the 22-point margin of victory.
Eagle scored the game’s first touchdown, hauling in a 36-yard reception from Hennessey on Camas’ second possession of the game.
After Union went three-and-out to start the second half, Hennessey again found Eagle, who brought in a 26-yard pass to the 1-yard line. Norcross would cash in from there to make it 12-0.
A Union turnover led to a 41-yard field goal from Roldan Alcobendas and a 15-0 lead midway through the third quarter.
The Titans got some momentum when Treve’ Ensley blocked a field goal midway through the fourth quarter. But the Camas defense was up to the challenge.
Clarkson remembered the 2009 game, when Union rallied with three fourth-quarter touchdowns to beat the Papermakers.
“We had to put our cleats on their throats and keep them down,” Clarkson said.
Well, maybe not literally, but Jason Vailea pretty much did that by himself. On Union’s first play after the blocked field goal, Vailea made a tackle for a 4-yard loss. The next play, he sacked Union quarterback Nolan Henry.
“All the energy I had was just building up to that moment,” Vailea said. “It was awesome, but I don’t know how it happened.”
Hennessey would score on a 20-yard run to ice the game with 5:19 remaining.
“Oh my gosh, it’s electrifying,” Huber said. “Everyone was playing to the whistle, full intensity.”
CAMAS 22, UNION 0
Camas 6 0 9 7–22
Union 0 0 0 0– 0
Cam — Zach Eagle 36 pass from Reilly Hennessey (PAT failed, bad snap)
Cam — John Norcross 1 run (pass failed)
Cam — Roldan Alcobendas 41 FG
Cam — Hennessey 20 run (Alcobendas kick)
RUSHING — Camas — Nate Beasley 19-71, Hennessey 9-30, Eagle 2-16, Norcross 9-44, Vincente Huber 2-4. Union — Leon Siofele 17-55, Treve’ Ensley 12-51, Trent Cowan 2-2, Nolan Henry 6-(-51).
PASSING — Camas — Hennessey 11-19-0-122. Union — Henry 7-14-1-62.
RECEIVING — Camas — Eagle 10-121, Beasley 1-1. Union — Siofele 3-37, Ensley 2-18, Cowan 2-7.