Columbian photographer Steven Lane has been granted full access this season as he tries to capture the spirit of Camas football in his images.
Today we launch the second of a three-part photo series following the Camas Papermakers through the 2013 high school football season.
Columbian photographer Steven Lane has been granted exclusive access to the players and coaches.
Part One, published Sept. 13, looked at the great expectations surrounding the most highly touted local team in recent memory.
Part Two looks at how the team stays motivated during a regular season in which they’ve hardly been tested.
The final part will be published soon after their season ends, which football experts across the state believe will be Dec. 7 at the Gridiron Classic in Tacoma.
— Micah Rice, Sports Editor
CAMAS -- So far, so perfect.
Seven games into the 2013 season, the Camas Papermakers have seven wins. Not a single game has been close. And while coaches and players can always find areas to improve, as far as the win-loss record, this team is perfect.
If the Papermakers do reach their dream of playing in the state championship game, seven weeks is the mid-point of the season. Seven games in the books, seven to play for the two Class 4A teams that will reach the title game in the Tacoma Dome on Dec. 7. This is as good a time as any for the second of our three-part photo series. Columbian photographer Steven Lane has been granted full access this season as he tries to capture the spirit of Camas football in his images.
The perfect record, all the attention from local, state, and Northwest media, it could be a cause for concern for some teams. Not this one.
"With this group, it's not even an issue. First of all, they're grounded," Camas coach Jon Eagle said.
"Or let me say, most of them are grounded," he said with a smile.
It can be difficult to remain focused after winning every week by the average score of 52-11. So when one or two Papermakers might display signs over overconfidence, there are checks and balances within the team.
"It comes from our coaches to keep looking at ourselves instead of across the field," left guard Matt Walser said. "We can always get better, no matter who we are playing. Leaders on our team take that upon ourselves, to keep our guys tight, to keep our guys getting better. And we're always on the lookout for flaws."
Eagle said the Papermakers have been flagged for too many penalties. He has noticed some players not sustaining their blocks as long as they could. Come playoff time, those things could come back to hurt even the most talented of squads.
"All the teams do 95 percent of the same stuff," Eagle said. "It's the little things that separate the teams."
Fortunately, he said, he does not have to fire up his players. They know what is at stake this season, and they are on board with the drive to improve.
"They have a real passion for the game in terms of tendering to the details," Eagle said.
So far, the reward for that diligence has been seven blowouts.
"The feeling of harmony with all our guys and everyone doing their job working as a cohesive unit, it's a great feeling," Walser said.