TACOMA — His smile lit up the Tacoma Dome as he talked to fans who were there to witness his big night.
Will Schultz was enjoying this moment — the team’s moment — enjoying the celebration.
He had just helped the Camas Papermakers win their first state championship in football.
That was all he needed, that 24-14 victory over Richland.
He did not really want the spotlight, even after scoring the go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter.
So instead of doing any post-game interviews, he just smiled. He would rather soak in the atmosphere.
“I think that says it all about him,” teammate Marshall McIvor said of Schultz. “He’s one of the most humble guys I know. He’s a big part of the team. He put one on the board, and he’s humble about it. In the classroom, he’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet. He’s friends with everyone.
“That speaks to his character. It’s definitely beyond par.”
Schultz, a reserve running back, saw his touches dwindle throughout the season. Yet, as his coach would say, Schultz never stopped working.
At halftime of Saturday’s night’s championship game, coach Jon Eagle told Schultz the Papermakers were going to need him on offense. To run a few times. To give starter Michael Matthews, who also excels on defense, a break. Eagle told Schultz to be ready to pass protect, as well.
Pretty much, the coach asked Schultz to do all the things a starter would do, because, after all, that’s part of Camas football. Prepare. Be ready. Do the job.
Soon enough, Camas found itself trailing 14-10 in the third quarter. Sure enough, Schultz was in the game.
Schultz, by the way, carried the ball two times total in the previous two weeks.
Saturday, he carried his Papermakers into the lead with a 38-yard touchdown run on his first touch.
“It was a huge run. We’ve seen him do it before,” Eagle said. “But that was a game-winner.”
“We’ve got a lot of playmakers,” quarterback Jack Colletto said. “What’s really the most dangerous thing about it is teams don’t know who you’re giving the ball to. They might be focused on other guys. We used this as a weapon all year.”
It could be any one of a number of guys, Colletto said. This night, it was Schultz.
He wasn’t done, either. He got one more carry, this one for 13 yards to help Camas get away from the shadow of its own end zone while trying to preserve that three-point lead.
Schultz ended up with 51 yards on two carries — great average — and the game-changing touchdown.
“He’s going to be a huge part of our team next year, too,” McIvor said.