Skyview is Clark County’s final football team to begin league play Friday night.
And the Storm can’t wait.
Because attached to a game with “4A Greater St. Helens League” in front of it is an opponent that could be tabbed as the Northwest’s top team: the reigning 4A state champions with early season wins over two Oregon 6A teams and an Idaho team featuring a four-star Pac-12 quarterback commit as part of a well-established 55-game regular-season winning streak.
They have coach Steve Kizer’s vote.
“They’ve earned it,” he said.
Kizer is talking about the Camas Papermakers, a team his Skyview Storm host at 5 p.m. Friday at Kiggins Bowl for Skyview’s 4A GSHL opener.
To Skyview, this isn’t an ordinary week. It’s simply Camas week.
“It’s a big week,” said Skyview senior receiver/cornerback Tavis Pinkney.
It might be early October, but Camas vs. Skyview joins Kelso-Mountain View (3A GSHL), Hockinson at Washougal (2A GSHL) and Stevenson at La Center (1A Trico) as marquee games all in one night that could have playoff implications and league-title headway inside the regular-season’s final weeks.
And what a way for the Storm to kickoff its league schedule.
Camas enters Friday with 55 consecutive regular-season wins after last week’s 35-0 shutout of Battle Ground in its 4A GSHL opener. The Papermakers also haven’t lost a league game since 2009.
For Pinkney and his teammates, it’s all about focusing on themselves Friday, as he stated during Thursday’s final walk-thrus. But The Streak is well on their minds.
“We’ll try to the best of our abilities, and see how it goes,” he said.
Kizer’s Storm was the last regular-season team to beat Camas when they did so, 31-10, on Sept. 23, 2011. Camas was Class 3A in 2011.
So far, the top-ranked Papermakers haven’t skipped a beat from last season’s undefeated 4A state championship season, and Kizer said a key to slowing them down Friday will be limiting big plays. In five games, Camas quarterback Kyle Allen has passed for 1,155 yards and 14 touchdowns.
“They can tear you up,” Kizer said.
After starting the season 1-2 with losses to 3A’s top-ranked teams, Eastside Catholic and O’Dea, Skyview’s won its past two games, holding Mountain View and Columbia River to 21 and 6 points, respectively, while Cole Grossman’s had four touchdown receptions the past two weeks.
Camas won the teams’ 2016 meeting, 31-9, and after that, Skyview won six straight to reach the 4A state semifinals.
Win or lose Friday, Kizer knows there’s plenty of season to go.
“Either way, we still have all of our goals in front of us,” he said.
The other showdowns
• How big is Friday’s game between the 2A Greater St. Helens League’s two unbeatens, Hockinson and Washougal?
So big that Panthers coach Dave Hajek expects new fans at Fishback Stadium and perhaps the largest crowd in recent memory for the important regular-season showdown to determine the frontrunner in the 2A GSHL race.
They’ll host a Hawks team (5-0, 3-0) ranked third for the second straight week in the Associated Press 2A statewide rankings. Quarterback Canon Racanelli is the area’s leading passer closing in on 1,300 yards with 19 touchdowns.
No surprise, it’s been all business this week for the Panthers, said Washougal senior running back Kade Coons, whose 630 rushing yards, a career-best, and 10 touchdowns is a big reason why the team has its second 5-0 start in 22 seasons.
“There’s no shame in saying that we’re ready to go,” he said.
• Many would have tagged Friday’s Kelso-Mountain View game as the one that could decided the league title in the 3A Greater St. Helens League.
That remains to be seen so early in league play, but it certainly was the case last season when the Thunder went to Kelso to win.
This year’s game is at McKenzie Stadium, and the Thunder have quarterback Glen Perry Jr., who bounced back nicely from a leg injury suffered two weeks ago against Skyview. Kelso was not so lucky. A lingering knee injury to the Hilanders’ quarterback, A.J. Hoggatt, has him sidelined until late October.
• Much like Skyview, La Center stacked its early-season non-league games and the Wildcats opened 0-2 with losses to 2A teams Hockinson and Woodland.
But the Wildcats are getting back to full strength now and have reeled off three easy wins in a row.
Stevenson is unbeaten this season after knocking off Seton Catholic, a 1A Trico team playing an independent schedule this season, last week.
So that makes this the official league opener for the Bulldogs.
Staff writer Andy Buhler contributed to this story.