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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Punt returned wrong way gives Prairie 2-0 win over Camas

The Columbian
Published: October 23, 1983, 4:27pm

This story was originally published in the Columbian on Sunday, Oct. 23, 1983

CAMAS — Scott Gibson was celebrating in the end zone for Camas after racing 60 yards on a punt return when the realization hit like a 300-pound tackle.

He was in the wrong end zone.

Prairie was awarded two points for a safety on the play – the only points of the game – as the Falcons won their third Greater St. Helens League contest in five outings.

With its defense playing one of the best games of the season, Camas forced a Prairie punt from the Falcon 35-yard line early in the second quarter.

On the center snap, the ball sailed over the head of punter John Sutton, who chased down the football at the 5-yard line. Sutton avoided the Camas rush and managed to kick the ball on the run.

Gibson, backpedaling as he caught the ball on the 40-yard line, turned and headed toward the Falcon end zone.

“It’s just one of those things,” Camas coach Gordon Elliott said. “He was caught up in the excitement of the game and ran the wrong way. We still should have won the game 3-2. We were within field-goal range and a penalty drove us back.”

Camas was plagued with penalties. The biggest came in the fourth quarter on a second-down play at the Prairie’s 23-yard line.

Quarterback Troy Minder hit Devin Sanders for an apparent 13-yard pass that would have had Camas on the 10, but a holding call nullified the play and moved the ball back to the 37. The drive died two players later on an interception by Peter Cann.

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“We have a great kicker and we were certainly in field-goal range when the penalty pushed us back,” Elliott said.

The Falcons had 108 yards rushing and 78 in the air, but three lost fumbles and an interception stalled drives. Prairie’s longest drive came in the final five minutes after Cann’s interception.

Quarterback Scott Raley passed for 40 yards to Richie Schmeling for the big play in the drive. Camas helped keep the drive alive by drawing a person foul on a Prairie punt.

Camas did get the ball back with 17 seconds remaining, but a 26-yard pass from Minder to David Moeller was all the Papermakers could muster.

“Defense did the job,” Prairie coach Gordon Buslach said. “We weren’t able to move the ball much on offense, but our defense stopped them.”

Prairie’s defense sacked the Camas backs for a net 24 yards in losses. The Papermaker offense consisted of 11-of-21 completions by Minder for 152 yards.

“Camas is tough to defense. We stopped their runs, but they were able to throw,” Buslach said.

Offensively, Buslach saw Raley as the catalyst for keeping the team alive.

“Raley came through when we needed him. He’s in the same category as Schmeling. They are the same kind of athletes and can spark a team with their efforts.”

Elliott agreed Raley’s quick actions hurt Camas’ chances.

“Raley is so fast. When he rolled out on the pass, he caused our defensive backs to come up instead of staying with their men. Raley then hit his open receivers on third down to keep drives alive.”

Raley completed four passes – three on third down and one on fourth down. Schmdeling had two pass deflections to kill Camas drive in the fourth quarter.

Cann finished with two interceptions while David Sarvela stole the ball from a Camas receiver in the end zone for a touchback.

Dennis Weisser added Prairie’s fumble recovery.

Greg Harris, Bob Kowlchuck and David Goodwin recovered fumbles for Camas. Dan Anderson returned an interception 25 yards in the first half.