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News / Sports / Prep Sports

Papermakers celebrate state championship in different ways

Day later, players reflect on their accomplishment

By Paul Valencia, Columbian High School Sports Reporter
Published: December 4, 2016, 10:50pm

The Camas Papermakers took their time late Saturday night.

No need to rush getting on the bus. No need to get home too soon.

They wanted that championship feeling to last.

Pizza. Chocolate Milk. Hey, that’s two important ingredients for a football team’s celebration.

The chartered buses did not leave the Tacoma Dome until a little after midnight.

By 6 p.m. Sunday, some 20 or so hours after the Papermakers beat Richland 24-14 for the Class 4A state football championship, the Papermakers were still in a good mood.

They just had different ways to celebrate.

Linebacker/running back Michael Matthews said he and teammate Keaton Sturbelle went to Fisherman’s Marine to buy some gear Sunday.

26 Photos
Camas' Marshall McIvor, right, brings the trophy to the Camas fans after Camas defeated  Richland in the 4A State Football Championship game Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016,  in Tacoma, Wash.
Camas vs Richland state championship football game Photo Gallery

“I’m getting ready to go fishing again now that football’s over,” Matthews said. “I got some new stuff.”

Quarterback/safety Jack Colletto relaxed around home for the most part but did get in a trip to Red Robin for a burger.

Lineman Marcus Gray slept in to around noon. Then he woke up, shaking his head.

“I was still in shock with everything,” Gray said. “I kept telling myself, ‘Man, we did this.’ I still really cannot believe it. After we won, I just stood there. I put my hands on my head. I couldn’t process everything.”

Lineman Dakota Napierkowski had the understatement of the day.

“It still feels pretty good,” he said.

Napierkowski, Gray, and Colletto all said they took Sunday to rest and recover.

“My whole body hurts,” Napierkowski said.

Gray said he played the championship game with turf toe, and his feet were “killing” him Sunday.

One thing they were not doing, though, was complaining.

“I’d do it over and over again,” Gray said.

Napierkowski said it was all worth it.

“You get to wear a cool ring and you get to have a cool picture at the end,” Napierkowski said. “And everybody loves you. That’s pretty much why.”

Napierkowski also watched the television broadcast of the game during the day Sunday. He said it was “kind of weird” watching him and his team play a game on a screen without coaches breaking down the video.

“Even though I knew we were going to win, when I re-watched the game, it’s still a … feeling,” Napierkowski said.

Colletto said he planned on watching the re-play of the game on Root Sports on Sunday night. Matthews was just about to sit down with family and friends Sunday evening to watch the recording.

Chances are, they will enjoy the viewing.

“There was never really a point where it hit me,” Colletto said of being on the field, knowing the team was about to win the title. “Just a good feeling. As my dad always told me, there’s no happy losers out there. It feels good to win.”

The Papermakers are expecting another day of fun when they return to school, to see their classmates.

“I want to thank the fans for coming out,” Gray said. “That’s what I’m excited for.”

“Everyone is super thankful, super supportive of us,” Matthews said. “I’m just proud of myself and my guys that we were able to bring this sense of pride to the town.”

Columbian High School Sports Reporter