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Three football teams enjoying the holiday

Camas, La Center, and Skyview prepare for semifinals

By Paul Valencia, Columbian High School Sports Reporter
Published: November 24, 2016, 11:44am
2 Photos
The Camas football team practices on Thursday ahead of its Class 4A state semifinal game against Sumner on Saturday.
The Camas football team practices on Thursday ahead of its Class 4A state semifinal game against Sumner on Saturday. (Paul Valencia/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

With three local teams in the state semifinals, there are three different approaches to Thanksgiving Day football practice.

One team went with an hour of video and then planned on an indoor practice in the school gym, to get out of the elements.

One team went more traditional, with a regular outdoor practice — rain and wind was not an issue.

And another team said no thanks to Thanksgiving Day practice.

No matter the route, La Center, Camas, and Skyview football teams are playing Saturday in state semifinal games. All three are pumped to be playing beyond the holiday.

“It’s pretty cool,” La Center quarterback Jeremy Scott said. “When you start practice (in August) you don’t really think you’ll be here this long. You don’t think of the details of practicing on Thanksgiving Day. It’s pretty neat.”

He and the Wildcats had a video session in coach John Lambert’s room before a planned walk-thru in the school gym.

As soon as that was over, Scott said he and his family were heading to a gathering in Molalla, Ore.

“Got to make it there before the Cowboys game,” Scott said.

Lambert said he is not sure all of the players’ families are thrilled with the practice schedule.

“But one of your goals is to practice on Thanksgiving,” Lambert said. “You know you’re having a great season if you are practicing on Thanksgiving. We are having a short practice in the morning, get it out of the way.”

La Center will take on Connell at 4 p.m. Saturday in a Class 1A semifinal at McKenzie Stadium in Vancouver. This is the program’s second appearance in the final four. The Wildcats also made it to this point in 2003.

Southeast of La Center, the Papermakers of Camas were getting soaked in their morning practice.

“A lot of people might say, ‘What are they doing out here on Thanksgiving?’ We put the work in together to get what we want,” senior Marshall McIvor said. “We want that championship.”

Camas will take on Sumner at 1 p.m. Saturday in a Class 4A semifinal, also at McKenzie Stadium.

“We want to be on the field as much as possible, especially the seniors,” McIvor said. “We want to be out here, with football helmets on, the pads on, with our brothers.”
The rain intensified throughout the morning practice, too.

“It could be worse,” assistant coach Dan Kielty said. “Could be home, inside, watching football.”

This will be Camas’ fourth trip to the state semifinals, having also reached at least the final four in 2011, 2012, and 2013.

The Skyview Storm, using a “very scientific” approach, took a day off for the holiday.

“First year we made the semifinals (in 2009), we practiced on Thanksgiving and lost to Ferris. The next time (in 2011), we didn’t practice and we beat Lake Stevens. Therefore, we’re not going to practice,” Skyview coach Steve Kizer said with a laugh during Wednesday’s practice.

Simple enough.

“We’re possibly going 14 weeks without a bye,” Kizer said, noting that if Skyview beats Richland on Saturday, the team will play a 14th game. “Give them a little break.”
The Storm travel to Kennewick to take on the Bombers at 3 p.m. Saturday at Lampson Stadium.

Skyview has plenty to be thankful for this week.

“It’s crazy, first of all. We were 3-3. I was thinking senior season might be cut short,” wide receiver Travis Yajko said.

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The Storm have since won six in a row.

“This is a great opportunity,” Yajko said. “I’m getting more and more excited.”

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Columbian High School Sports Reporter