Camas football coach Jon Eagle said that a team doesn’t become 12-0 without being able to go on a run.
Well, his Papermakers showed you can’t become 13-0 without being able to go on a better run.
Camas scored 21 points in the fourth quarter to pull away for a 45-21 win over Sumner and reach the Class 4A state championship game.
The Papermakers (13-0) will face Richland (13-0) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Tacoma Dome.
“It’s incredible,” senior Michael Matthews said. “It’s like a huge weight has been lifted. But there’s still a lot we need to do, too, in that next game. ”
The trip to Tacoma didn’t look so certain with 3:27 left in the third quarter when Sumner’s Ben Wilson intercepted a Jack Colletto pass and returned 41 yards for a touchdown, cutting Camas’ lead to 24-21.
“He just made a great play,” Colletto said of Wilson. “We had to realize that it was just one play, and we can’t let that dictate how the game goes. And that was our mentality.”
The Papermakers regained control with an 11-play, 73-yard drive, with 10 running plays, including Colletto’s 1-yard touchdown run.
“I can’t say enough about the job our offensive line did,” Eagle said. “If you want to win, eventually you are going to have to run the ball. And that’s what we were able do in the fourth quarter.”
The Camas defense recovered a fumble on Sumner’s next drive, and Matthews turned that into points with an 8-yard touchdown run — his third touchdown of the game.
“That’s kind of what we’ve been doing all season,” Colletto said. “In the fourth quarter, a lot of push, a lot of heart in the (offensive) line, and we’re very proud of that.”
Elias Bashir’s 1-yard touchdown run with 1:57 left capped the 21-0 run for the Papermakers.
Playing without University of Washington commit Connor Wedington, Sumner moved away from the ground game and put it in the hands of quarterback Luke Ross, who threw of 257 yards. Tre Weed was the standout for the Spartans with 10 catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
“That No. 7 (Weed) is a good player, and their quarterback is really good, too,” Eagle said. “We decided to play back in coverage and make them earn their yards. We could have brought more pressure, but then who are you going to leave to cover No. 7?”
That approach helped Camas force one fumble and intercept three passes — by Cooper McNatt, Ryan Rushall and Luke Bruno, who returned his 51 yards for a touchdown that put Camas up 24-7 in the third quarter.
The Papermakers used the team approach on offense as well. Matthews finished with 97 yards rushing and Colletto ran for 85. He passed for 153, completing passes to five different receivers.
“Jack is so dynamic at quarterback,” Matthews said. “He can run the ball and throw the ball really well, so we want to try to spread it out as much as we can. It helps to utilize him and me, and our receiving corps is great, the (offensive) line gives good protection. We have a lot of weapons on offense.”
Camas received a scare when Drake Owen was hit early and hard while trying to field a punt in the second quarter. He walked off under own power but did not return the rest of the game. He said he plans to be ready next week.
As will the rest of the Papermakers.
“We just got to keep getting better,” Colletto said. “Every week is a championship week. That’s our mentality.”
CAMAS 45, SUMNER 21
Sumner 0 7 14 0–21
Camas 7 7 10 21–45
C — Michael Matthews 8 pass from Jack Colletto (Michael Boyle kick)
C — Matthews 5 run (Boyle kick)
S — Tre Weed 7 pass from Lucas Ross (Nick Phillips kick)
C — Boyle 34 FG
C — Lucas Bruno 51 interception return (Boyle kick)
S — Weed 21 pass from Ross (Phillips kick)
S — Ben Wilson 41 interception return (Phillips kick)
C — Colletto 1 run (Boyle kick)
C — Matthews 8 run (Boyle kick)
C — Elias Bashir 1 run (Boyle kick)
RUSHING — Sumner: Tre Weed 7-38, Cameron Waterman 7-19, Ross 1-(-1). Camas: Matthews 22-97, Colletto 18-85, Bashir 11-59, Ryan Rushall 2-4.
PASSING — Sumner: Ross 21-41-3-260, Weed 0-1-0-0. Camas: Colletto 13-26-1-153, Rushall 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING — Sumner: Weed 10-160, Tyson Rainwater 6-63, Waterman 2-18, Connor Filleau 2-19. Camas: Drake Owen 4-23, Rushall 3-66, Matthews 2-15, Shane Jamison 2-29, Cooper McNatt 2-20.