It is about to get serious for the Camas Papermakers.
By the time they play their next game, it will be playoff time. For this football program, November is the month that matters most.
But before the second season starts, before those elimination games take on a greater intensity, Camas players, coaches and fans might want to take a moment to reflect on what this 2016 squad just accomplished.
Jack Colletto threw for two touchdowns and rushed for two more and Michael Matthews led a crushing defensive performance, leading Camas to a 49-13 victory over the Union Titans to close out the regular season Friday night at McKenzie Stadium.
In doing so, the Papermakers won their 50th consecutive regular-season game.
In doing so, the Papermakers won their 38th consecutive league game.
In doing so, the Papermakers continued the Camas way.
“When I was in the sixth grade, I’d come out to the games and I wanted to be part of it,” senior offensive lineman Marcus Gray said. “To be part of it now, having that record, it’s great.
“I hope it keeps going.”
It does not appear to be close to slowing down. The Papermakers have not had a close regular-season game since Week 1 in 2014.
“I think everyone knows the history behind Camas football,” Matthews said. “Great players have come before us. I feel honored to play for a program that really came from nothing and turned into a powerhouse.”
The Papermakers have not lost a league game since 2009. They have not lost a regular-season game since 2011. And they still have a chip on their shoulders to give them an extra fire.
“We keep the small-town mentality with us. It motivates us,” Matthews said. “We play hard because we have a lot to play for. It shows in our play and lots of our actions.”
Union was the last team to beat Camas in a league game, way back in 2009. If the Titans are going to be the next team to beat Camas in league play, they’ll have to wait until at least next season.
Friday’s game had nothing on the line in terms of playoff position. Camas was already locked in as the No. 1 seed from the 4A Greater St. Helens League. Union’s season was coming to an end.
Still, the Papermakers treated this game like it is special because, to them, it is.
“It’s Union,” Gray said. “Union’s our biggest rivalry. When we play against Union, that’s our big game. We practice hard. We love going against them.”
“This rivalry runs deep,” Matthews added. “I knew we were going to have a great game this week because practice was unbelievable. We wanted to work on starting fast.”
They did that.
Camas needed six plays to score, with Colletto finding Ryan Rushall for a 17-yard touchdown pass.
Moments later, Matthews got a sack on a fourth-down play, giving the ball back to the Camas offense. Oh yeah, Matthews plays offense, too. The next play, he scored on a touchdown run. A quick 14-0 lead for Camas.
Union would drive 80 yards for a touchdown on its next possession — Aiden Nellor on a 15-yard pass from Lincoln Victor — but that only served to make Camas more motivated.
Cooper McNatt caught a 40-yard bomb from Colletto to make it 21-6 by the end of the first quarter. Will Schultz and Matthews added touchdown runs in the second quarter, and it was a runaway.
Colletto’s 6-yard TD run in the third quarter was pure strength. It appeared he was on the way down, being tackled by two defenders at the line of scrimmage. Instead, he fought to stay on his feet, then broke free and scored to make it 42-6.
Five minutes later, he scored on another touchdown run, this time to make it a running clock situation midway through the third quarter, Camas cruising.
Colletto finished 13 of 20 for 174 yards and two TD passes along with 45 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
Next week, the Papermakers will be in playoff mode.
For now, though, the 2016 Papermakers have done their part to keep Camas atop Southwest Washington football.
CAMAS 49, UNION 13
Camas 21 14 14 0–49
Union 6 0 0 7–13
Cam — Ryan Rushall 17 pass from Jack Colletto (Michael Boyle kick)
Cam — Michael Matthews 19 run (Boyle kick)
U — Aiden Nellor 15 pass from Lincoln Victor (kick blocked)
Cam — Cooper McNatt 40 pass from Colletto (Boyle kick)
Cam — Will Schultz 5 run (Boyle kick)
Cam — Matthews 1 run (Boyle kick)
Cam — Colletto 6 run (Boyle kick)
Cam — Colletto 4 run (Boyle kick)
U — Abe Smith 22 run (Connor Culp kick)
RUSHING — Camas: Matthews 7-35, Colletto 9-45, Schultz 5-24, Drake Owen 1-1, David Aarhus 2-4, Hunter Crandall 3-10, Keaton Sturbelle 2-(minus 8), Elias Bashir 3-28, Tyler McClellan 3-18, Team 1-(minus 20). Union: Victor 14-50, Braedon Ensley 6-7, Keithen Shepard 3-16, Abe Smith 10-74, Elijah Jones 1-(minus 2).
PASSING — Camas: Coletto 13-20-0-175, Sturbelle 2-2-0-9. Union: Victor 10-19-0-153
RECEIVING — Camas: Rushall 5-54, Drake Owen 2-25, McNatt 2-65, Schultz 1-8, Dylan Ingram 1-6, Christian Nghiem 3-15, Matthews 1-11. Union: Nellor 3-55, Shepard 1-19, Tiernan Stanley 1-5, Ensley 2-13, Smith 1-9, Zion Fa’aopega 1-21, Tommy Strassenberg 1-31.