If Camas had any doubt while facing a 19-point deficit in the fourth quarter, the Papermakers kept their poker faces intact.
Because after Skyview began the final quarter of Friday’s 4A Greater St. Helens League game with a 70-yard touchdown pass from Jake Kennedy to Gavin Poffenroth to go ahead 33-14, the Storm were poised to snap a losing streak against their league rivals dating back to 2012.
The Papermakers, however, insisted their belief never wavered. What happened over the next 12 minutes at Kiggins Bowl was proof of that.
Camas scored two touchdowns, recovered an onside kick and forced a Skyview three-and-out, setting up one final drive down five. The Papermakers marched down to Skyview’s 4-yard line and was left facing fourth down with 10 seconds on the clock, leaving one play to decide the game.
Quarterback Taylor Ioane dropped back, looked left and threw to an open Konnor Limnell for the go-ahead touchdown.
“I saw nobody on the outside, so I threw it there hoping he’d catch it,” Ioane said. “I threw a little high, so I was kind of scared, but I’m glad he came down with it.”
A comeback for the ages was complete.
Now, following the 36-33 win, Camas (4-3, 1-0) is in the driver’s seat of the 4A GSHL race.
“It felt amazing, I can’t really explain what was going through my head,” Limnell said.
“We had all the confidence. We knew we could come back and put up a good fight in this game. We knew it wasn’t over.”
Coming out of halftime, Camas and its quarterback, Ioane, were in need of a boost.
Skyview (5-2, 0-1) held a 20-7 lead after Colby Warner intercepted an Ioane pass near the goal line and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown late in the second quarter.
Then, the Storm opened the third with quarterback Jake Kennedy breaking a 65-yard touchdown run, giving the home team a 26-7 lead.
It was gut check time for Camas.
“It honestly started with me, especially, what I did in the first half,” Ioane said. “I had to make a comeback myself and help the team get trust back.”
Camas and Skyview traded touchdowns: an Ioane 1-yard reach across the goal line followed by Poffenroth’s 70-yard score from Kennedy.
The latter play, as it turned out, would be one of just seven offensive plays the Storm had in the fourth quarter.
The Papermakers methodically moved down the field on a 13-play, 79-yard drive culminating with Reid Tennant’s 1-yard touchdown on fourth and goal.
Then, following a successful onside kick by Ethan Ouchi and a Camas recovery, Nikko Speer hauled in a pass from Ioane and escaped a Skyview tackle en route to a 35-yard touchdown.
“The way I played in the first half was not my best, but just coming back in the second half was truly amazing,” Ioane said. “Everybody stuck with me and told me (keep) my head up. My line, especially, too, they kept blocking harder and harder every play.”
The atmosphere grew more tense after Skyview was unable to complete a first down, getting stopped for short gains on two runs before an incomplete pass on third down.
The Papermakers’ final drive, which began with 2:55 left, took 59 yards and 12 plays, including four inside Skyview’s 10-yard line, ending with the game-winning score on fourth down.
“We were talking in the (locker) room and we were like … ‘This is our game,’ ” Tennant said. “When it came down to that last play, it was a great feeling.”
In the preseason, The Columbian asked area coaches to give their thoughts on other teams in their respective leagues.
This was Camas coach Jack Hathaway’s take on Skyview: “They’re always really disciplined. You can tell they’re well-prepared when you play them and that’s a testament to the coaching staff, (head coach Steve Kizer), and all his crew. We love the challenge because it seems like a chess match. It’s going to come down to a few plays on either side of the ball.”
That was the Papermakers’ final quarter, a handful of plays on offense, defense and special teams that determined the final result.
Much like last year, the Papermakers started off winless through the first few weeks of a tough non-league slate against the likes of Yelm, Glacier Peak and Lincoln (Tacoma). Yet once again, they find themselves at the top of the 4A GSHL with two league games left against Battle Ground and Union.
“It definitely gives us a lot more confidence and puts a good note in our head that we can perform pretty well,” Limnell said. “(We’re) excited for these next couple games.”
CAMAS 36, SKYVIEW 33
Camas 7 0 7 22—36
Skyview 7 13 6 7—33
C — Trenton Swanson 4 pass from Taylor Ioane (Ethan Ouchi kick)
S — Jake Kennedy 6 run (Ethan McClinton kick)
S — Kennedy 2 run (McClinton kick)
S — Colby Warner 99 interception return (kick blocked)
S — Kennedy 65 run (pass failed)
C — Ioane 1 run (Ouchi kick)
S — Gavin Poffenroth 70 pass from Kennedy (McClinton kick)
C — Reid Tennant 1 run (Ouchi kick)
C — Nikko Speer 35 pass from Ioane (Ouchi kick)
C — Konnor Limnell 4 pass from Ioane (Limnell pass from Ioane)
RUSHING — Camas: Tennant 30-99, Ioane 6-33, Titan Brody 1-0. Skyview: Trey Jacob 15-112, Kennedy 10-98, Levi Webb 1-3.
PASSING — Camas: Ioane 25-33-2-356. Skyview: Kennedy 10-14-0-144, Gavin Packer 1-1-0-5.
RECEIVING — Camas: Trenton Swanson 8-121, Limnell 6-58, Tennant 3-27, Speer 2-44, Zach Blair 2-28, Sam Stark 2-24, Easton McCarty 1-1. Skyview: Riley Artis 3-39, Packer 3-37, Jacob 2-(minus 2), Poffenroth 1-70, Kennedy 1-5.