TACOMA — Camas football is in a familiar spot — a place no team wishes to be, but one the Papermakers are familiar overcoming.
After a 42-28 defeat to 3A’s seventh-ranked Lincoln on Saturday at historic Lincoln Bowl, the Papermakers are 0-3. They started 0-4 a season ago before winning a 4A Greater St. Helens League title.
That’s still the plan this year, and even in defeats, the Papermakers are drawing positives.
“There’s only one way through it, and that’s to attack it, own it, and realize that we have to keep getting better,” Camas coach Jack Hathaway said. “We got better in some aspects and have to clean up some other things.”
One of the brightest spots in Saturday’s loss was a breakout performance from Trenton Swanson. The junior receiver had 11 catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns, including a diving basket catch for a 31-yard TD to open the scoring.
“It was right where it needed to be,” Swanson said of the throw from quarterback Taylor Ioane. “It was definitely a confident booster.”
Swanson’s day ended with a catch in the side of the end zone, where he pinned the ball against his stomach before falling to the ground. The referee ruled him out of bounds, negating Swanson’s third touchdown and a one-possession game with under 3 minutes remaining.
Swanson’s performance was direct correlation to one of Ioane’s finest games under center in Camas garb. The senior quarterback threw for 358 yards on 25-of-35 passing and three touchdowns.
Zach Blair caught five of those passes for 92 yards and a 49-yard touchdown. Blair also had a 64-yard punt return touchdown that kept Camas’ hopes alive in the fourth quarter.
“The transition from last year to this year is insane,” Swanson said of his quarterback’s growth. “These last two games, he’s been making great reads, not missing many balls and taking off on his feet when he needs to.”
Now, for the negatives. Camas allowed Missouri commit Gabbari Johnson and the Lincoln Abes to run wild. The Abes totaled a whopping 712 yards of offense, including 488 rushing.
Johnson, a four-star quarterback recruit, had 25 carries for 280 yards and touchdown runs of 85 and 56 yards. He also threw for 224 yards on 11-of-20 passing.
“Not if you watch him on film, nope, nothing surprising there,” Hathaway said. “I enjoyed watching him play. He’s going to be a fun one to see the rest of the season what he and these guys can do.”
Lincoln’s lead running back, Navarre Dixon, chipped in 207 yards and three touchdowns on 21 carries.
So that’s Camas’ 0-3 start in a nutshell: Myriad moments that make you believe the Papermakers can compete for the 4A GSHL crown combined with plenty of plays that has cost Camas the elusive W.
The Papermakers will search for their first win on Friday, when they host Kelso (2-1) on Friday at Doc Harris Stadium.
LINCOLN 42, CAMAS 28
Camas 7 14 0 7—28
Lincoln 7 19 8 8—42
C — Trenton Swanson 31 pass from Taylor Ioane (Ethan Ouchi kick)
L — Gabarri Johnson 85 run (Jesus Barraza kick)
L — Navarre Dixon 43 run (Barraza kick)
C — Zach Blair 49 pass from Ioane (Ouchi kick)
L — Johnson 56 run (kick blocked)
L — Kelly Sio-Fetaui 1 run (run fail)
C — Swanson 36 pass from Ioane (Ouchi kick)
L — Dixon 5 run (Johnson run)
C — Zach Blair 64 punt return (Ouchi kick)
L — Dixon 43 run (Johnson run)
RUSHING — Camas: Taylor Ioane 3-15, Reid Tennant 3-17, Titan Brody 6-16; Lincoln: Navarre Dixon 21-207, Gabarri Johnson 25-280, Kelly Sio-Fetaui 1-1.
PASSING — Camas: Taylor Ioane 25-35-1-358; Lincoln: Gabarri Johnson 11-20-0-224.
RECEIVING — Camas: Konnor Limnell 1-11, Zach Blair 5-92, Ethan Ouchi 2-12, Sam Stark 4-58, Trenton Swanson 11-169, Titan Brody 2-16; Lincoln: Drake Granberry 3-82, Jemani Teplasy 3-51, Stephon Pugh 1-10, Josiah Williams 1-18, Deonjae Ervin 1-12, Brandon Ervin Jr. 1-17, Sebastian Esekielu 1-34.