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Yelm escapes with 8-7 win over Camas

Tornados, defending 3A champs, block potential game-winning FG in final seconds

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer
Published: September 2, 2023, 12:07am

CAMAS — The atmosphere, the quality teams on the field, and even the down-to-the-wire theatrics had all the makings for a playoff showdown at Doc Harris Stadium on Friday night. 

Yet this was the 2023 season opener. And one heck of a season opener, it was. 

The biggest takeaway from the Camas Papermakers’ narrow 8-7 defeat to defending 3A state champion Yelm is this: there’s a lot to learn and even more to gain, players said postgame. 

“This is just going to help us later on,” junior quarterback Jake Davidson said, who made his varsity debut Friday night.” I really feel we know where we are now, and we just need to work on it.”

Coach Jack Hathaway spoke postgame to his team about the entire journey and how a Week 1 one-point defeat at home isn’t the Super Bowl. He even spoke how sometimes the best team on the field doesn’t always win. 

In a game Friday that saw countless penalties — mostly from the visitors — it was a defensive performance on both sides the entire 48 minutes. Plus, Yelm’s special teams in the final seconds blocked Camas’ potential 18-yard game-winning field goal to take over on downs and run out the clock after the Papermakers marched 65 yards down the field in less than 2 minutes to put themselves in a position for the win. 

Yelm handled Camas last season at home, 44-14, on its way to winning the program’s first-ever state title in football. On Friday, though, the outcome might’ve been the same, but they got there was far from it.

Both teams scored touchdowns in consecutive possessions in the second quarter. First came national four-star recruit Brayden Platt’s longest carry of the game for Yelm — a 30-yard score — that gave Yelm its 8-0 lead. On the next series for Camas, a seven-play, 80-yard drive was capped by Titan Brody’s 4-yard score that made it an 8-7 game. 

Then there’s the red zone what-ifs for Camas. What if Yelm didn’t pick off Camas in the end zone right to end the first half after a 68-yard drive? What if Camas hadn’t been stopped inside the 3-yard line on three straight plays in the third quarter, leading to a field-goal try that bounced off the left upright in the third quarter? 

Senior tackle Carson Osmus praised his teammates’ performance on both sides of the ball. He took reins of the postgame huddle and shared words of encouragement 

“We worked our (butts) off — I’m so proud of us,” Osmus said. “That’s a great team. In the beginning of the week, we said to set the tone, and we set the tone against them. You can’t get much better than that.”

Late in the fourth, the defense set the tone once again with a fourth-down stop — one of multiple in the game by the Camas defense. In fact, the loudest moment of the game came with 2 minutes, 14 seconds to play. Hathaway turned to the home crowd and signal patrons to get loud. Camas players soon got involved … sideline players and the defense on the field. 

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Perhaps it worked, because Camas’ defense stood tall stopping Yelm on fourth and 1 at the 34 to take over on downs at its own 34 with 2:14 to go trailing 8-7. 

Then the offense went to work. Davidson hit two receivers back-to-back, had an 8-yard scamper, and then a 10-yard catch by Anthony Forner made it first and goal at the 1. 

Yet Yelm stopped Camas — again. Facing fourth down, Camas elected to go for a field goal as the seconds ticked down. Trenton Swanson’s try was blocked by Yelm’s Anthony Kiamco, and the Tornados took over on downs to run out the clock for the win. 

“You game plan for all this stuff, but you never think they’re going to block a field goal with 20 seconds left,” Osmus said. 

Camas players showed their frustration and disappointment, but others know this is just the beginning. Davidson, the quarterback, is one of them. He finished 11 of 26, hitting four different receivers. Forner and Swanson combined for eight catches for 152 yards.

“We played a great offense and defense,” Davidson said. “We held the (defending 3A state champions) to eight points. Our offense played great, too. Even though we put up seven points, we were one yard away.”

YELM 8, CAMAS 7

Yelm 0 8 0 0 -8

Camas 0 7 0 0 -0

Second quarter

Y — Brayden Platt 30 run (Platt run)

C — Titan Brody 4 run (Trenton Swanson kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

Rushing: Camas — Reid Tennent 6-18, Titan Brody 15-45, Jake Davidson 3-10. 

Passing: Camas — Jake Davidson 11-26-1-209. 

Receiving: Camas — Titan Brody 1-11, Chase McGee 2-45, Trenton Swanson 4-60, Anthony Forner 4-93.

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