CAMAS — Two straight non-league wins against quality opponents had the Camas football team thinking Friday about how much progress they’ve made since week one.
But the result, a 21-7 Camas win against Class 3A Lincoln of Tacoma, took a backseat to an injury that occurred late in the fourth quarter to end the game with 2 minutes, 17 seconds remaining.
As the Papermakers attempted to wind down the clock, Lincoln senior Kelly Sio-Fetaui went down to the turf while defending a run play and lay motionless on the turf at Doc Harris Stadium while trainers and coaches tended to him.
Lincoln coach Masaki Matsumoto said Sio-Fetaui sustained a neck injury, possibly a stinger — “we’re hoping,” Matsumoto said.
Sio-Fetaui held a thumbs-up sign as he was taken off the field on a stretcher and both teams applauded him. First responders with the Camas-Washougal Fire Department transported the player by ambulance to a local hospital as a precaution, Matsumoto said.
After the game, Lincoln players and coaches had tears in their eyes walking from the locker room to the team bus. During the stoppage, both teams gathered on their respective sidelines to pray for Sio-Fetaui. At a certain point, Lincoln coaches concluded the team shouldn’t resume playing. Matsumoto met Camas coach Jack Hathaway at midfield and shook hands, confirming the game was over.
“The longer it took, I just said, ‘hey, let’s be reasonable.’ And the Camas coach (Jack Hathaway) was great about it too,” Matsumoto said.
Hathaway called the decision mutual.
“I think it’s just a good reminder of this game. It’s tough. It’s a battle,” Hathaway said. “I feel for the player and their whole team, a really good team and physical team. They played their butts off. For it to end like that with an injury … it’s just a good reminder of how precious things are. My heart goes out to them.”
Whereas last week’s 55-20 win over Glacier Peak was something of a breakout game for Camas, the Papermakers anticipated Friday’s matchup with Lincoln to be a physical slugfest.
While navigating some hiccups along the way, the Papermakers responded well to the challenge the Abes presented.
Camas (2-1) scored three rushing touchdowns — two from Beau Harlan, plus one in between by Titan Brody — starting with a precise eight-play, 58-yard opening drive ending in a 1-yard Harlan plunge up the middle.
When the Papermakers needed a play, chances were Harlan, a junior, was part of it.
After Lincoln’s Dre Sio-Fetaui intercepted Camas in the end zone nearing the end of the first quarter, Harlan returned the favor two plays later, picking off Lincoln freshman quarterback Sione Kaho across the middle to set up a short field for Camas.
Brody scored on a 21-yard rush to give Camas a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
In addition to Harlan’s play on defense (one interception, one sack and one tackle for loss) and special teams, he added an 11-yard touchdown run late in the third, giving Camas a 14-point lead to work with in the final quarter.
“He’s tough as nails,” Hathaway said. “He’s everything that we think Camas Papermakers should be — tough, energetic, there’s no quit and he has that mentality.”
The Papermakers’ defense held Lincoln (1-2) to just one scoring drive, ending a 3-yard Jadeon Scranton rushing touchdown in the second quarter. When they had momentary lapses, corrections came quickly.
Take, for example, when Lincoln’s Kaho hit Jemani Teplasy for a 91-yard pass in the fourth quarter. A touchdown-saving tackle gave the Abes 1st-and-goal at the 7-yard line. Three plays later on 4th-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Camas stuffed Lincoln’s run attempt, led by Anthony Forner, to turn the Abes over on downs and essentially clinch the win.
“Respond not react is what we say, and that’s (what) we did this game,” Harlan said.
All of it is progress for the Papermakers, who won their first home game of the season after losing a tough, 8-7 decision to defending 3A state champion Yelm in week one. Following that result up with a pair of wins against Glacier Peak and Lincoln, two teams Camas lost to last season, the Papermakers are gaining momentum.
“We wouldn’t be where we are now if we didn’t lose that game,” Harlan said of the Yelm game. “It pushed us way further than we could’ve been pushed. (Tonight) is not the outcome we expected. We always think we can do better, there’s always things to improve on, especially in this game. But, we’ve improved leaps and bounds compared to week one. Now we’re just looking to challenges ahead.”
CAMAS 21, LINCOLN 7
Lincoln 0 7 0 0—7
Camas 7 7 7 0—21
C — Beau Harlan 1 run (Keegan White kick)
C — Titan Brody 21 run (White kick)
L — Jadeon Scranton 3 run (Jesus Barraza kick)
C — Harlan 11 run (White kick)
RUSHING — Lincoln: Kelly Sio-Fetaui 8-17, Sione Kaho 5-(minus 2), Maurice Gosby Jr. 4-44, Jadeon Scranton 7-7, Team 1-(minus 16); Camas: Reid Tennant 2-28, Beau Harlan 11-31, Titan Brody 10-43, Jake Davidson 3-(minus 7), Alex Horza 3-28.
PASSING — Lincoln: Kaho 15-29-1-292; Camas: Davidson 17-26-1-201, Grady Milholen 0-1-1-0.
RECEIVING — Lincoln: Brandon Ervin Jr. 2-36, Kelly Sio-Fetaui 1-8, Kanoa Teplasy 4-55, Sebastian Esekielu 2-12, Gosby 1-17, Jemani Teplasy 4-155, Jamirie Pringle 1-8; Camas: Anthony Forner 2-20, Trenton Swanson 10-116, Nikko Speer 2-17, Chase McGee 3-48.