Day After Report: Week 11

The Camas defense gave up no points and even fewer yards than previously reported, and then had a red-zone stand in the final seconds to secure the victory.

As readers of this report know, I’m a stickler for statistics. I go back and re-check my numbers after most games. Especially if I think I missed something. On deadline, I’m trying to write a game story and put together the boxscore, usually all in about 30 minutes or less. I keep a running stat chart as well as play-by-play on separate pieces of paper. And on deadline, I go with my quick read on the stat chart.

Well, it turns out I missed one play. I got the sack for minus-9 yards on my play-by-play but did not put it on my chart. I found it after deadline. And because sacks count as rushing yards for a team, Juanita’s offense actually rushed for 143 yards, not 152 yards. (Considering Juanita averaged more than 300 rushing yards per game, either number was rather significant. Camas’ defense was simply awesome, whether it was 152 or 143.)

But wait, there’s more!

Also, because of deadline, I chose not look up the official stat rules for what happened to Juanita early in the fourth quarter while in punt formation. A bad snap sailed over the punter’s head for what turned into a play for minus-34 yards. I chose not to use those numbers in my game story because at the time I was not 100 percent sure of where those numbers were supposed to be charted. I thought it should go down as team rushing, but I did not want to skew the numbers to make Camas look even better, or to make Juanita look worse, unless I knew for sure. Perhaps it was team punt yardage? Or against the special teams unit? I found the answer: Because no punt was attempted, and because it was a bad snap and not the punter’s fault, it goes as team rushing.

So all of the Juanita ball carriers in the game get credited for 54 carries for 143 yards, then the team gets credited for one carry for minus-34 yards. That means Juanita, a program known for its rushing ability, had 109 yards on the ground. (Still, most coaches would go with the 143 figure. After all, it’s not really run defense that forces a 34-yard loss on a bad snap.)

Anyway, adding the 30 yards passing, the Camas defense held Juanita to 139 yards from scrimmage.

As I wrote earlier, awesome.

Watching it in person was impressive enough, Odin Coe’s performance. The senior defensive lineman seemed to be in the middle of every play Saturday night.

Then, an hour or so after the game, I watched the game video with some of the Camas coaches. More than one said it was the best game they had ever seen Coe play, and that’s saying something because he’s been pretty good for a long time.

He emerged from the bottom of many piles. If the play went away from him, he chased down the ball carrier along the line of scrimmage. On the rare gains of four, five or six yards for Juanita, he often was the one dragging the ball carrier down from behind. He had several plays when he officially did not make the tackle, but he presence blew up the play, allowing a teammate to take down the ball carrier.

In fact, while watching live and then again on the video, it seemed like all of the Camas defenders were in perfect position all night. (And I’ll have more on those final four defensive plays to secure the victory later.)

The Camas defense held Juanita to two yards or fewer on 31 of those 54 individual carries, including 17 for no gain or negative yardage. After the game, Coe credited all of his teammates. But they would tell you that on this night, Coe was the leader of the Papermaker defense.

Zack Marshall, Camas’ top running back, was limited to three carries for 11 yards before he left the game with an injury.

While there was no official word on the injury, the talk after the game seemed positive.

Here is hoping Marshall will be back for the quarterfinals against Lakes. I will check in with Camas early in the week and try to get an update.

While it has been fun to write about Camas’ dominance, I also want to tip my cap to Juanita’s defense. The Rebels forced four turnovers, scoring on one of those plays, and held Camas to 18 yards rushing. (Yes, part of that was because of the absence of Marshall, but still, 18 yards is 18 yards.)

The Papermakers did find the air to their liking, as new starting quarterback Tony Gennaro passed for 207 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner with seven minutes remaining in the game.

Gennaro made his second start, filling in for injured Logan Grindy, and improved to 2-0 in the playoffs. He completed 15 of 29 passes against a quality defense.

And when the game was on the line, tied at 13 in the fourth quarter, he was 3 for 4 for 57 yards on the go-ahead drive.

Gennaro’s shoulder fake worked to perfection as the defense bit on the short route, leaving Jeremy Faulkner wide open for the 9-yard touchdown pass to make it 20-13.

“Perfect play call,” Gennaro said. “Everything was perfect to set it all up. And the defense was perfect the whole game.”

In a game story, it can be difficult to include all the other details in a scoring drive, or just a play to help with field position. So here is a shout-out to Brent Hill, who did not score Saturday, but set up two touchdowns. His over-the-shoulder grab late in the first half for a 36-yard connection into the red zone set up a Gennaro-to-Kyle Ervin touchdown pass and a 13-6 lead.

Hill struck again on the first play from scrimmage after Juanita tied the game at 13. The pass was on the money, and Hill made a diving catch for 36 yards. Yes, 36 again. That put the Papermakers in position to go for the touchdown. (And don’t forget Miguel Salamanca’s 12-yard reception on a third-and-11 play on that winning drive.)

Earlier in the game, Brent Hill caught a 13-yard pass on a third-and-10 play to get the ball around midfield. The drive would stall after the next three plays, but punter Roldan Alcobendas boomed one, and the ball was downed by Damon Kosaki at the Juanita 1-yard line.

Those are the plays that can change games.

It was not official on Sunday (the WIAA did not post the date/time on its site) but the coaches from Camas and Lakes were hoping for a Friday game in the quarterfinals. Camas will host the game at Doc Harris Stadium. The winner will play in the semifinals and the 3A semifinals are usually played on a Friday. The winning team wants a full week to prepare for the semifinals.

We should know early Monday for certain on the date and time.

Another thing that is certain: The Lakes coaches, just like everybody else, love Doc Harris Stadium. They were there Saturday to scout the game, and they were impressed with the facility. Again, who wouldn’t be? 

Lakes fans also will likely enjoy a great tradition. The Camas band will march to the visitor’s section during pre-game festivities and play the opponent’s fight song. The Juanita fans were appreciative on Saturday. And I think this act by Camas’ band is one of the coolest things in Clark County sports.

Why? Because it was that good, that’s why.

First of all, the defense did not give up any points. Juanita scored by recovering a Camas fumble in the end zone in the first quarter. And in the fourth quarter, the Rebels blocked a Camas field goal and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown.

Other than that, it was all Camas defense. There were so many names to write down for defensive gems: Javon Ingram, Odin Coe, Scott Feather, Kyle Goodnow, Kamari Brown, Jeremy Faulkner, John Payne, Brent Hill, and so on and so on and so on.

Brown was in on a couple of sacks.

“I’m a junior. The seniors lead this team,” Brown said. “They show so much leadership, and I just follow right behind them and try to be like them.”

Juanita’s longest drive of the game was its final drive, the one when it was trying to tie the game in the closing minutes, seconds of the fourth quarter.

The Rebels went 77 yards — they needed to go 84.

On the 11th play of the drive, the Rebels got a first down at the Camas 14-yard line. The Camas defense stood up to the challenge.

First down: Jeremiah Laufasa stuffed for no gain, with Camas’ Ikaika Gunderson making what looked like first contact.

Second down: Jyran McNairy runs right and sees a little bit of light. But defensive back John Payne dives for the ankle and gets McNairy off-balance. McNairy falls for a gain of four, but if Payne had missed him, McNairy might still be running. Or at least he would have been inside the 5-yard line.

Third down: Quarterback Derek Kaufman, who had carried the ball a few times during the game, faked a hand-off then tried to sneak around the left side. It was a play that was not used all night, but still, the Papermakers were ready. Defensive back Jeremy Faulkner sniffed out the play and met Kaufman near the line of scrimmage. Kaufman was credited with a gain of one to the 9-yard line.

Fourth down: Laufasa runs right in a play designed for him to throw the ball if someone is open, or run. Well, no one was open, so he tried to run. “Not up in here!” the Camas defenders said. (No, they didn’t really say that. They could have, though.) Now without the help of video replay, it was difficult to see just who got Laufasa first. Gunderson thought Kyle Goodnow made first contact, then a host of Papermakers crushed the ball carrier for a 2-yard gain, three yards short of the first down.

So that’s what I wrote in the first edition of The Columbian. In the second edition, I hope it got changed to Goodnow being the man who slowed Laufasa, changed his direction into a host of Papermakers. The coaches believe it was Goodnow who made that initial play, then Brent Hill made first contact on Laufasa, and a bunch of teammates finished him.

Regardless, I hope my game story and this report does any justice to the Camas defense. I think I could write more on the subject, but it’s getting late. But if you weren’t there, seriously, the defense was that good.

The Storm defense couldn’t get off the field as Auburn’s running game killed the clock, killed Skyview’s season.

The Storm scored their final touchdown with 6:02 left in the game, cutting the lead to 28-21. Skyview had all three timeouts. The right thing to do here is kick away.

Up in the press box, I had a sense of dread for the Storm if they did just that, though. Now I am not criticizing the call to kick away; just saying that I feared what was about to happen. Even mentioned it to the Skyview announcer to my right and the Auburn stat-keeper to my left. “If the Storm kick away here, they might never see the ball again.”

I got nods of approval with that comment. The Auburn guy was hoping for a long kick rather than an onside kick. I think he got the feeling that Auburn could, indeed, run out the clock. And I also got the feeling that he knew there would be no way to stop the Storm, in desperation mode, from scoring. 

Unfortunately for the Storm, my fears were realized. (Again, it was a feeling. Not a prediction. Not a knock on the decision. Heck, the Storm had three timeouts. Almost every coach would kick away.)

Auburn received the kickoff and was tackled on its own 30-yard line with 5:57 to play. Thirteen plays later, the game was over, Auburn taking a knee to end the game. 

The Trojans picked up four first downs on the drive, including a fourth-down conversion with 3:19 to play, and left Kiggins Bowl with a victory.

Auburn had the ball for 34 minutes, 52 seconds. If this were an NFL game or college, that wouldn’t be a big deal. In high school, it’s almost unheard of. That’s nearly 35 minutes of a 48-minute game. Auburn took 69 offensive snaps.

Skyview, then, had the ball for just a little more than 13 minutes, and scored 21 points on just 35 snaps.

Ellis Henderson and Karl Graves each scored touchdowns in their final game with the Storm. They are two of 12 seniors on the roster. Those who have been with the varsity since sophomore year went 26-9 with three trips to the Class 4A state playoffs. They also get to add another year to the league championship banner.

And they leave with the respect of the younger players in the program.

“I really wanted to win this one for the seniors,” junior running back Parker Henry said. “But three league titles in a row is something to be proud of.”

This week’s coverage:
Camas, Camas, Camas.

Well, not entirely true. The Columbian also must cover two fantastic runs by the Skyview and Prairie girls soccer teams. Both teams have advanced to the state semifinals. Paul Danzer is hoping to get a soccer feature done for Wednesday’s paper.

I am hoping to have a couple of features on Camas football for later in the week. Probably something on the Camas defense. Also might try to track down a story on the new quarterback.

Looking ahead … (that’s my way of telling the Camas players to stop reading because they’re not supposed to look ahead) … if Camas does win this week, the Papermakers will be practicing on Thanksgiving Day. That’s a pretty cool thing for a high school football player. And it would be a first for Camas in the state playoff era.

Thanks for reading
Paul Valencia

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