Days After Report: Goodbye to football; thanks to the Papermakers

I waited to write this today because it is the last day of high school football season.

In a few hours, the Class 4A state championship game will be played, the sixth state title game in two day at the Tacoma Dome.

Me? I’m in Clark County. No team to cover in the dome in the finals this year.

But once again, the county had strong representation at the state level.

Allow me this time to publicly thank the Camas Papermakers for their second consecutive final four run. Skyline is playing in the finals tonight because Skyline was the better team in its matchup against the Papermakers last week in the semifinals. No shame in that, Camas.

Many people believe Camas was the second-best team in the state. Just so happened the top two teams played in the semis.

Anyway, Camas’ success this season continues a great trend for the Southwest Washington big schools.

In 2001 and 2002, Mountain View made the state semifinals. Columbia River did it in 2002. Evergreen made the final four in 2003 then won the state title in 2004.

Later, Union made it to the finals and then the semifinals. Skyview made it to the semifinals and then, last year, to the finals.

So thanks to the Papermakers for making it happen this year. And thanks to all the football players from Clark County who make it so fun to cover this sport.

Here comes the Payne! I understand that Skyline’s trick play last week was shown on ESPN’s SportsCenter. That’s cool. It was a great play.

But as I tweeted that day, long-time observers of Clark County football had already seen that play. Mountain View, in its final four runs a decade ago, used the same play several times. Worked every time I saw it, too.

The play, for those who forgot, goes like this: The quarterback throws the ball overhand toward a wide receiver as if the play were designed as a wide receiver screen. The ball is actually passed sideway, or backward, and the ball is bounced off the turf.

To defenders not paying close attention, it looks like an incomplete pass. Nope. It is considered a lateral. Which means the play continues. The wide receiver, who got the ball off the bounce, can still run. Or, in this case, because he is behind the line of scrimmage, he can pass. That’s what happened in the Skyline game, with the wide receiver throwing a touchdown pass.

My favorite part of the play was noticing that one Camas player was not fooled. Oh sure, Skyline still got the TD, but the guy who threw the TD pass, Matt Sinatro, paid for it.

Camas defensive back Jorden Payne saw what was happening. He went after Sinatro. Leveled him, too, just as Sinatro was throwing the ball. Looked like a clean hit, but it was a devastating hit.

“I saw him there and I never heard a whistle. I was always told, ‘Play to the whistle.’ So I went after him,” Payne told me later that night.

Sinatro was feeling the effects of that hit then and later. After the game, Payne said Sinatro told him, “Good hit.” Sinatro even showed Payne the bruise that had already formed.

It was a great trick play. One guy was not fooled. Skyline got the touchdown anyway. So much going on in one play.

Eagle soars: You might have noticed that John Norcross and Zach Eagle were selected to the Tacoma News Tribune’s all-state team. Congrats to them both.

You also might have noticed that the paper described Eagle as a Wes Welker-like receiver. That is the same as saying Eagle is small for the position, but sneaky fast and smart with great hands. That’s definitely a compliment.

In the semifinals, Eagle caught 15 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns. The yards and receptions are school records.

On a personal note, years ago I designed a football stat sheet that makes it easier for me to calculate all the yards as they are happening. (Yeah, I know I could use a computer, but I’ve got too many other things going on with the computer while I’m covering a game so I prefer old-school pen and paper with the stats.)

I’ve allowed others to use my stat sheet as well, and they seem to like it. A lot of people ask me for blank copies every year.

Anyway, on my stat sheet, I list under receiving up to 15 catches for an individual in a column. Until last week, I had never used all 15 boxes for one player in a high school game.

So, thanks Zach. You made school history and also set a personal record for me covering high school receptions.

Changes to All-Region: I cannot get into details right now. Tim Martinez is working on a column that I believe will run in Monday’s paper that will explain it all. But we are going to have a little more fun with our All-Region football team.

Thanks again to all football players and coaches, and of course, the readers.

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