Camas bursts into league play after emotional comeback win over Coeur d’Alene


Papermakers open Class 4A Greater St. Helens League play at Battle Ground

Camas Papermakers (4-0)

Week 1: Camas 35, Central Catholic (Ore.) 13

Week 2: Camas 34, Sherwood (Ore.) 12

Week 3: Camas 52, Davis 19

Week 4: Camas 28, Coeur d’Alene (Idaho) 25

Next: Camas at Battle Ground, 7 p.m. Friday at District Stadium

Last week, Camas trailed by 11 points with 2 minutes, 30 seconds left in the game. Camas did not even have the ball.  Oh, and Camas won.

About time, huh Camas?

Through the years, I have seen so many teams that were trailing and needing to recover an onside kick yet failed.

Through the years, I have seen so many teams that were trailing and needing to recover an onside kick, succeed with the recovery, yet fail to convert, to score, to win.

Camas running back Will Schultz (37) crosses the goal line in the Papermakers’ win over Coeur d’Alene last week. Schultz had 132 yards rushing in the game. Photo by Mike Schultz
Camas running back Will Schultz (37) crosses the goal line in the Papermakers’ win over Coeur d’Alene last week. Schultz had 132 yards rushing in the game. Photo by Mike Schultz

One of those two scenarios is the norm, by the way. It is rare to see the successful onside kick along with a successful scoring drive after the recovery.

After Friday’s game at Doc Harris Stadium, I can now say I have covered three Camas football games when the abnormal happened. The team that was losing got the hat trick: One touchdown to get closer, a successful onside kick, then the other touchdown to win the game.

In 2009, the Papermakers had Union, or so it seemed, for the Class 3A Greater St. Helens League title. Union scored, recovered an onside kick, then scored again to steal the victory. (By the way, that’s the last league loss for Camas, way back in 2009. And it took that comeback to beat Camas, too.)

In 2013, there was a state championship game. No need to discuss other than that was a sports miracle for the other team.

And now, 2017, the Papermakers got one to go their way.

Timeout 2:30 remaining:

Coeur d’Alene called a timeout with 2:30 left in the fourth quarter. The Vikings had the ball on the Camas 9-yard line and it was fourth-and-6. The Vikings led 25-14.

What to do?
The Vikings could have kicked a field goal. However, one extra point earlier in the game was nearly blocked and there were some long-snap issues as well. Plus, had they made the field goal, they would have been up 14 but would have had to kick off. The Papermakers were getting great returns all night.

Up 11 or 14, that’s still two scores. So by going for the first down or touchdown, even if they didn’t convert, Camas would still be down two scores and would need 90-plus yards just for the first score.

This was the right decision, to go for it.

The Vikings ended up fumbling the ball on the fourth-down play. Camas recovered at the 3-yard line with 2:21 to play.

Still, there was no way the Vikings could have figured what would happen next.

First drive of the comeback:

An incomplete pass followed by a 6-yard run by Will Schultz. On third down, quarterback Kyle Allen found Isaiah Abdul on a 12-yard pass to the 21-yard line.

Schultz followed with an 11-yard run. (Gotta love mixing it up here, keeping the defense confused.)

The big play: Ja’Micheal Shelton on a 46-yard pass to the Coeur d’Alene 22-yard line. Then there was a 9-yard pass to Abdul and an incomplete pass.

On third down, Allen and Drake Owen both made great plays. Allen scrambled away from pressure, buying time. He threw to Owen, who kept both feet in play as he caught the ball while falling out of bounds. Touchdown.

(The two-point conversion failed.)

25-20, 1:04 left in the game.

“I feel I could have made a better throw, but he made an incredible catch,” Allen said.

Owen credited preparation. He and Allen actually practice the technique of throwing the ball to the outside, away from any defender, with Owen toe-tapping in bounds. What we all saw in that dramatic moment came from hundreds of passes in practice.

Onside kick:

The onside kick went away from the home sideline, away from the press box, so it was difficult for me to see who recovered the ball.

Oh, that was Owen.

Yeah, he was everywhere.

Winning TD drive:

There was an incomplete pass, followed by a 10-yard pass from Allen to Shelton to get to the Coeur d’Alene 39-yard line.

Allen connected with Abdul for a 19-yard play to the 20, plus add 10 more yards due to a late-hit penalty on the Vikings.

After an incomplete pass, there was a defensive pass interference call on second down, moving the ball to the 5-yard line. (Remember, in high school ball, it’s a 15-yard penalty or half the distance to the goal, and it’s not an automatic first down. So it was still second down.) Schultz ran for a gain of 1 to the 4-yard line. Then an incomplete pass on third down.

This was it. Fourth down.

“As soon as I threw it, I knew Drake would make the adjustment,” Allen said. “I knew he’d come down with it if I gave him the chance.”

Touchdown Papermakers with 20 seconds remaining. Oh, and the Allen-Owen combo worked again for the 2-point conversion and a 28-25 lead.


Remember that eclipse a month or so ago? Yeah, every time there is a total eclipse in the area, I mess up on my stats. (My way of saying I’m pretty good at this, but even I can make a mistake. Please forgive me.) They are corrected now, but my apologies to Will Schultz. I shorted him five yards. He had 132 yards, not 127 yards. I will now go fine myself a dollar for every yard.

I also double-checked my yardage for both teams. And Camas fans might want to shield their eyes.

Coeur d’Alene gained 610 yards, rushing for 359 yards.

Guess that is what happens when playing one of the best players in the country and a future Washington Husky. Colson Yankoff rushed for 182 yards and threw for 251 yards. Running back Shilo Morgon rushed for 120 yards.

Camas, meanwhile, gained 379 yards.

Now is the time for the Vikings to look away from this report:

Coeur d’Alene was penalized 17 times for 151 yards. Camas was flagged five times for 40 yards.

And the only stat that mattered was the one on the scoreboard.

Coach Speak:

What did Jon Eagle think about Week 4’s game? “We beat a very good team. They were in control for much of the game. We have to fix our timing on offense and take better care of the ball.

“Very proud of our team on many levels. No quit. Executed when it mattered. True confidence emerging from many players. Getting better fundamentally.”

More highlight, more info:

The Camas coaching staff prefers not to name individual MVPs. I have no problem saluting Kyle Allen and Drake Owen one more time, though, as well as a few players on defense.
Allen threw for 114 yards and two touchdowns in a span of 2 minutes, 1 second, from taking over at Camas’ own 3-yard line with 2:21 left in the game to the game-winner with 20 seconds remaining.

Owen, meanwhile, caught eight passes for 68 yards, two touchdowns, a 2-point conversion, plus he was pretty awesome on special teams. (Not just the onside recovery.)

Defensively, yes, there were big plays. It might not seem like it, giving up more than 600 yards of offense. But then consider, if a team gains 600 yards of offense, shouldn’t it have scored more than four touchdowns? You’d think, but Camas made some key plays at key times.

Ryan Rushall had an interception. My “defensive gems” sheet is filled with No. 17. That’s Luke Bruno. Shelton and Bruno combined to stop a 2-point conversion. Shelton also knocked down a pass that led to a Vikings punt. Will Schultz was in on a different third play to stop another drive. Shane Jamison had a big stuff at the line of scrimmage. So did Taylor Adams. And Jordan Howes lowered the boom.

Oh yeah, The Streak!

Camas improved its streak of wins in the regular season to 54 games. Camas still has not lost in in the regular season since 2011.

Technically, this will not go down as the closest game in the streak. Chiawana lost to Camas by two points in 2014. But Friday’s game against Coeur d’Alene was the biggest threat to this streak. Camas led by nine in the Chiawana game of 2014. Chiawana scored late, but Camas held on and never lost the lead.

This one, of course, is being billed as the Mill City Miracle. I did not come up with that. I tried to find the origin this week. Another journalist who used the term on social media told me he heard it from the sideline. Anyway, great name for the game, whoever said it first.

Also of note, the 2014 Chiawana game at Doc Harris Stadium and now this one are the only two “close” games in the streak.

There was a 17-point game in 2014 and a 19-point game last year at Coeur d’Alene. The other 50 wins have been by three or more touchdowns.

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