A family mentality has helped the Papermakers shut down some incredible offenses this season
CAMAS — Most of them have known each other for years, since grade school, since they started dreaming about Friday Night Lights in Camas, about championship Saturdays.
Some are new to town.
All are family.
That’s what this team is about, and certainly what this defense is about for the Camas Papermakers.
They work together, they have fun together, they win together.
Saturday, they hope to become champions together. Camas will take on Bothell at 4 p.m. at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma for the WIAA Class 4A state championship.
Camas will bring a defense that has accomplished so much this season.
The Papermakers held Lincoln, a team that made it to the Class 3A semifinals, to its lowest point total of the season. Same with 3A quarterfinalist Bellevue. They held Skyview to 24 fewer points than its average.
In the playoffs, more of the same. Eastmont averaged better than 40 points a game coming into the state playoffs. Eastmont left Doc Harris Stadium with a big fat zero on the scoreboard. In the semifinals, Mount Si got 14 points in the first half, but nothing in the second half.
Who made the stops, the big tackles? All of them. Because not one of them takes any individual credit.
If a defensive lineman gets a sack, it might be because the defensive back or linebackers had great coverage. If a quarterback escapes some pressure, a linebacker rallies to the ball. An interception by a defensive back could have been caused by pressure for a lineman.
Doesn’t matter to these guys who gets the credit.
“We definitely don’t mind not being the stars on the field,” said defensive lineman Robert Silva. “We’re more focused on doing our job than we are the fame.”
Let the offense get famous, right? After all, the Camas offensive line was touted as one of the best lines in the Northwest before the season started. That group has only reinforced that theory. A new No. 1 receiver became a big name around the state. The team proved it had three incredible running backs. Oh, and due to injury, the Papermakers found out they had two amazing quarterbacks.
The defense was just doing Camas defense things — shutting down opponents, creating havoc.
Defensive back Kolby Broadbent said the defense is kind of like a catcher in baseball. Unnoticed at times but crucial.
“We don’t get a lot of love, but we’re OK with it,” Broadbent said. “We just want to win games. We take pride in holding teams to the least amount of points they have scored all year.”
Linebacker Jackson Preston said last year might have had a few too many me moments for the program. In 2019, it’s all about we.
“This year, it’s about us playing as a team and getting to that championship game,” Preston said. “It was about how much better our team was. Play as a team, as a family, play all year as one core group.”
Silva, Preston, and Broadbent, along with defensive lineman Tristan Souza, were all voted first-team, all-league by the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League coaches. But they will tell you it is a team honor. They seem to take pride in the fact that no one from Camas was a defensive player of the year.
That group mentality was evident right away for the Silva family. It was a year ago this month when Robert and Logan Silva (a sophomore who is also making big plays this season) moved to Camas from California.
Robert said he was invited to work out with the team his second day at school.
“We got on board with their whole Revenge Tour thing,” Robert Silva said, referring to the plan for Camas to beat all teams in 2019 that beat Camas in 2018. “They welcomed me and my brother right away. They brought us in as a family really fast. That’s a great feeling, not being that odd person who was not in their group their whole life.”
Broadbent said he learned a long time ago that this game cannot be about individual achievement. As a sophomore in practice, he made a selfish mistake. Defensive coordinator Dan Kielty made every player do up/downs. It made quite an impression on Broadbent.
“It changed me as a person. It opened my eyes that it’s not just about me, it’s about everybody else,” Broadbent said. “That what his main goal is as a coach, to make sure you’re not it it for yourself. He always says you are brothers and you play for your brothers. I don’t really play for myself anymore. I play to make sure the people around me can be successful.”
Preston, too, wants to make sure Kielty is recognized. He is a coach up in the booth, out of sight.
“He’s extremely, extremely smart,” Preston said.
His coaching led his players to believe they had a shot to be special, as long as they played together.
Well, the Papermakers are 13-0 and in the championship game. That is special indeed.
The Camas defense had one of its toughest tests last week in the semifinals. Mount Si opened the game on its 20-yard line. During that first drive, the Wildcats had a 15-yard penalty against them. No matter, Mount Si scored. In all, they had 95 yards of offense. On that first drive.
“I lost no confidence,” Preston said. “We were still trying to figure them out. Once we figured them out, we went to work and dominated them.”
Silva said Broadbent was the voice of reason on the sideline after that first drive.
“I look at Kolby, ‘We’re good, we’re good. We got this,’” Silva said. “Knowing that your teammates feel the same way you do, knowing they still have 100 percent confidence in the defense to go out there and make plays, is a great feeling to have.”
Broadbent just reminded his teammates to settle in and play like they play.
Mount Si’s only other touchdown came on a short field after a Camas turnover. Mount Si, which got 95 yards of offense on that first drive, managed 156 over its final nine drives.
No one player from Camas did that. It was all of the Papermakers.
And all of them have one more challenge Saturday.