Championship preview: Camas vs. Bothell

Papermakers looking for second state championship in four seasons

Class 4A

No. 5 Bothell (11-2) vs. No. 2 Camas (13-0)

4 p.m. Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School in Tacoma

Last week:
Camas 35, Mount Si 14

Bothell 31, Woodinville 21

Camas: This Revenge Tour thing is just too incredible. 

OK, OK, the Papermakers had the exact same regular-season schedule as last year, so it was easy for them to call it a Revenge Tour, to try to beat the four teams that beat them last year in the regular season.  

But the only way the Papermakers could avenge all five losses from last year was to go up against Bothell in the playoffs.

That’s not gonna hap…

Oh, it is happening.

How did that happen?

Yes, if you believe in destiny in sports and just bizarre scenarios showing up from time to time, you have to love this.

Mighty, mighty Camas, which had lost a total of five games the previous four seasons, went 5-5 last year, including a loss in the Week 10 state preliminary round to Bothell. 

And now, 13 months later, it is Bothell again?

That’s just too fun.

If you are a regular reader to Clark County Today, you already know that Blake Asciutto is now the starting quarterback. Jake Blair got hurt in Week 8 after leading the Papermakers to an 8-0 record. Asciutto is now 5-0 as the starter. 

You know that Jacques Badolato-Birdsell is healthy again at running back. But Randy Yaacoub is ready for his chance with the ball, too. 

Jackson Clemmer has turned into an elite wide receiver.

Camas has one of the best offensive lines in Southwest Washington history. 

Oh, and the defense is crushing it, too. That’s how a team gets to be 13-0.

Camas Papermakers look to complete an undefeated season when they take on the Bothell Cougars in the 4A state title game Saturday.
Jacques Badolato-Birdsell was all smiles last week after a big win in the semifinals. Camas will take on Bothell in the 4A state championship game Saturday at 4 p.m. Photo by Mike Schultz

Bothell:
The Cougars have two impressive losses this season: One, to Kennedy in Week 2. Kennedy would go on to earn the No. 1 seed to the 4A state playoffs. The Cougars also lost to O’Dea, the No. 1 seed in Class 3A and a team that is also playing for a state title this week.

Bothell, by the way, beat Woodinville in the semifinals, and Woodinville beat Kennedy the previous week.

In other words, Bothell is tested and Bothell is not going to just roll over for the Papermakers.

Cristian Galvin, a running back, is the KingCo’s offensive player of the year. Quarterback Andrew Sirmon made first-team, all-league. Four others made first team on offense.

Eight Bothell players made first-team, all-league on defense. 

History:
This is Camas’ third state championship game appearance. The Papermakers went 14-0 and won the 2016 title.

This is the program’s 13th appearance in the state tournament, all coming since 2004.

Bothell is playing in its fourth championship game. Bothell won the title in 2014. This is the program’s 17th appearance in the state playoffs since 1982.

Computers:
ScoreCzar had Camas at No. 3 and Bothell at No. 10 when the state playoffs began. In the latest Evans Rankings, Camas is No. 1 and Bothell is No. 4.

The Mount Tahoma Experience: 

This is an unknown. No one knows what it will be like Saturday at Mount Tahoma High School. We do know that people hate change.

Camas and Bothell fans, I ask that you keep an open mind. 

Yes, it will be colder than in the Tacoma Dome. Yes, showers are in the forecast. You might get wet. But the Tacoma Dome was no longer an option.

This is a guess. Only a guess. I don’t not have any inside information: I believe this will be a one-year thing with three sites holding the six championship games on the same day. I am hoping for a better plan beginning next year, too.

But, please, have an open mind.

Some of the greatest atmospheres in all of sports is a packed high school stadium. Think Evergreen-Mountain View in the early 2000s. Think Union-Camas at McKenzie or at Doc Harris Stadium. 

The dome gave fans a different perspective, and it felt like a “big event” when it was in the dome. No doubt.

But if there are not enough seats in the grandstands for Camas and Bothell fans, and the temporary bleachers fill up too, and there is actual standing room only for this football game, well, that could be special, too.

Also, I just about guarantee you that wherever you are inside the stadium, you will be able to see the football field, the whole field.

THAT IS NOT THE CASE IN THE TACOMA DOME ANYMORE. Sorry for screaming. But it needs to be emphasized. 

As Ryland Spencer of Cascadia Preps noted this week:

“Money doesn’t even matter. The Tacoma Dome is no longer a viable football facility. I don’t care if they gave it to the WIAA for free.”

The renovations to the dome’s seating area caused many, many Hockinson and Union fans to not see their own team’s benches, and in some cases, not see the first few yards from the sideline.

Seriously.

Is Mount Tahoma the best facility for this championship game? Probably not. But if you can see your team and you can see the football field, it is better than the Tacoma Dome. 

And here is something I’ve been saying since the WIAA announced the Tacoma Dome would no longer be the championship site:

No football player has ever won a state title, then said, “This is OK, but I would have rather played in a dome.”

Camas Papermakers look to complete an undefeated season when they take on the Bothell Cougars in the 4A state title game Saturday.
The Camas Papermakers are hoping to be celebrating Saturday evening in Tacoma. Photo by Mike Schultz

No TV: A reminder that the Camas-Bothell game is not on Root Sports. 

When the WIAA decided to use multiple sites, Root Sports had to choose. The network went with the 3A title game and 2A title game rather than 4A and 1B. Makes sense. The 3A championship game is the game-of-the-year in the state. Root Sports gambled that it would be O’Dea and/or Eastside Catholic in the finals.

Fans who stay at home can watch a streaming version of the 4A game at: https://www.nfhsnetwork.com/associations/wiaa-wa. There is a fee for this.

Tickets: 

Tickets for the state championship games are $16 for adults, $11 for senior citizens and students. A ticket is good for all six games in the Puget Sound area. 

At Mount Tahoma, the noon game is the 1B championship game between Naselle vs. Odessa. Camas and Bothell will kick off at 4 p.m.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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