Camas had three days off before taking down Skyview 38-31 in 2OT
It was about 25 minutes after a game that went double-overtime.
The fans had already left Doc Harris Stadium.
Most of the players were either already gone or on their way out of the stadium.
The Camas coaching staff got together at the 50-yard line.
Down the sideline,a few Camas and Skyview players were talking to each other, likely saluting each other for competing in such an epic football game.
Camas lost the lead, regained the lead, lost the lead, then tied the game in the final five minutes of regulation. Camas got a touchdown in each of its overtime possessions to prevail over Skyview 38-31.
If THIS is Tuesday Night Football, then the football world will happily embrace Tuesday Night Football.
But back to that group at the 50-yard line.
Again, this was not even a half hour after the Papermakers had just saved their chance at sharing a league title. It was minutes after Camas’ greatest victory of this abbreviated season.
Were the coaches celebrating?
No. They did that about 15 minutes earlier.
Good teams win games. Great teams start preparing for the next win right away.
And this year, ‘right away’ comes a lot quicker.
The Camas coaches, on Tuesday night, were discussing Wednesday’s plan.
Camas might have just won a game on Tuesday, just a few days after winning a game last Friday. But the Papermakers have another game on Saturday.
Yes, three games in nine days.
Skyview is set to play three games in 10 days. The Storm played last Thursday and will play again on Saturday.
Call it the Pandemic Schedule. The Class 4A and 3A Greater St. Helens Leagues wanted to schedule as many games as possible through April 2. Athletic administrators decided to add an extra game with three playing dates in 10 days.
The coaches, and players, have adapted. In fact, the players took it as a challenge. Camas delayed its game last week by a day and played Friday instead of Thursday. So there was one less day to prepare for Skyview.
“Like our coaches say, it’s history. This has never been done before,” Camas quarterback Jake Blair said after Tuesday’s win. “We’ve got another game Saturday. So we’re going to celebrate this one, then get ready for the next one.”
Prior to the game, both head coaches weighed in on the oddity of the schedule.
“This is good for the kids to get them on the football field,” Camas coach Jon Eagle said. “As a long-term solution, it’s not a good idea. But this is a short-term solution, so I think it’s a good idea in this case.”
Eagle said it reminded him of 15, 20 years ago when there were Monday or Tuesday cross-over playoff games.
Skyview coach Steve Kizer said playing Camas in March made him feel like it was spring ball.
“We oughta go 10 plays offense, 10 plays defense, and never move the ball,” Kizer joked before Tuesday’s game.
It turned out, this was much more than an intense scrimmage.
That, too, has been an interesting development for the football players. After so much uncertainty, the expectation for the coaches was to just give athletes a chance to play. But then, when it’s Camas vs. Skyview, or Camas vs. Union, it becomes more than just a game.
“You go into this wanting to give the kids an experience,” Eagle said. “The competitive juices come out. You put all that pandemic aside, and we want to show well.”
Both teams put on a show Tuesday.
Camas took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. The Storm battled back to within four points with a third-quarter touchdown.
Defenses prevailed for the next 14 game minutes.
Then it was all offense, all the time.
Xavier Owens caught a 40-yard touchdown pass from Clark Coleman with 4:48 to play, giving Skyview a 17-14 lead.
Just 50 seconds later, Camas was back in the lead after a 61-yard bomb from Blair to Bryce Dewey.
The Storm returned the favor. XO again. This time, Owens used a powerful stiff-arm to break free on a 19-yard TD pass from Coleman. Skyview 24-21 with 1:19 to play.
Camas did not panic. The Papermakers converted two fourth-down plays, including an incredible catch by Andrew Caroussos for a 35-yard gain, to get in position to tie. Kicker Matt Gerardo was true on a 31-yarder on the final play of regulation.
“The environment was crazy. That’s every kicker’s dream to hit that, but at the same time, you’re nervous,” Gerardo said. “It was a great experience.”
Blair rushed for a touchdown on Camas’ first overtime possession. Coleman did the same for Skyview to send the game into a second OT.
That’s where Blair found Dewey on a 12-yard touchdown pass for another Camas lead.
The Camas defense got the job done in the second Skyview possession, securing the victory.
“It was crazy. Never quit. We told our team at the beginning of the game, never quit, never give up,” Blair said. “All we got is all we need for this game and that was the whole mindset for the entire game, and it showed in the end.”
The result means Camas, Skyview, and Union each have one loss, with Union beating Camas, Skyview beating Union, and now Camas beating Skyview. Camas and Skyview each have two games remaining. Union has one game left.
For Camas, this victory saved the season for the program that is the defending state champion.
“It matters to us seniors,” defensive lineman Robert Silva said. “We were forced to be gone most of the year. All the hard work, all the workouts we had to do on our own, all the player-run practices, this is what it comes down to. This is it.”
Of course, there are a couple games remaining.
Camas takes on a much-improved Heritage squad on Saturday. Skyview has a date with Mountain View.
For football teams, playing three games in nine or 10 days is a difficult stretch.
“I didn’t know I signed up to be a basketball coach,” Kizer said.
For a strange season, though, for the chance to play even one more game, the extreme schedule works.
Games aren’t just being played.
Epic, down-to-the-wire, remember-forever games are being played.