Coach Eagle holds the championship trophy up over his head

Dreams came true for the Camas High School football players and coaches when they won the 4A state championship Saturday at the Tacoma Dome. (Dan Trujillo/Post-Record)

Posted: December 5, 2016

Camas football team wins a state title for its hometown

It’s a story that’s never been told… until now.

After a 14-week conquest against teams from Oregon, Washington and Idaho, the Camas Papermakers defeated the Richland Bombers 24-14 at the Tacoma Dome Saturday to become state champions for the first time in school history.

“The biggest thing is, it isn’t about all the success and the wins and the plays we made. It’s just all the times in practices when we were grinding. It’s pouring down rain, we’re cold, but we’re doing it all together,” said quarterback Jack Colletto. “And that’s what really makes this fun and enjoyable, when we’re doing it all together. It’s not just one person making something happen. We’re all pushing each other to be great and we’re all having a great time out there.”

David Aarhus was in tears thinking about everything he went through to get back out on the field. A fractured foot cost him the first seven weeks of the season, but he never missed a practice or a game. All of that pain, patience and preparation paid off when he got to play these last seven weeks of high school football and help his team win it all.

“The hardest thing was probably these last four quarters. Hardest football I’ve ever played in my life,” Aarhus said. “That fourth quarter seemed forever. A lot of us are banged up, injured. We just overcame that.

“No other way I’d want to win it,” he added. “Our names are etched in stone, and it’s going to be forever.”

The weight of that state championship trophy meant so much to Michael Matthews. All the hard work, dedication, blood, sweat and tears of so many Papermakers.

“It’s absolutely worth it to play football for this awesome community with my best friends,” he said. “It’s so much to take in. I’ve seriously dreamed about this day my whole life.

“No better way to end it,” Matthews added. “We’ve been talking about winning a state championship ever since we started playing football in the first grade. It’s really a dream come true.”

Marcus Gray said that trophy was “pretty heavy” after those final 48 minutes, “but worth it.”

“It’s what I’ve dreamed of since I was 5 years old.”

Camas started the game off with a bang. Colletto shook off the oncoming tacklers and fired a 35-yard missile to Cooper McNatt running all alone down the field. McNatt leaped over the goal line and came down with the football in the end zone. Less than three minutes in, it was 7-0 Papermakers.

“I knew I was getting in,” McNatt said. “The line gave Jack some time, and he threw me a perfect ball.”

The game then turned defensive. Both Camas and Richland came up with some big stops. The Bombers took advantage of two 15-yard penalties by the Papermakers and tied the score on a 41-yard touchdown run by Ben Stanfield.

Read the full story at The Post Record.

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