By René Ferrán | Photos by Ken Waz
The Camas football program is not into moral victories.
So, while the Papermakers showed marked improvement from their Week 1 defeat against Central Catholic, that mattered little after they dropped to 0-2 for the first time in the past 24 years Friday night with a 38-30 loss to Clackamas at Doc Harris Stadium.
“We were better this week, but we’re nowhere near where we need to be,” said first-year coach Jack Hathaway. “That’s the bottom line, and our kids know that. That’s encouraging as a coach to know that our kids understand this is not where we need to be.”
The last time Camas went 0-2, it was amidst a 21-game losing streak that spanned nearly three years. The Papermakers are nowhere near that level of futility, but after twice watching leads slip away from them, they’re left searching for answers with another traditional Oregon powerhouse in Jesuit coming to Doc Harris next Friday.
“The week before the Central Catholic game, it was an OK week of practice,” said senior Jarius Phillips, who ran for a touchdown Friday and had a game-high 11 tackles. “And after that game, the players came together, and we had a talk where we decided that things needed to get better, and we needed to do more to get our team to where we need to be.
“This game shows that we’re not exactly where we need to be yet, but it definitely shows that we’re getting there. I think we’re going to be fine. I believe in our team and the players we have. We’ve got to make some things change, but we have what it takes to get it done.”
For the second week in a row, the Papermakers saw an opponent get big plays on special teams and in the passing game that turned the momentum against them.
Last week, it was Central Catholic’s Stryder Todd-Fields who hurt them. This time, it was Cavaliers junior Miles Williams, one of Oregon’s top Class of 2023 recruits, who sparked his team after Camas had erased an early deficit to build a 17-7 lead.
First, Williams hauled in a 61-yard touchdown pass from first-time starting quarterback Blake Baker, getting behind three defenders and shrugging off a diving tackle attempt at the 15.
The Cavaliers then forced a three-and-out, and Williams hauled in a line-drive punt off a bounce at the Clackamas 46, found a crease and jetted for a 54-yard score.
“We just needed a spark, and I gave it,” said Williams, who had four catches for 105 yards. “I had to show up and make big plays. That’s what I do.”
While the Papermakers have a solid team with potential playmakers like junior receiver Zach Blair (eight catches for 101 yards) and senior Nathan Criddle (six catches for 99 yards), through two games, they haven’t found that one dynamic player who can turn a game in their favor.
“These games are decided by a few plays here and there, and they happened to make more of them,” Hathaway said. “We gained experience off that and learned from that tonight. We’re going to be the team that makes those plays at the end of the year.”
The Papermakers rebounded from Williams’ heroics to regain the lead late in the third quarter on Luke Jamison’s second touchdown run, a 7-yarder with 4:16 left. That’s when Williams came through again, somehow tiptoeing the sideline with a defender draped on him for a 35-yard catch to the Camas 2.
Two plays later, Ash bulled into the end zone to put the Cavaliers ahead for good.
“Miles and Luke made a ton of plays at big moments of the game,” said second-year Clackamas coach James Holan. “It would have been easy after giving up two scores after scoring quick and just kind of letting that momentum get to us, but credit to these guys for believing in each other and having each other’s backs.”
Finally, Williams put a capper on his night by intercepting a fourth-down pass in the end zone with 3:43 to play and the Cavaliers nursing a 38-27 lead.
While the Papermakers eventually got within 38-30 on junior Ethan Ouchi’s third field goal of the night with 1:47 to play, Clackamas ran nearly all the remaining time off the clock after recovering the ensuing onside kickoff. One last desperation heave went for naught, allowing the Cavaliers to celebrate a hard-fought opening victory after having to sit Week 1 when their opponent, Gresham, had to go into COVID quarantine.
“It was tough last week, practicing without a game plan,” Williams said. “This is a great Camas program, obviously. We had a great week executing our game plan, and it paid off tonight.”
Friday marked Baker’s debut as Clackamas’ starter at quarterback, and the junior led a blitzkrieg opening drive that ended with him finding a wide-open KJ Johnson-Gibson, who’d beaten the corner at the line, for a 35-yard touchdown.
The Papermakers answered immediately, driving 67 yards in 13 plays, with Jamison scoring on a 1-yard run on fourth down to tie the score at 7-7. After forcing a three-and-out, Camas took advantage of great field position after a poor punt, needing just six plays to take the lead on Phillips’ 3-yard run.
They had several chances to further build their lead, but the Cavaliers produced enough big plays to stymie Camas in the red zone. Noah Preuitt’s sack on third-and-goal from the 8 led to Ouchi’s first field goal, and Ben Moffett broke up a pass in the end zone just before halftime.
Ouchi, taking the place of injured senior Matthew Gerardo, calmly kicked his second field goal from 32 yards to draw Camas within 21-20 going into intermission.
“I think we put together a pretty good first half, but we left some points on the board,” Hathaway said. “We just got stagnant in the second half, and they made some good plays. That’s the bottom line.”
Clackamas 38, Camas 30
Clackamas – 7 – 14 – 10 – 7 — 38
Camas – 14 – 6 – 7 – 3 — 30
Clk — KJ Johnson-Gibson 35 pass from Blake Baker (Brandt Maiden kick), 9:42
Cam — Luke Jamison 1 run (Ethan Ouchi kick), 5:35
Cam — Jairus Phillips 3 run (Ouchi kick), 2:15
Cam — FG Ouchi 31, 7:46
Clk — Miles Williams 61 pass from Baker (Maiden kick), 6:44
Clk — Mi.Williams 54 punt return (Maiden kick), 5:23
Cam — FG Ouchi 32, 1:28
Clk — FG Maiden 32, 7:09
Cam — Jamison 7 run (Ouchi kick), 4:16
Clk — Luke Ash 2 run (Maiden kick), 0:57
Clk — Brody Crowley 1 run (Maiden kick), 8:34
Cam — FG Ouchi 38, 1:47
RUSHING—Clackamas, Ash 23-92, Crowley 9-17, Total 33-102. Camas, Jon Schultz 11-29, Jamison 7-26, Sam Speer 5-18. Total 30-104.
PASSING—Clackamas, Baker 14-19-0-235. Camas, Taylor Ioane 20-41-1-268.
RECEIVING—Clackamas, Mi.Williams 4-105, Johnson-Gibson 4-85, Ben Moffett 2-16, Ash 2-16. Camas, Zach Blair 8-101, Nathan Criddle 6-99, Conner Murphy 3-25, Sam Stark 2-34.
FIRST DOWNS—Clackamas 13, Camas 20. PENALTIES-YARDS—Clackamas 10-86, Camas 4-36. FUMBLES-LOST—Clackamas 1-0, Camas 1-0.
DEFENSE—Clackamas, Johnson-Gibson 6 tackles, 2 pass breakups; Keontae Johnson-Gibson 7 tackles; Crowley 5 tackles; Noah Preuitt 5 tackles, sack. Camas, Phillips 11 tackles, 4 for loss, sack; Jamison 6 tackles, 2 for loss.