TACOMA – It was chaotic. It was shocking. It will go down as one of the most improbable wins in the history of the state tournament.
At least one person can claim to have truly believed the entire time.
“I just said, ‘I have a feeling this game you’re going to do something that’s going to impact the game,’ ” Chiawana assistant Scott Bond told Blake Bishop before Saturday’s 4A championship game. “Either in a pick for six or he’s going to make a big bomb touchdown.”
When all odds were stacked against Chiawana, Bishop came through, hauling in a 4-yard touchdown catch on the final play of the game to beat Camas 27-26 at the Tacoma Dome.
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The touchdown capped a crazy final minute that saw the Riverhawks erase a 26-13 deficit.
“I feel like it’s a dream and I’m going to wake up right now,” Bishop said through tears of joy.
Chiawana hadn’t scored in the second half and looked doomed for the second-place trophy, down by 13 with 1:05 left. But then Joey Zamora threw up a prayer down the right sideline that Dre Dorton hauled in for a 57-yard touchdown with 55 seconds left. Zamora was decked on the play and stayed on the turf for a few minutes while he tried to regain his breath.
After the break, Matt Winn stepped up, nailed the extra point — which would prove to be a rarity on Saturday — and the Camas lead dwindled to 26-20.
The extraordinary continued for the Riverhawks, as they recovered an onside kick and proceeded to drive the ball quickly to the Camas 4-yard line with four seconds left.
On the final play of the game, Zamora scrambled to his right on a broken play and found a wide open Bishop in the back right corner of the end zone.
“I just kind of rolled out with Joey,” Bishop said. “We kind of made that eye contact. We’ve been best friends since third grade and we have that connection.”
Winn, who had missed an earlier extra point, drilled the winning kick through the uprights.
“I don’t even know what happened, I’m sorry.” Zamora said. “It was just a scramble drill. We work on that in practice. (We’re) state champs.”
It was a crushing defeat for Camas, which had rebounded from its worst offensive half of the season to outscore Chiawana 20-0 in the third quarter. The Papermakers were plagued by kicking issues, though, missing two field goals and three extra points.
“We just never quite finished it,” Camas coach Jon Eagle said. “It really comes down to the team that makes the fewest mistakes, and that was them.”
Chiawana coach Steve Graff became the second coach to win a state title with two separate large-classification schools. Graff also won three championships with Pasco. Tom Ingles accomplished the feat with Kentwood and Liberty.
“We won; unbelievable win,” Dorton said. “Came from behind, down by 14, ended up winning. Never stopped playing.”