The Papermakers pull away in the second half to beat Richland 24-14 in the Class 4A state title game.
TACOMA – The wait is over for the state championship many thought the Camas Papermakers should’ve won three years ago.
Camas led by 10 with two minutes to play in the 2013 Class 4A state championship, only to fall in stunning fashion to Chiawana.
There was no such collapse on Saturday night.
The Papermakers (14-0) completed an undefeated season and won their first state championship in school history with a 24-14 victory over the Richland Bombers (13-1) at the Tacoma Dome on Saturday.
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“There is no better feeling than bringing (a state title) to such a great community,” Camas senior quarterback Jack Colletto said. “I remember when we played in Coeur d’Alene which is a 7½ hour drive and we still packed the stands. It says a lot about the community all the support we get.
The game was a defensive battle in the first half, but the offenses for both sides came alive after halftime to create a thrilling finish.
Richland took its first lead on the opening possession of the third quarter. Senior quarterback Paxton Stevens completed all three of his passes for 36 yards on the drive, which had an odd ending. Senior running back Ben Stanfield carried the ball on a first-and-goal from the 3-yard line. Stanfield fumbled just shy of the goal line, but it was recovered by junior running back Parker McCary for a Bomber touchdown, giving Richland a 14-10 lead.
Stevens completed 15 of 25 passes for 175 yards, but did throw two interceptions, including one by Colletto on Richland’s final possession of the game.
Camas answered right back with a six-play, 80-yard drive capped off by junior running back Will Schultz’s 38-yard touchdown run that gave the Papermakers a 17-14 lead.
Camas never trailed again.
The Papermakers put the game away with 2:39 to play in the fourth quarter when Colletto ran a draw straight up the middle for a 34-yard touchdown put Camas up 24-14.
“It’s a Jack Colletto thing to do,” senior running back Michael Matthews said of Colletto’s run. “He has heart like no other, and it’s nice having him lead our team.”
Colletto, who is in his first season as the Camas starting quarterback, was the star of the game, completing 14 of 20 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 88 yards, including his 34-yard touchdown run.
“He said to me last December, I did an interview and I asked him, ‘How do you see yourself next year, and what are your goals?’ ” Camas coach Jon Eagle said. “He said, ‘It’s easy. I’m going to put this time on my back and we’re going to win a state title.’ (I said), ‘I guess this interview is over.’ What else, as a coach, do you want to hear a kid say?”
The Papermakers drove 61 yards in seven plays on the first possession for either side, scoring on a 36-yard touchdown pass as Colletto hit senior wide receiver Cooper McNatt with 9 minutes, 2 seconds to play in the first quarter to take a 7-0 lead.
It was the only points for quite some times. The two teams combined for seven scoreless possessions following the touchdown.
Richland tied the game with exactly 1 minute to play in the first half. The Bombers benefited from two personal foul penalties to get the ball into Camas territory and Stanfield took care of the rest. His 41-yard touchdown run tied the game at 7-7.
Camas returned the favor on its next possession. The Papermakers quickly moved the ball down the field and were also aided by two personal foul calls, setting up a 34-yard field for senior kicker Michael Boyle. Despite a poor snap and a bobbled hold, the kick was right down the middle as time expired in the second quarter, giving the Papermakers a 10-7 lead at the break.