One of the big questions before Friday’s showdown between Camas and Chiawana at Edgar Brown Stadium was whether the Papermakers were worthy of their recent No. 1 ranking in the inaugural Class 4A football rankings.
The answer was a resounding ‘Yes’.
Camas made quick work of Chiawana in a 35-14 road victory, overpowering the fourth-ranked Riverhawks with an array of devastating offensive weapons.
“We wanted our kids to learn about the tradition of all the great football teams in Tri-Cities,” Camas coach John Eagle said. “We’ve got a pretty good team, and we’re excited about starting our season.”
The Papermakers got to work right out of the gate, getting a 43-yard return on the opening kickoff from Manase Nguamo. They followed that up with a four-play scoring drive, capped by Liam Fitzgerald’s 30-yard touchdown pass to Jared Bentley to make it 7-0 just 1 minute, 37 seconds into the game.
After holding Chiawana without a first down on its first two drives, the Papermakers mounted a 12-play, 97-yard scoring drive, as Fitzgerald hit Tyler Blackwell for a 17-yard score.
Camas scored on its next two drives to take a 28-0 lead while holding the Riverhawks to just 99 yards in the first half.
“We’re young and inexperienced, just like I said we were going to be,” Chiawana coach Steve Graff said. “I told these guys before the game that the first quarter would be so fast for some of the guys who haven’t played. It was too fast for them, but we settled down.”
The Riverhawks started the second half inspired, scoring on a seven-play, 72-yard drive capped by a 7-yard touchdown run by Andrew Vargas to cut the lead to 28-7.
“It was kind of surprising to see us down by that much. It motivated us to put some points on the board,” said Vargas, who finished with 122 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 21 carries. “We have to look at this as a learning game. They executed a lot of plays, and we didn’t.”
Fitzgerald finished 22-for-30 with 290 yards and three touchdown passes, connecting with seven different receivers. The most productive connection was with Bentley, who hauled in eight catches for 127 yards and two scores, including the final score of the night to make it 35-7 in the third quarter.
Chiawana won the numbers battle in the second half, outgaining Camas 223 yards to 103 yards and outscoring the Papermakers 14-7, but the damage was done in the first two quarters. It was, however, a lesson that the Riverhawks’ young team can yeild some good things in time.
“I think this was an eye-opener for us, but we’ll be ready next week,” Chiawana linebacker Caleb Weber said. “We only have three or four seniors in the starting lineup. The rest of us are juniors and sophomores.”
Chiawana quarterback Troy Simpkins was 16-for-22 for 169 yards and two interceptions. Josh Wilson led the receiving corps with six catches for 67 yards.
Cam — Jared Bentley 30 pass from Liam Fitzgerald (Michael Boyle kick)
Cam — Tyler Blackwell 17 pass from Fitzgerald (Boyle kick)
Cam — Manase Nguamo 1 run (Boyle kick)
Cam — Jordan Del Moral 17 run (Boyle kick)
Chi — Andrew Vargas 7 run (Matt Winn kick)
Cam — Bentley 17 pass from Fitzgerald (Boyle kick)
Chi — Vargas 2 run (Winn kick)
RUSHING — Cam, Del Moral 13-73, Nguamo 6-24, David Aarhus 1-1, Fitzgerald 5-(minus 9), Austin Stevens 8-67. Chia, Vargas 21-122, Josh Wilson 1-(minus 1), Troy Simpkins 10-0.
PASSING — Cam, Fitzgerald 22-30-1-290. Chia, T.Simpkins 16-22-2-169.
RECEIVING — Cam, Bentley 8-127, Del Mora 2-14, Hunter Bruno 5-60, Blackwell 2-54, Aarhus 3-20, Nguamo 1-6, Blake Roy 1-9. Chia, Wilson 6-67, Trent Simpkins 3-14, Winn 1-14, Roman Ruiz 2-40, Matthew Caughey 2-25, Vargas 1-8.
FIRST DOWNS—Cam 21, Chia 15. FUMBLES-LOST—Cam 0-0, Chia 0-0. PENALTIES—Cam 11-59, Chia 3-29.