After literally a year of preparation, the 2019 Camas Football team clinched Washington’s 4A State Title defeating Bothell 35-14 Satuday bringing home the trophy, a perfect 14-0 record, and the satisfaction of meeting a lofty goal. The Revenge Tour is a wrap.
Lacamas Magazine has reported on the team through 14 game videos, many individual interviews, some articles and a lot of social media posts. After working through the weekend to get those reports to our readers, I had the chance to listen to — and view — those earlier reports and found some common threads about the Revenge Tour.
I also reflected on pre-game conversations with team members at the field and in my own house. I recall when Papermakers Jackson Clemmer and Colin Pearson came home with Jordan Geigenmiller (my third son) following a hot August practice to raid our pantry. It was Clemmer who told me “Papa Giggles, we’re gonna win State this year!” Colin nodded, and Jordan aka “Giggles” just said “yep, dad!”
A few days earlier, I spoke with Papermaker Kenny Wright during the team’s pre-season kickball event. In his interview he said “we’re gonna win them all!” See the video here: https://youtu.be/on-cQ_kY26U
So, that brings us to the first common thread: Determination.
In every interview, whether posted or not, each player was determined to get the win. They were determined to overcome any obstacle. If someone got injured, a player filled the deficit. There was never any doubt about the outcome because it was decided a year ago they’d win the State Title.
I’d hear doubts come from fans, other reporters, and people on the street about the impacts and effects of injuries on key players. Observers said “well, maybe they have a chance at State …”
Note to the doubters: That only fueled their determination. They read those articles, watched those videos, and heard those comments. These boys never doubted they’d win State.
Tai Tumanuvao, O/DL, a talented athlete and well spoken dude, said it best following the win in the semi-finals: “Play where you are … focus on where your feet are, that’s what coach always says …”
So, that brings us to the second common thread: Focus.
I watched several pre-season practices, listened to observer perceptions and could tell they were focused on what they were doing at that moment. Then, after the first quarter of the first game, I really saw it. Following seven years covering CHS sports I thought I’d seen it all, but then I saw the 2019 team in real action. The sideline talk was kept to game focused plays, and there wasn’t a lot off-topic discussions happening. They were focused on the game plan, focused on what the coaches told them, and focused on winning despite whatever mistake may have happened.
“We focus on the moment,” said Charlie Bump, WR. “You shake off what happened five minutes ago, and make the moment you’re in count.”
Undoubtedly, CHS has been coached by the best in the State, and probably some of the best in the nation. Using their God-given talents they’ve led by example and encouraged their players to lead on and off the field making it clear that character counts.
So, that brings us to the third common thread: Leadership.
During these games, I look for the leaders, and typically it’s one of the quarterbacks, but that isn’t always the case. I could see leadership qualities in Tumanuvao, but I also saw them in Jake Blair, Blake Asciutto, Randy Yaacoub, Dante Humble, Tyler Forner, and many others.
So, one night I asked my son about leadership. I asked “which player is leading this team, son?”
His reply: “Dad, it depends on the situation. Sometimes it’s Tai, sometimes it’s Blake, it just depends. We all know when to lead and when it’s time to step back and follow. It’s a brotherhood.”
During his State Championship interview, I asked Wright what are the ingredients to a successful team?
His reply: “Love, friendship, hard work, persistence, we bought into it and believed in ourselves and each other …”
So, that brings us to the fourth common thread: Love.
Yes, you read that right — love! These guys love each other as brothers. They fight as brothers. They correct each other as brothers. They poke fun of each other as brothers. And, when one man is down, they stop what they’re doing and lift up that brother. It’s what families do, and this team was — and probably will forever be — a family.
Watch what Wright, Forner and Kolby Broadbent say about it here: https://youtu.be/KtpXI33nOl0
That love has built up over the years as these boys played CCYF football, Little League, basketball, rugby and other sports together over the years. They built up a working chemistry and connection since elementary school that’s transferred into young adulthood and onto the field.
The Columbian’s sports writer, Tim Martinez, wrote a brilliant piece a few weeks ago, which we now call the Nebula story. In the article he said: “Part of Camas’ success In 2019 could be rooted in the fact that the Papermakers don’t have a star. They have a nebula. Camas has a roster of really good players who can seemingly step into a key role and perform in a big way. The Papermakers have done it all year.“
Martinez was right. I thanked him personally for writing that article. He nailed it.
So, that brings us to the fifth common thread: Athletic Talent.
You can’t build a State Championship team without athletic talent, and it went all across the spectrum. Camas has the best O Line in the state. QB Jake Blair is gifted, and when he broke his collarbone, Blake Asciutto stood right next to Blair as they assessed his condition. Asciutto took that mantle without missing a beat. Clemmer is a talented wide receiver. Running Back Jacques Badolato-Birdsell is a star. There’s Tyler Forner, Dante Humble, Randy Yaacoub, Bryce Leighton, Rush Reimer, Tristan Souza, Tumanuvao, Tyler Criddle, Bump, and many more.
The doubters kept telling me all week, “but Bothell has an amazing quarterback!”
My reply: “Yes, and that’s what they said about Mount Si. What else would you like to add?”
These boys know they’re talented, and sometimes they do show off, and I think they’re entitled to that, but most of the time they’re focused on getting the job done.
But, why isn’t athletic talent at the top of the list?
“You have to have heart,” said Head Coach Jon Eagle in one of our first interviews. “We can coach anybody who has heart.”
The athletic talent would be nothing without Determination, Focus, Leadership and Love. It would be hollow. See our Championship post-game interview with Coach Eagle, who explains this: https://youtu.be/on-cQ_kY26U
It was great to interview so many players moments after their big State win. It was a surreal moment captured after 12 months of determination, focus, leadership, love and sheer athletic talent. Nicely done, boys. We look forward to seeing what your future brings.
So, that’s my two cents.