There have been a lot of articles written about the incredible comeback by the Chiawana Riverhawks as they stole the WIAA 4A State Football Championship away from the #1 Camas Papermakers with just 55 seconds left. In fact it all came down to 1 play with 11 seconds left and that play in the end tied it up at 26 a piece leaving only the kick to seal the victory.
And the kick was good. Watch this amazing comeback as broadcast by our pal Joe Becker on KGW here in Portland.
How do you put into words a comeback of this proportion or can you?
You can replay this game 1,000 times and you may never ever get that same magnificent comeback to happen. In fact this game seemed to be so in the bag for Camas that the Seattle Times and many other media outlets were tweeting and posting that "Camas beats Chiawana" and other such messages.
the lesson here if here is one is that it is never over until it is over. Until that final clock nothing is done.
We feel so sorry for the Camas Papermakers and Coach Jon Eagle and the community. This one will sting for a long time and it should perhaps. But the Papermakers will regroup and they will be back. They have an amazing football program and will be rated #1 or #2 in the polls next year. We expect to see very little down time and a "get back to work" attitude is likely going on already. In fact knowing all these SW Washington kids the way we do I bet the weight room was crowded today with talk of "Next Season" thick in the air.
For Chiawana this was no surprise. Not to us. We have watched as the team has risen and improved all year putting up huge numbers and signature wins. The transfer of Rivals Two Star WR/Safety Deion Singleton bolstered an already loaded squad that featured the likes of Alex Weber at Linebacker (CAL plus 5 more offers), Junior Wide Receiver Dre Dorton, Junior Austin Urlacher at RB/OLB, Senior Linemen Jake Martin, Senior Outside Linebacker Grady Graff, and Senior Scatback Clifton Lozano, and Senior Linemen Kayden Maughn. Add to that Blake Bishop (Senios SS WR) who made the winning TD catch plus several other crucial plays. There are many other kids we can name off.
I am not one to single guys out but I have to in this case. Because Joey Zamora, the stud Senior QB from Chiawana, made the win happen. He did so with grit and determination and his ability to scramble and make tough plays on the run. His arm which should be tattooed "Lethal Weapon" was spot on. And for those that watched the film he managed all of that that late in the game and came back from a terrible blow to the head that had people questioning if he should have even been back out there.
Chiawana had not scored in the second half and were trailing by 13 with 1:05 left. Joey brought his team up the field and launched a bomb up the right side into the far corner where Dre Dorton was waiting. It was a 57-yard touchdown with only 55 seconds left. On that bomb Zamora was taken down by two Camas defenders and his head slammed off the turf. It looked painful in slow motion and he was down for several minutes.
Enter the Riverhawks kicking game. Kicker Matt Winn nailed the extra point to make it 26-20 in favor of Camas. On the ensuing onside kick the ball jumped down the turf and then headed for the rafter where it was a jump ball. The Riverhawks came down with it in a scrum.
A couple of plays later with less then 11 seconds on the clock Zamora was back on the field and "in the zone" as they say. The play was a broken one and as he rolled out to his right nearly falling to the turf Blake Bishop cleared 2 defenders and made it to the right corner of the end zone.
Zamora must have been on auto-pilot because it is sure not apparent that he even flinched. He launched a perfect pass and Bishop returned the favor with a perfect catch. The two school yard pals made magic on that play as the spectators in the house exploded in a reaction of joy and anguish all at once.
Winn stepped up and drilled the extra point with no time left avoiding overtime and sealing the improbable victory; one that may rival any in the history of the WIAA State Championships.
Joey Zamora was the QB in a loaded class that we felt during the off season had the strongest arm of all. He spins a beautiful ball and has great presence and football IQ and he can run. It is this sort of kid we want all you College Coaches to come in and look hard at. Because in a Zamora you have a 6'3" 225 pound winner of a QB who has been trained by guys like Chris Miller and his QB Coach Scott Bond. He is mechanically terrific, statistically at the top of his Class, and physical. He has all the makings of a Pac 12 QB and it is only for the fact that Chiawana is so far off the grid and that he was and still is lesser known that he is not sitting on big time offers. That is not, as far as I am concerned, a valid reason why he is not at least a D1-AA scholarship kid.
Camas was loaded as well and we will be writing a story on all the great kids that team has coming out into the collegiate ranks in the coming week. God knows they had quite a run the past 24 months and deserved to win this game as much as anyone.
Today we recognize the Riverhawks and show some particular love for the guys on their packet who made this 4A Title win so memorable.