Friday marked the return of football at Camas High School with the season opener against Union.
The CHS vs. Union rivalry took place in a different fashion this year because the stadium was empty and players and coaches were masked up. Despite this, some fans gathered to watch from outside the gates of Doc Harris, while the rest tuned in via a live stream.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, football games at Doc Harris would be packed with fans every Friday night.
CHS Senior and running back Gabe Guo said, “We have the best community support in the state and it was definitely different to see it empty. As a senior, I wish my parents would be able to see me play. Regardless, we were all locked in and ready to go. Coach Kielty said this is what the sport is all about. Just pure football.”
Without a crowd, players had to create their own energy from the sideline to hype each other up.
CHS Junior and safety Mark Thorkelson said, “Not having the crowd was definitely an interesting experience. It didn’t give us the normal hype around the game as we are used to but it’s just another obstacle we have to work around this year to get ourselves ready and hyped for our games.”
The game kicked off with both sides getting defensive stops. In the first quarter, the only score would come from CHS Junior Mathew Gerardo kicking a 31-yard field goal to put Camas up 3-0.
In the second quarter Union’s offense got rolling after a bomb from UHS quarterback Alex Gehrmann to receiver Jake Bowen to put them on the one-yard line. Kellen Milliken ran it in from the one for the Titans. UHS’s offense came back for another score on their next drive with the rush by Jaydon Jones to put them up 14-3. To end the half UHS kicker Sonny Pitts scored a field goal from 45 yards to expand the Titan’s lead to 17-3.
In the second half, CHS’s defense held strong, not allowing UHS to score in the second half. Guo scored a touchdown in the fourth, but it was a little too late. The game ended with a final score of 17-9 and a Union win.
Players and coaches were grateful to be back on the field despite the loss.
CHS Senior and defensive lineman Robert Silva said, “It felt amazing to be back on the field and it was everything I thought it would be. Some key things were that our defense played very well and our young guys played hard.”
Thorkelson said, “It felt great to be back on the field with all my brothers. Being in that environment of getting to play football, even though it might not be what we expected, felt amazing and it was a great time. We always have more to work on. We are never going to settle for less than what we want. We need some more practice to get to where we want but we won’t stop.”
CHS is preparing to take on Battle Ground on Friday, March 12th for the second game of the season.