There will be a new state champion at the highest classification of Washington high schools this year.
The Central Valley Bears saw to that.
Grant Hannan scored on a 1-yard touchdown plunge late in the fourth quarter and host Central Valley knocked off defending champ Camas 22-15 in the cold and rain in the first round of the State 4A tournament on Friday.
The touchdown followed Bekk Martin’s first interception of the fourth quarter. Martin’s second pick, with around a minute to go, allowed CV to take the victory formation.
Martin wasn’t the only defensive hero – defensive end Correy Quinn had three sacks with an interception, and George Eliason added a pair of sacks.
“I’m so happy for those guys,” CV coach Ryan Butner said. “Our seniors are incredible. Correy was maybe off the field five plays all game. He was an iron man.”
“I just try to do whatever I can to help our team win,” Quinn said. “I’m trying not to pass out, to be honest.”
Camas came in 9-1, with a loss to rival Union on Oct. 27 halting a 59-game regular-season winning streak.
“Camas is obviously a storied program and super respected across the state,” Butner said. “Our kids battled. They could have folded and we didn’t.”
The Bears took the opening kickoff and marched 76 yards in 14 plays, with Hannan and fullback Hunter Chodorowski picking up good chunks of yardage.
A pass interference call set CV up with first-and-goal at the Camas 5. Two plays later, Hannan kept it and plowed in from the 1 for a 7-0 lead.
CV later got the ball back at its 30. Hannan gained 17 on a draw, and Chodorowski busted one for 31 yards to the Camas 22. Hannan scrambled to the 4 and on second-and-goal, Chodorowski forced his way in and the Bears went up 14-0.
Camas pinned CV on its 5 late in the half and on the next play Ja’Michael Shelton broke through the line and hauled Hannan down in the end zone for a safety.
CV had to kick it back to the Papermakers, but Camas was forced to punt. The Bears’ Austin Tomlinson mishandled the punt and Camas recovered at the CV 29.
Two plays later, Allen hit Drake Owen for a 32-yard touchdown pass and the Papermakers trailed at intermission 14-9.
The third quarter ended with a pass interference penalty and Camas was given an extra play with the clock stopped at the CV 1.
The Papermakers didn’t score on the freebie, but on the next play, Zach Terry bulled his way in from the 1 and Camas took a 15-14 lead – but the two-point attempt was incomplete.
CV finally got into field-goal range with 5:10 left, but Landon Rehkow’s 31-yard attempt was wide and Camas got the ball back at its 20.
Two plays later, a tipped ball at the line ended up with Martin for the first of his late picks at the Camas 24. Chodorowski busted several tackles and lugged the ball down to the 1.
Hannan did the rest, going off-tackle for his second 1-yard touchdown run of the game.
The Bears used a counteraction play with Austin Tomlinson to pick up the two-point conversion to give CV a tenuous seven-point lead with 3:40 left.
Camas took over but again had trouble with CV’s defensive line. A fourth-down pass attempt slipped through a receiver’s hands and Central Valley took over on downs with just more than 2 minutes to go.
CV went backward on a couple of scramble plays and gave Camas the ball back on downs for one last chance.
Martin ended that chance. Allen tried to find Owen on a slant, but Martin stepped in front of the wobbly pass and snared his second interception to ice it.
Two kneel-downs later and the soggy and chilled crowd spilled onto the field to embrace the exhausted Bears players.
“Nobody believed in us,” Quinn said. “We’ve been doubted all year. We all believed in ourselves and we all knew we would come out on top. We fight until the end at that’s the way it’s been all season.”
“It was a great team win,” Hannan said. “They’re a great football team. It really shows how our hard work has paid off. And tribute to (Camas) for working so hard trying to knock us off. It was just a great high school football game.”
Martin, the man with two fourth-quarter picks, had the last say.
“We’ve got to get going for next week cause we’ve got more games to play,” he said.