Explosive offenses Camas and Bellevue head to Tacoma

Staff writerDecember 6, 2013 

The Camas High School football team's offense scores a lot of points. Bellevue's does, too.

That's where the similarities end.

Camas' spread offense runs few, if any, of the same plays as Bellevue's vaunted Wing-T. But both produce touchdowns as if they're equipped with a warp drive.

Both 13-0 teams are top-ranked in Washington - Camas in 4A and Bellevue in 3A - and will play for state titles this weekend at the Tacoma Dome.

"If you have a breakdown, (Camas) will exploit it for huge gains, " Union coach Cale Piland said. "One missed tackle can turn a 5-yard gain into a 50-yard gain very easily."

So it doesn't surprise him that Camas has scored more points - 728 (56 per game) - than any team in the state, including at the eight-man 1B level.

"No . . . they virtually have no weaknesses, " Piland said.

Camas is the only 11-man team to score more than 700 points this season.

Bellevue is the only other 11-man team to score at least 600. It has scored 619, or 47.6 points per game.

That likely would have been higher if 12 of the Wolverines' 13 games hadn't finished with a running clock.

"Nobody gets off the football like Bellevue, " said Liberty (Issaquah) coach Steve Valach, whose 23-20 loss to Bellevue in 2010 was the closest margin of victory for the Wolverines on their active WIAA-record 53-game win streak. "You have to play disciplined, assignment football, and you have to play every gap.

"Even then, shoot, sometimes you get the guy in the right place, and they just make you miss."

Bellevue has thrown for 865 yards on 96 attempts this season, assistant coach Pat Jones said. Camas QB Reilly Hennessey, an Eastern Washington University commit, has completed 168 of 260 passes for 3,205 yards and 36 touchdowns, and wide receiver Zach Eagle has 1,253 yards receiving.

The Papermakers balance out the passing game with running back Nate Beasley (1,413 yards, 26 TDs). But the offense revolves around Hennessey.

"The quarterback today has to be a quick processor, " Camas coach Jon Eagle said. "You can have two kinds of A students - the guy whose hand is raised immediately after the teacher asks a question and the guy in the back of the room who is thinking about it. They both get the right answer, but a quarterback has to be the quick processor.

"We don't do any of this unless we have a quarterback who is a quick processor."

Bellevue relies on blocking and plenty of misdirection.

Jones, also the offensive line coach at Bellevue, said he preaches shoulder blocking, modeled after De La Salle (Calif.) - which had a national-record 151-game winning streak broken by Bellevue in 2004.

"We kind of old-school block, like we are from the 1970s, " Jones said. "If I was retired and running clinics, this is what I would be preaching."

Jones said the style affected his two best offensive line products - Pittsburgh Steelers guard David DeCastro and San Diego Chargers lineman Stephen Schilling - in the pass game.

"But both say it was far easier to become a pass blocker than it is to become a run blocker, " Jones said.

Bellevue's line play, combined with the discipline and athleticism from running backs such as top state recruit Budda Baker (35 carries, 600 yards, 12 TDs), has paved the way to 4,000 to 5,000 team rushing yards annually, Jones said.

Bellevue's 47.6 points-per-game pace this year is the highest of any of its ongoing run of its almost four undefeated seasons.

So much for the Wing-T being easy to stop.

"I've sat in rooms with college defensive coordinators, and I remember one guy said that covering Wing-T is easy, " Valach said. "You just penetrate, get upfield, shoot your guys into gaps.

"I'm just listening, being respectful, and I'm just like, 'OK, sure . . . Whatever you say.' "

Valach even tried using his then-4-year-old son's toy football in preparing for Bellevue.

"The scout team would run with that so you couldn't see the ball, and you had to really read your keys and be disciplined on your assignments, " Valach said. "You watch film and you'll see guys bite on (Bellevue's) fakes 15 or 20 yards down the field."

But for all the talk of offense, neither Camas nor Bellevue will say they will ride it at the Tacoma Dome this weekend.

"It will always come down to tackling and playing good, solid defense, " Jones said.

Said Eagle: "The best offense is the one that is ahead by one point when the gun goes off."

TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677
t.cotterill@thenewstribune.com
@Cotterill44

GRIDIRON CLASSIC previews INSIDE

Class 4A: There will be a first-time champion when Chiawana (12-1) meets Camas (13-0). B4

Class 3A: Eastside Catholic, a 2012 finalist, stands between Bellevue and its sixth straight title. B4

Class 2A: Tumwater super sophomore Easton Trakel will try to follow school tradition to a crown. B5

Class 1A: Freeman (13-0) will be trying to gain notice when it goes up against Mount Baker (11-1). B5

Class 1B and 2B: Neah Bay (1B) and Morton-White Pass (2B) make third straight finals appearances. B5

FRIDAY'S GAMES

Class 1B: No. 1 Neah Bay (11-0) vs. No. 3 Touchet (12-1), 4 p.m.

Class 3A: No. 1 Bellevue (13-0) vs. No. 6 Eastside Catholic (11-2), 7:30 p.m.

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