Camas Pop Warner team heads to the national championships


Not only might Camas soon be home to a state champion in high school football, but maybe even the best in the country in the Pop Warner ranks.

From the Evergreen State to the Sunshine State, FOX 12 hit the field with the Jets, the Pacific Northwest champs, better known in Papermaker Country as the "Camas 18."

"It was amazing. We're going to Disney World!" said player Cooper Maxey.

The Camas Jets are going to celebrate with Mickey and friends as Northwest Regional Champions in Pop Warner football.

"It's really special to us because everyone thought we were the underdogs and we wouldn't make it this far," said player Nikko Speer. "Most people didn't even think we'd make it to regionals."

"I have to be honest. I didn't actually think we were going to win either but we fought our hardest and came out with a win," said player Trenton Swanson.

Player Ryan Hodge said, "It was amazing because it just felt so good because no team in this area has ever gone there before … It just came out of nowhere."

Out of nowhere to somewhere sunny: Orlando, Florida and the national championships.

"It's a pleasure because after all of us, we worked together, we get to have a little prize and go to Florida and play there," said player Jaxsen Rodgers.

But winning isn't everything for the Camas 18.

"We do pretty good. We don't really pay attention to the scoreboard," said player Justin Robarge.

Jake Davidson said, "We didn't really care if we lost or won. I didn't really care if we win or lost, but it's fun … Yeah, I care."

The united group of 10 and 11-year-olds certainly care now.

"The weak shall be led by the strong as the strong cry against fate and the weak bow their heads to come," said player Sam Speer.

Quarterback Taylor Ioane said, "It means, play with your heart and give all you've got."

It's just another winning result of their victorious brotherhood.

"Everyone kind of helps each other. It's not a one-man show. Everyone is kind of an oiled machine that works to get through these games," said player Owen Givens.

And they keep it simple.

"Our coach always says, just keep playing football. If you don't just play football you will lose your head. It just starts going downhill if you don't just keep playing football,” said Maxey. “You can't think, you just do."

These Camas boys are part of something greater than themselves.

"We are all friends. We are all nice to each other … nothing bad, no one is mean to each other," said player Jacob Hudson.

Now they'll play mean with a shot at strapping it up on national TV.

"I am really excited,” said player Kai Tiantawach. “One, to get out of the cold weather. Two, just to be there is an honor."

Life comes full circle for Orlando-born quarterback Ioane.

"Well, I haven't been down there since kindergarten and I have a chance to go back there," he said.

Fox 12's Nick Krupke asked, "So are you taking your offensive line out to steak dinners then? Buying them watches like the pros?"

"I'll just pay them with touchdowns," said Ioane.

We wish them well in their quest for a Pop Warner Super Bowl title.

"I think we can put up a fight down there … we are going to try our best and try to beat them," said Givens.

The trip is a costly one for the families. You can help send the boys to Florida by donating to their GoFundMe page.

Copyright 2016 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.


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