9/24/2013 1:47:00 PM Rams thankful for Holy War win, now 4-0 Scarlett breaks out
Catholic Sentinel photos by Ken Niezgoda
Cameron Scarlett prays with the team following Central Catholic's 45-31 win over Jesuit.
Cameron Scarlett takes the hand-off from Aidan Wilder against Jesuit.
Three years ago when high school All-American Brennan Scott announced where he planned to play college football, he made his brother Cameron part of the show. At the press conference, the former Central Catholic star had his brother deliver the University of California hat to the podium as his way of announcing his decision to play at Cal.
Brennan told the gathered media that day "I'd like to thank my brother Cameron and sister Isabella for keeping me grounded."
Brennan, a junior linebacker at Cal, may not have a bigger fan anywhere than his brother Cameron.
Last Friday night, Brennan showed that the respect is mutual. He watched from the sidelines as Cameron, now a junior at Central Catholic, took over the annual Holy War against Jesuit. Cameron broke a 10-10 half-time tie by returning the second half kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. The Rams never looked back, beating Jesuit 45-31 on the Crusaders' home field.
"I saw him, had to put on a little show for him," said Cameron about his brother after the game. "It feels great. He showed me a lot throughout life and I'm trying to show him that I've learned a little something here and there."
Cameron, like his brother a graduate of Holy Redeemer School in North Portland, started as a freshman at Central Catholic the year after Brennan left. After a couple of seasons developing his skills, he's broken out this year to become the Rams' top offensive threat. Cameron scored three touchdowns against the Crusaders to bring his season total to 11 through four games.
Little brother took the handoff from big brother and is continuing the Scarlett football legacy at Central Catholic.
"Cameron's a special player. He just has a different gear than most kids," said Ram coach Steve Pyne, who also coached Brennan. "He makes us look like great coaches. He's the whole package."
The Holy War was a break-out win in a break-out season for Scarlett. Last season the Rams won their first Holy War in a decade by beating Jesuit on the Rams' home field. This year the Rams won at Jesuit.
"We haven't beat Jesuit here in 30 years or something and haven't gone 4-0 since I don't know when. It's just a great feeling," said Scarlett, who is averaging nearly 140 rushing yards per game.
Quarterback Aidan Wilder averages nearly as many yards passing this season as Scarlett does rushing to give the Rams a balanced offensive attack.
Jesuit's Joey Alfieri ran for 220 yards and three second-half touchdowns but the Crusaders couldn't keep pace with the Rams. Central Catholic scored 35 second-half points against the Crusaders to put the game away.
"Jesuit has had our number for a number of years," said Pyne. "Our kids and coaches have worked hard to try to get to a level where Jesuit has been for so long. Hopefully we can continue to improve and be there in the end."
Since 2000 the Rams have missed the state playoffs only twice, making it as far as the semi-finals. In that same span, Jesuit has appeared in the 6A title game four times, winning three state 6A titles. Central Catholic last won a state football title in 1953.
This year the Rams are ranked number one in the Oregon School Activities Association power rankings. If the Holy War is any kind of yardstick, the Rams may be in their best position in years to make a run at a state title.
Scarlett, who leads the state in kick return yardage, is a large part of the Rams' success, just as his brother was three years ago.
"You can't get a better win for Central Catholic than to beat Jesuit on Jesuit's field," said Scarlett. "Right now we feel like we're on the perfect track. You can't start better than 4-0."