All-Region football: John Norcross

John Norcross, Camas

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter



Rest of All-Region team


• Reilly Hennessey, jr., QB, Camas*: First-team all 4A GSHL pick passed for 2,801 yards, 26 TDs.

• Nate Beasley, jr., RB, Camas*: 4A GSHL co-offensive player of the year was huge in postseason.

• Kevin Haynes, sr., RB, Battle Ground*: First-team all-4A GSHL pick rushed for 1,285 yards.

• Remick Kawawaki, sr., RB, Columbia River: First-team all-3A GSHL pick rushed for 906 yards.

• Zach Eagle, jr., WR, Camas*: 4A GSHL co-offensive player of the year also a star on defense.

• Tim Hergert, sr., WR, Heritage: First-team all-4A GSHL pick had 1,061 receiving yards, 10 TDs.

• Troy Patterson, sr., OL, Camas*: Undersized center came up big for 4A state semifinalists.

• Drew Clarkson, jr., OL, Camas*: First-team all-4A GSHL pick another key cog up front for Camas.

• Josh McNeal, sr., OL, La Center: Wildcats' solid running attack started with McNeal and line.

• Justin Hazelton, sr., OL, Columbia River: Anchored offensive line for 3A GSHL champions.

• Connor Wong, jr., OL, Union: First-team all-4A GSHL picked opened holes for Titan runners.

• Roldan Alcobendas, sr., K, Camas*: Touchbacks routine for senior; hit 51-yard field goal.


• Nick Gadbaw, sr., DL, Camas*: Opposing offenses couldn't get started with Gadbaw up front.

• Nick Henderson, sr., Union: First-team all-4A GSHL helped make Titans tough to run on.

• Dillon Willis, sr., DL, Columbia River: Chieftains' success started with Willis and defense up front.

• Willie Lopez, sr., DL, Skyview: Earned first-team all-4A GSHL spot on offensive and defensive lines.

• Jabari Marshall, sr., LB, Skyview*: First-team all-4A GSHL as linebacker and running back.

• Brad Hansen, sr., LB, Mountain View: Thunder foes held to 15 points or less last 4 league games.

• Michael DiGenova, jr., LB, Camas*: First-team all-4A GSHL key cog on Camas' stellar defense.

• Connor Maloney, sr., DB, Camas*: One of the backfield ball hawks for Papermakers.

• Clark Bryant, sr., DB, Columbia River*: Two-way all-3A GSHL pick at defensive back and receiver.

• Trent Cowan, sr., DB, Union*: First-team all-4A GSHL also shined on defense, special teams.

• Dylan King, jr., DB, La Center: First-team all-Trico pick also directed Wildcats' offense at QB.

(* -- Selected by all three, The Columbian staff, coaches poll, fans poll; others selected by two of three).

John Norcross scored 17 touchdowns on 50 touches on offense, most coming as the “quarterback” in the Wildcat offense.

Actually, at Camas, it was called the Norcat offense.

“When you’re put in that situation and you have one of the best lines in the state of Washington blocking for you, and you have (fullback) No. 5 Jason Vailea leading the way, you’re going to have a number of touchdowns when you only have five yards to go,” Norcross said. “That’s all set up for you.”

As a linebacker, Norcross was voted the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League’s defensive player of the year, averaging more than 10 tackles per game for one of the best defenses in the state.

“Our defensive coaches do such a great job of giving us all the scenarios that actually occur during the games,”

Norcross said. “Everybody was just getting after the ball. You can trust your teammates to do their assignments. It was one of the best defenses to play on.”

Just from his comments, one can see that Norcross, a senior, likes to deflect individual praise and share the accolades with his teammates.

He can share this, too.

With his game-changing plays on defense and offense and in helping Camas to the state semifinals for the second year in a row, Norcross is The Columbian’s All-Region football player of the year.

Norcross said all of his touchdowns came from close range, all due to the line. But he forgot he had the 90-yard touchdown run against Skyview.

His favorite game, he said, was the victory over rival Union. Camas posted a shutout, exactly what any linebacker would want.

It was a dream season for Norcross, even if the Papermakers fell a couple games short of perfection.

“We worked all this season because we were going to win a state championship. That was the goal. It wasn’t to win league, or to beat a certain team. The goal was to win a state championship,” Norcross said. “That was our huge drive all season.

“We came up short, but we definitely could have. And I think next year’s team can go just as far, if not farther, than we did.”

Season highlights

• Linebacker averaged more than 10 tackles per game and was voted the 4A GSHL's defensive player of the year by the coaches.

• Had 32 carries for 232 yards and 14 touchdowns out of the "Norcat" offense. Also caught 18 passes and scored three more touchdowns, giving him 17 TDs on 50 touches.n Helped the Papermakers to the state semifinals for the second year in a row.

• Selected to All-Region team as linebacker by staff, coaches and fans.

More about John

• Who he would vote for player of the year: Camas offensive lineman Troy Patterson. "What an underdog. He works just as hard as I do. He's a great player."

• Favorite movie: "Gladiator." He has been known to watch it before a game.

• Favorite book: "The Hobbit." "I am very excited about the movie."

Next year and beyond

• Undecided about where he is going, but he wants to play college football. He has had talks with a few Division II and III schools. He is considering a career in architecture or becoming a history teacher.

"I've said it a million times, but I'll say it again. The community is amazing. You get tons of people coming out for each and every game."

John Norcross

On the experience of playing for Camas