Will Big Three be challenged in Class 4A football?

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

Class 4A football previews

Saturday: Camas

Sunday: Union

Monday: Evergreen

Tuesday: Heritage

Wednesday: Battle Ground

Thursday: Skyview

Friday: Class 3A kickoff

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The Big Three.

And the other three.

The Class 4A Greater St. Helens League played out as predicted a year ago with Camas, Skyview, and Union taking the playoff spots. That left Battle Ground, Evergreen, and Heritage to tie for fourth, all beating each other to finish 1-4 in league play.

As The Columbian begins its look ahead to 2013, we ask: Will anything change?

As far as the very top, just about everybody who follows Washington high school football has labeled Camas the favorite. Not just in the league, but the state. The Papermakers return their quarterback, running back, wide receiver, four offensive linemen, and a rock-solid defense. All they accomplished last year was a trip to the state semifinals in the program's first season in Class 4A. Until losing to Skyline in the Tacoma Dome, the Papermakers were 12-0 and had beat their opponents by an average score of 51-16.

The players themselves are not shying away from the expectations. One Papermaker noted last week that anything short of an appearance in the state title game will be a disappointment.

Union has nine returning starters on offense and is not ready to concede anything in the league.

Skyview, the team that finished second last year, has a number of new faces at key positions.

However, if there is anything we have learned in recent years, the best programs do not rebuild, they just develop new talent. Remember, all those second- and third-stringers practiced against some of the best of the best. When it was their turn to play, they performed.

The numbers back it up: Since 2006, Skyview is 60-21 with an appearance in the state finals, semifinals, and quarterfinals. Union, which opened in 2007, is 53-16 and finished second in state one year and reached the final four another when the Titans were in Class 3A. Camas, since 2006 and playing as a 3A team until last season, is 62-18 and has reached the state semis the past two years.

Still, nothing lasts forever.

There will be a day when one of the other three breaks into the Big Three.

Battle Ground is hoping to build on its momentum. The Tigers went 4-0 in non-league last year to record their first winning season since 2003.

The new coach at Evergreen believes he has the team to compete for a league title. Not some year, but this year.

Heritage has exciting playmakers, guys who can score from anywhere on the field.

Over the next six days, The Columbian will feature a player from each Class 4A GSHL team, someone who represents the best of what each program has to offer.

Then, over the next few months, we will have an answer to our question.

Stadiums of the 4A GSHL

DISTRICT STADIUM

4A team: Battle Ground Tigers

Surface: FieldTurf

Capacity: 1,649

Covered Seating: Home Stands

Concessions: 1 behind home stands

Stadium Location: 400 W. Main St., Battle Ground

DOC HARRIS STADIUM

4A team: Camas Papermakers

Surface: FieldTurf

Capacity: 3,850

Covered Seating: Full home and road sides.

Concessions: Behind home stands

Stadium Location: 1100 N.E. 22nd Ave, Camas

KIGGINS BOWL

4A team: Skyview Storm

Field Name: Gary Boggs Field

Surface: FieldTurf

Capacity: 4,500

Covered Seating: Partial home side.

Concessions: Home stands

Stadium Location: 800 E. 40th St., Vancouver

McKENZIE STADIUM

4A teams: Evergreen Plainsmen, Heritage Timberwolves, Union Titans

Surface: FieldTurf

Capacity: 5,980

Covered Seating: Both home and road seats are fully covered.

Concessions: 3 above home seats, 1 behind road seats

Stadium Location: 2205 N.E. 138th Ave., Vancouver