Area football players set for college

Several players heading to Division I programs

By Paul Valencia, Columbian High School Sports Reporter



John Norcross proudly sported a green shirt.

Roldan Alcobendas said he could not wait to play on the red turf.

Wednesday was a day for some high school athletes to show off their new colors.

At Camas High School, Norcross and Alcobendas were the football representatives at a table of nine athletes who were honored by the school on “Signing Day.”

Norcross, The Columbian’s All-Region football player of the year this fall, signed his letter of intent with Portland State, where he expects to play linebacker. Alcobendas, a kicker, will play for Eastern Washington.

The February signing period began Wednesday for athletes in football, soccer, and track and field. Some high schools also held ceremonies for athletes in other sports who signed in the fall period.

Nationally and locally, though, this day is most known for football.

Skyview also had two Division I signees. Lineman Willie Lopez announced his decision to sign with Eastern Washington just this week, then inked his name to the letter of intent. Linebacker Jabari Marshall signed with Northern Arizona University.

Over at Union, Trent Cowan signed with the University of Idaho. Previously offered as a punter, Cowan played so well at wide receiver and Wildcat quarterback for the Titans that the Vandals now want Cowan as an athlete who could find a spot on defense or offense.

Most of the players said they made their decisions based on meetings they had with coaches and potential teammates.

“I had a great feeling when I stepped on campus,” Norcross said. “Coach (Nigel) Burton is building a great program. I’m proud to be part of it.”

Norcross told PSU coaches in December he was going to sign with them, and then he went on his official visit last week. Nothing changed. If anything, Norcross said, he was more impressed with the Vikings.

Lopez, an All-Region player on defense, said Eastern wants him on offense.

“I just like the family feeling I got from the staff and the players,” Lopez said. “And they’re always winning. I like that about them.”

Lopez and Alcobendas traveled to Cheney together for their visit to the campus last week. Now they will be teammates.

Alcobendas, the All-Region kicker, said he received more than a 50 percent scholarship, a substantial amount. Kickers often are asked to walk-on and make the team before receiving financial assistance.

“Kicking on the red turf is going to be pretty exciting,” he said.

While it was an exciting day for the athletes and families, it also marked the end of the recruiting process.

“A big weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” Marshall said.

Several other players around the county signed with programs in the lower divisions of college football.

Remick Kawawaki, with brains and strength from Columbia River football, confirmed he is going to Yale. A talented running back, he will play defense in the Ivy League.

Kevin Haynes of Battle Ground signed with Central Washington.

Skyview quarterback Jordan Berni is going to Western Oregon.

“They run the same system as Skyview, the spread and the no-huddle. I thought it would be a good fit for me,” he said.

Perhaps one day he will hand off the ball to Evergreen’s Jamaree Jones, who also is going to Western Oregon.

Reiley Henderson of Skyview also signed with Western Oregon. He might also play baseball for the Wolves.

Three other from Clark County are also heading south, to Southern Oregon.

Skyview lineman Zach Wallace hopes to one day block for former Skyview quarterback Austin Dodge.

Union lineman Nick Henderson and Union wide receiver Bryce Evans will be Raiders, too.

Still high school students, Wednesday was the chance to share the good news with family and friends that college is just a few months away. And those family and friends will have to buy new colors.


Click here for updates on local athletes who have signed with college athletic programs today.

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