Paul Valencia: Eastlake familiar to Eagle family

By Paul Valencia, Columbian High School Sports Reporter



We know Jon Eagle is famous around these parts, at least in the football community.

He is the guy who, as head coach, led Evergreen to the state semifinals in 1995. These days, he is the guy who has led Camas to the top ranking in the state. The Papermakers are set to play in the Class 4A state quarterfinals when they take on Eastlake of Sammamish on Saturday. It is the fourth year in a row the program has made it to the Elite Eight.

His son is well known, too. He’s the guy with the moves, the speed, and the hands, the guy who always finds a way to get in the end zone for the Papermakers. Offense. Defense. Special teams. Football fans around here know he is a threat wherever he is on the field.

You might not know that they are well known in other parts of the state, too.

There were three years when Jon Eagle was not coaching in Southwest Washington. Three years when Zach Eagle attended elementary school outside of the Camas school system.

Saturday afternoon, the Eagle family will go back in time to try to make some more Camas history.

Jon Eagle coached Redmond for three seasons — 2001, 2002, and 2003 — and the family lived in nearby Sammamish. That’s right, home to Eastlake High School.

“I recognize a lot of names on the roster,” Jon Eagle said, adding he was friends with a lot of the dads.

One is Bing Henkel, who captained one of the fishing vessels in the documentary “Deadliest Job in the World,” which would lead to the Discovery Channel’s TV series, “Deadliest Catch.”

Anyway, his son, Lucas Henkel, plays linebacker for Eastlake. Lucas and Zach Eagle used to hang out, you know, back in the day.

Same with wide receiver Joe Longcore.

“It will be fun to see their kids grown up,” Jon Eagle said.

He also remembers present-day Eastlake lineman Max Escarda being the ringleader in a plot to flood the Eagle family’s backyard.

It was a pool party one summer day, and Escarda led the charge to jump into the wall of the pool to see how much water could escape. The pool did not last long.

“It was fun watching them figure out, ‘Hey, if we all jump at the same time.’ ” Eagle recalled.

The next thing he knew, water everywhere.

Zach said he does not remember all of the details, but he does remember his friends.

“It’s cool to play against some of those guys I know,” he said. “It’s a pretty cool opportunity, and I’m excited about it.”

Jon Eagle remembers leaving Sammamish to come back to Clark County.

“I thought, life’s funny. It could be some day we’re back up here playing in a playoff game.”

It is not against the team he used to coach, but this game is in the town he and his family lived for three years.

It also is one more week of football for Jon and Zach Eagle. They hope for three more games, of course, but whenever it is over, it will be over for father-son/coach-player combo in high school football.

“It’s just been awesome, the whole experience,” Zach said. “I just remember as a kid, I wanted to play for him. It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact we’re going to be done in a few weeks.”

But first, a trip down memory lane … on the way to making even more memories.