Returning members of Camas High School’s football team barely started celebrating the program’s first state title last December when work turned toward preparing to repeat.
One of the first was Kyle Allen, the backup to last year’s 4A state player of the year, quarterback Jack Colletto.
How soon after the Papermakers beat Richland 24-14 for the 4A state title did Allen look toward 2017?
“Right after the state title game,” he said.
He hit the weightroom; the quarterback put on 20 pounds this off-season on his 6-foot-2 frame. He studied film as much as he could, and worked with receivers at every opportunity.
Camas’ recent history of producing elite quarterbacks runs deep. Allen knows the pressure he’s facing, and is ready to step into the spotlight.
“I’ll play my game,” he said, “and do the best I can.”
The senior is one of many new faces in new starting positions on a team now tagged as the defending 4A state champions. It’s a very youthful squad featuring six returning starters — three on offense, three on defense. That is why Camas coach Jon Eagle is stressing patience.
“We can’t run away from it; we’re going to be young,” Eagle said. “We’re used to having success. It’s going to take time.”
Sure, changeover happens annually, but this is still Camas, a program that hasn’t lost a league game in seven seasons. That’s because players step in and step up, trust the process and the training, Eagle said.
“We’ve got a recipe that’s been working,” he said.
Which is why this scene isn’t entirely new. Eagle draws comparisons to Camas’ 2011 team that reached the 3A state semifinals with a number of starting sophomores.
So that’s why there’s no hesitation from Drake Owen, who joins Ryan Rushall as one of two returning starting receivers, when it comes to getting those underclassmen to deliver when their time comes.
And their time is now.
“That’s motivation to work harder and try to fill in the spots we lost in the senior class,” Owen said. “Camas always is a team to beat during the season for other schools in our league. The goal for us is to do it again.”
2016 Record: 14-0, 4-0. First in 4A GSHL
Best State Finish: State Champions in 2016
Returning All-League selections in bold
QB Kyle Allen 6-2 190 Sr.
RB Will Schultz 6-0 190 Sr.
WR Shane Jamison 6-3 205 Jr.
WR Drake Owen 6-0 180 Sr.
WR Ryan Rushall 6-0 180 Sr.
TE Dawson Ingram 6-4 220 Jr.
OL Taylor Nye 6-0 235 Sr.
OL Tristan Souza 6-2 245 Soph.
OL Jordan Howes 6-0 200 Sr.
OL Everett Kuhnel 6-1 200 Sr.
OL Billy Schuldt 6-1 230 Sr.
* * *
DL Dawson Ingram 6-4 235 Sr.
DL Billy Schuldt 6-1 230 Sr.
DL Tristan Souza 6-2 245 Soph.
LB Semisi Schultz 6-0 200 Sr.
LB Sam Malychewski 6-0 205 Sr.
LB Luke Bruno 6-0 190 Sr.
LB Will Schultz 6-0 190 Sr.
DB Ben Petrie 6-0 175 Sr.
DB Isaiah Abdul 5-10 170 Sr.
DB Ryan Rushall 6-0 180 Sr.
DB Shane Jamison 6-3 205 Jr.
Coach: Jon Eagle (10th season)
Home games at Doc Harris Stadium
League games in bold
Sept. 1, at Central Catholic (Ore.) 7 p.m.
Sept. 8, at Sherwood (Ore.) 7 p.m.
Sept. 15, Davis-Yakima 6 p.m.
Sept. 22, Coeur d’Alene, (Id.) 7 p.m.
Sept. 29, at Battle Ground 7 p.m.
Oct. 6, at Skyview 5 p.m.
Oct. 12, Heritage 7 p.m.
Oct. 20, at Sunnyside 7 p.m.
Oct. 27, Union 7 p.m.