Washington’s Top 50 high school football teams: After Jon Eagle’s exit, No. 36 Camas leaning into championship mentality

SBLive is previewing the Top 50 high school teams in Washington ahead of the fall 2021 season. Here’s an inside look at the Camas Papermakers of the 4A Greater St. Helens League – the No. 36 team in our countdown.

SPRING 2021 IN REVIEW

4-1 in 4A GSHL (first place).

COACH’S RESUME

  • Jack Hathaway (interim), first season.
  • Overall record: 0-0 (7-21 at Heritage).
  • Coordinators: OC – Jack Hathaway (spread); DC – Dan Kielty (4-3).

NOTABLE DEPARTURES

RB Jacques Badolato-Birdsell

QB Jake Blair

WR/DB Bryce Dewey

RB Gabe Guo

TE/DL Colin Pearson

DL Robert Silva

TOP PLAYERS

WR/DB Zach Blair, 5-11, 170, jr.

WR/DB Andrew Caroussos, 5-11, 165, sr.

WR/DB Nathan Criddle, 6-2, 175, sr.

QB Taylor Ioane, 5-10, 160, jr.

LB Luke Jamison, 6-2, 210, sr.

LB Jairus Phillips, 6-1, 215, sr.

LB Logan Silva, 6-1, 195, sr.

WR/DB Mark Thorkelson, 6-2, 185, sr.

RETURNING STARTERS

Offense – 3. Defense – 5.

THREE TO SEE

Andrew Caroussos, wide receiver/defensive back

Proved himself as a reliable downfield threat as a junior in the slot (see Camas’ double-OT win over Skyview) – and will have plenty more chances.

Taylor Ioane, quarterback

Big shoes to fill replacing Jake Blair, but “Yanni” has garnered praise from coaches and impressed teammates this offseason.

Luke Jamison, middle linebacker

Third-year starter controls things from the center of the field, and will also be relied on as vocal leader in the locker room.

FALL SEASON OUTLOOK

Technically, because it was the last team to hoist the gold ball nearly two years ago, Camas is still the reigning Class 4A champion. 

Current players, especially the nine teenagers who suited up in that game, remember it well. And interim head coach Jack Hathaway has made sure to make a point of it during the first days of practice, too.

As much as the look at the top has changed for the Papermakers since longtime coach Jon Eagle left in June after 17 years with the program (13 at the helm) to join the staff at Portland State, maybe even more has remained the same at Camas, winner of two of the past four 4A state titles.

Under Hathaway, who served as an offensive assistant for seven years under Eagle, every assistant coach remained on staff. That includes Dan Kielty, Eagle’s right hand man and defensive coordinator who has coached for more than three decades. 

Though key players such as quarterback Jake Blair (now at Oregon State) and running back Jacques Badolato-Birdsell (Nevada) must be replaced, the roster maintains enough continuity from a team that finished 4-1 in the spring.

“People ask about pressure, and yeah, there’s pressure, but who wouldn’t want that?” Hathaway said. “Bring it on. … like any other year, we have a target on our backs.”

They welcome new faces into the starting lineup, such as junior Taylor Ioane, who Hathaway likes as a game manager – and one who grew up learning the program’s system. He’ll have a stable of capable receiving threats in Connor Murphy, Zach Blair, Andrew Caroussos and Mark Thorkelson, any of whom could break out as a top target. 

Senior linebacker Luke Jamison, who started in the state title game as a sophomore, returns as a third-year starter and the leader of the linebacking corps while fellow senior Logan Silva rehabs from a knee injury (Hathaway expects him to return later on in the fall).

The Papermakers will be tested early ad often with a gauntlet of a schedule, starting with four of the top programs in Oregon, and followed by an always-tough 4A GSHL slate.

Behind Hathaway, the Papermakers enter a new era.

“Coach Eagle’s a legend,” Hathaway said. “I’m going to steal everything I can from that guy. … but I also have to be myself. I’m going to take everything he’s left us and move from there and put my stamp on things.” 

FALL 2021 SCHEDULE

  • Sept. 3 at Central Catholic (Ore.)
  • Sept. 10 vs. Clackamas (Ore.)
  • Sept. 17 vs. Jesuit (Ore.)
  • Sept. 24 at West Linn (Ore.)
  • Oct. 1 vs. Battle Ground
  • Oct. 7 at Mountain View
  • Oct. 15 at Tumwater
  • Oct. 22 vs. Skyview
  • Oct. 29 at Union

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