More notes from high school football previews

Hope you have enjoyed our theme this year for our high school football previews. Well, at least for the 4A Greater St. Helens League. All of those teams have been featured.

We start with the 3A GSHL teams from Clark County in Friday morning’s paper. In fact, for most of you, that will be by the time you read this blog entry.

This year’s theme for our previews has been highlighting guys who are not stars. At least not yet. I asked coaches to nominate someone who might have played a bit last year but was not a star, yet had the potential to break out this season. We ended up with a lot of different stories. Some guys played a lot last year but have bigger roles. One guy did not play a down of varsity last year but is poised to be starting in the defensive backfield.

Click on the school names for the 4A previews we’ve already run.






Battle Ground

We’ll have the 3A schools starting Friday morning, and Paul Danzer will be writing a feature for the 2A and 1A schools next week.

I asked a few of the guys throughout the region about their favorite NFL players and teams.

Jordan Berni, the quarterback from Skyview, said while he is a 49ers fan, Tim Tebow is his favorite player.

(Yeah, let’s stop there for a second. Jordan Berni is a throwing quarterback for a team that knows how to pass. Yet, he loves Tim Tebow. I know, funny guy, right? But let him explain.)

“He plays with so much emotion and passion it’s hard for me not to like him. I want to play like that,” Berni said.

Then he thought about it for a second.

“The throwing motion, not so much. But I love his passion for the game.”

(OK, I’ll buy that.)

Treve’ Ensley of Union said he is a Saints fan and has been one since the Saints were the Aints. But his favorite players are DeSean Jackson of the Eagles, Trindon Holliday of the Texans and Dexter McCluster of the Chiefs. All of those guys are small speedsters, just like Ensley.

(Just be grateful Ensley does not have a contract to have an issue with like Jackson!)

At least one player did not have a favorite team. But that’s because he’s too busy to care.

“I play the sport. I don’t follow it,” said Heritage’s Aaren Morring.

(OK, then.)

And then I found three players, from different teams, who had the same answer. Favorite team: Colts. Favorite player: Peyton Manning.

(I shake my head in disbelief at you, T.J. Brumfield of Hudson’s Bay. At you, too, Kaiden Grotte of Battle Ground. Oh yeah, and you, Trent Foster of Evergreen.)

Hey, they are loyal. Still love the Colts, and still love Peyton.

(Peyton seemed OK to me, until he joined the AFC West. As a Raider fan, I hope he gets altitude sickness in Denver and is forced to retire. Yesterday.)

Sadly, I did not interview any Raider fans. But you know what I always say. There are two kinds of fans in the NFL. Raider fans, and those who wish they had the loyalty, discipline, and commitment to be Raider fans.

Camas coach Jon Eagle, while assessing his team this season, said: “We hope to be one of the better teams in one of the best leagues in the state.”

You know what? He’s right. What a league. Of course, all of us Southwest Washington football fans and journalists have been talking about Camas moving from the 3A to the 4A Greater St. Helens League since reclassification became a done deal. We knew the big three of Skyview, Union, and Camas were going to be in the same league for the first time.

But maybe it was because I was too close to the tree to notice the forest. Until Eagle said those words, it did not really occur to me that the 4A GSHL is one of the best leagues in the state.

Can’t sugarcoat the fact that Evergreen, Heritage, and Battle Ground have had their struggles in recent years. Evergreen had the last winning season of the group, and that came in 2008. And in the past two years, with just a five-team league, it was top-heavy with Skyview and Union.

But now we add a third powerhouse to the list, and the league becomes that much better. Let’s face it, there are other “great” leagues out there, but those leagues have teams that are struggling, too.

The 4A GSHL can boast that it has three teams that reached at least the Elite Eight last year in the state playoffs. Union made it to the 4A quarterfinals. Camas got to the 3A semifinals. And Skyview reached the 4A finals.

One of the best leagues in the state for sure.

With Camas’ departure from the 3A Greater St. Helens League, there is no defending champion.

“There’s no real big dog in the league anymore,” Prairie senior Colton Prestwich said.

So true.

Think it’s fair to say that most observers are giving the nod to Mountain View as the team to beat. The Thunder have finished second the past two years. The Thunder also always seem to get better as the year progresses. This season, there are no early season league games. Four non-league games, then a five-game sprint for the league title. That kind of schedule seems to be in Mountain View’s favor.

Still, other teams have high hopes, too. Columbia River, with a bunch of returning players, thinks it can win the league. Prairie, off its first winning season since 1997, thinks it can. And Hudson’s Bay quarterback T.J. Brumfield told me he thinks the Eagles might start slow, then shock everybody with a lot of league wins and make the playoffs.

That’s what makes this time of the year so cool. So much optimism. As the players say, “Can’t Wait!”

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