Mike Johnson has followed the Camas Papermakers throughout the year and definitely knows his way around the squads in the Greater St. Helens League. He took some time to talk about the Papermakers and their explosive offense, what they can do to slow Max Browne and the climate in anticipation of the semi-final game with Skyline. You can find him on Twitter @MikeJohnson0101 for tweets from Southwest Washington and wherever Camas is in action.
ISSAQUAH-SAMMAMISH REPORTER: Dylan White and Nate Beasley are two of the players who get their names mentioned. What makes these guys so special?
MIKE JOHNSON: Both White and Beasley are athletes. They come from a family of athletes. Both have brothers that play D1 soccer. Funny thing about these two is that football might not even be their best sport. Nate is an all league soccer player and was part of the 3A state championship team 2 years ago and White is considered one of the top baseball players in the state. You can’t teach athleticism.
REPORTER: Who are a couple other players to watch for the Papermakers and what do they bring to the fold?
JOHNSON: They have so many weapons offensively. During the Federal Way game, quarterback Reilly Hennessey had his first seven completions to seven different guys. That being said, they do have the GSHL co-offensive player of the year in Zach Eagle and the two-time GSHL defensive player of the year, John Norcross. Both are incredibly smart players. Its like having a coach on the field on both sides of the ball. The O-Line play of Chris Durett, Troy Patterson, Matt Walser, Matt Danis, and Drew Clarkson has been solid all season. Rarely is Hennessey on his back and they create huge holes for Beasley. And the D-Line play of rugby players Jason Vailea and Nick Gadbaw have disrupted backfields all year. They are so quick off the snap that at times they are breaking up the hand off from the QB to the RB. I can’t say enough about Eagle. He has got to be one of the top DBs in the state. Kicker Roldan Alcobendas is nearly automatic from 30-40 yards with a season high of 52 vs Lakes. Aside for a game when he was nursing a minor injury, I can count the amount of KO returns on one hand.
REPORTER: What is one thing this team does exceptionally well on offense?
JOHNSON: They are unselfish and play as a unit. Eagle leads the team in receptions and receiving yards and he only had one catch for 13 yards vs Federal Way while Camas put up 65 points. That’s spreading the rock. One team with a common goal.
REPORTER: Has the Camas defense seen anything like Max Browne and this passing attack?
JOHNSON: Has any defense seen anything like Max Browne? He’s an incredible talent and is possibly a future Heisman candidate. But it is not just Max Browne in that offense. It’s his O-Line, it’s the gifted receiving corp, and it’s an experience coaching staff. The Camas coaches will have the team as prepared as they can. I have heard lately about every game is against a faceless opponent. You just have to keep going with that approach.
REPORTER: This is only the school’s second trip to the state semi-finals and first in Class 4A. What is the buzz like in Southwest Washington for this team and program heading into Saturday’s game?
JOHNSON: The fans, parents and players around the program have been watching these young men beat football teams going back to youth football games. Since 7th grade, the junior class as a whole has lost only one game. When they were freshman, they outscored opponents 403-26 with 28 different players scoring. I don’t think many of them are surprised to see them get as far as they have. As far as this part of the state, SW Washington has had a team reach either the 3A (Union twice and Camas) or 4A (Skyview twice and now Camas) semis the last five seasons. Just need to bring home some hardware!
REPORTER: Camas wins if…
JOHNSON: They can create turnovers and keeping the Skyline offense off the field. Camas scores in bunches. Against Federal Way, they scored three times in under two minutes. Against Arlington, they scored twice in less then a minute. As potent as both teams offenses are, defense is going to win this game.
REPORTER: Skyline wins if…
JOHNSON: They keep executing at a high level. They won a state title last season and have proved they can win big games. People talk about Max and his receivers. Skyline also has a great back in Cedric Cooper. If they protect the ball and just like Camas, keep the other teams offense off the field, they will be holding the championship trophy up for a 2nd straight season.