Time to talk a little more about Mount Si’s state football semifinal, and their opponents from Camas

Good Tuesday morning. We’re going to have for you a bit later our 2019-20 Cedarcrest High School boys’ basketball preview. You Mount Si hoops fans should know we are working hard to get in contact with both boys’ coach Jason Griffith and girls’ coach Jason Marr, but for some reason they have not responded to our repeated requests for information. So we’ll keep trying for you. That all said, we do have some football to talk about now as we continue our coverage of this weekend’s Wildcat football playoff game.

We neglected to mention yesterday and we apologize for this, when the kickoff time is – it’s on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m., again making it possible for you fans to do the trip in one day – and it will be a long day if you do this – but we would suggest you head down on Friday and spend the night down there so you avoid all that. We had some suggestions for lodging in that yesterday, so you’d better hop on the phone today to make a reservation at one of those places if you want to head down and spend the night.

So that out of the way now, let’s talk Camas. As we mentioned yesterday, we were going to watch a little film on some of the Papermakers’ top players, and we got a chance to do that following our posting of the item yesterday. Camas is 12-0 on the season and won the Greater St. Helens League. They, too, have a win to their credit over Bellevue this year. They traveled to Bellevue in week four back in September and left with a 24-7 win over the Kingco 3A’s Wolverines, so that may be something to think about here for you Mount Si fans, that they have seen the best of this conference and have competed well against it.

However, what we saw on the film yesterday from their game this past Saturday against Puyallup wasn’t to us, at least, headline-grabbing or earth-shattering, rather again, just like with Monroe’s Blake Rybar, who Mount Si faced in their district crossover playoff game three weeks ago, showed just a bunch of solid football players who do what it takes to get things done. And in a sense, that work ethic is sort of a hallmark of the entire town of Camas.

The Papermaker mascot that Camas High School goes by comes from the town’s history with paper manufacturing, a history that dates back over 100 years and continues today, albeit on a more limited scale than in days gone by, with Georgia-Pacific operating a mill on the south side of downtown.

The high school’s football team has been a hallmark for the community. Over the past four seasons, the Papermakers have won a total of 40 games, including undefeated seasons both this year and in 2016, with the 2016 one earning them the state title. And the top players from this 2019 edition all aim to close out their high school careers with another piece of championship hardware. Here’s what to look for.

QB Blake Ascuitto: The senior was under center this past Saturday and displayed solid arm strength throughout. He has the potential to throw a deep ball, so Mount Si’s secondary, anchored by all-league junior Stuart DeMerit and sophomore Aidan Dougherty, will need to be ready. As noted yesterday, he’s completed 42 of 69 passes this fall, throwing for just under 800 yards this season.

QB Jake Blair: He’s a junior and he started the season it appears as the Camas QB, with his most recent video we saw coming from a game several weeks back, against Battle Ground. His strength is with his mobility, so if he goes, he’ll be more an issue for Mount Si’s line and linebacking group, led by senior Gale Kamp, junior Daniel Harrison and sophomore Jake Smith. He’s tossed for over 1,100 yards this fall and 15 TD’s.

RB Jacques Badolato-Birdsell: As we noted yesterday, it was mentioned in Scorebook Live’s game story about this past Saturday’s game – a link to which you can find on our Twitter feed @snovalleysports – that the junior running back is coming off an ankle injury. So what we saw on the film from the game perhaps wasn’t him at his best, but it was still plenty good. His speed, well, it’s not lightning fast, but his strength we see is in his ability to find open spaces then make the most of those. Again, as with Blair, Mount Si’s line and linebacking group will have to pay close attention to him. Based on what we saw, we see Badolato-Birdsell as a player the Wildcats should be able to contain provided they stay at home and do what they’re capable of doing, which is play tough and physical. It should also be noted that something perhaps to watch here early in the week is how his ankle responds in practice coming off the hard work it had to give during the game this past weekend. So he may or may not be 100% but even if he’s not 100%, he could be a challenge if Mount Si’s defense is not ready for it. Badolato-Birdsell has run for over 1,000 yards this fall.

WR Jackson Clemmer: Ascuitto’s favorite target in the air, and we’re guessing Blair’s as well, is this senior receiver. We saw a lot of the skill set of Mount Si senior receiver Brayden Holt in Clemmer. Good ability to beat defenders, good athleticism and good footwoork. Clemmer’s a guy that, like Holt, we think should get offers if he hasn’t already, we’ll check on that for you with Meg Wochnick at the Vancouver Columbian today. We see Clemmer in the same arena college recruiting-wise as Holt – someone that can have success at either the NCAA Division III or NAIA level. We’d expect to see DeMerit and Dougherty get the call defensively on Clemmer, so this matchup should be a good one to watch on Saturday.

So a lot to think about here, but again, we didn’t see anything in general that we were too worried about. Camas is a solid football team, and yes, they’ve beaten Bellevue on the road in the Wolverines’ den, but Mount Si has faced similar quality these past three weeks and as you all know has had success. So for the Wildcats, it’s basically a wash, rinse, repeat situation, and Camas coach Jon Eagle is well aware of the threat Mount Si poses, especially QB Clay Millen. Eagle told Scorebook Live, “I know (Millen’s) a heck of a player.” So they’re going to be ready.

How Mount Si responds, especially early, could be telling. Scorebook Live by the way is picking Camas to win. How do we see it? Find out Saturday.

Rhett Workman

About Rhett Workman

Rhett Workman is the editor of the Snoqualmie Valley Sports Journal. Workman is a veteran sports journalist, having covered Snoqualmie Valley sports for nearly a decade with the Snoqualmie Valley Record newspaper before starting up the SVSJ. Workman's coverage has earned the support and respect of Valley coaches, players, parents and fans, and the SVSJ continues the standard of coverage that Workman brought to the Valley Record.
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