CAMAS, WA (KPTV) - In a normal year, they'd be a good six weeks into the high school football season in Washington and Oregon, and while all parties involved are holding out hope for an abbreviated campaign in the early spring, the kids are chomping at the bit to get back on the field.
The Friday Night Lights are missed by many, but no group is missing out more than the kids themselves. Meanwhile, some of the defending state champion Papermakers have been grinding away in their quarterback's garage until hope, hopefully, springs eternal in Washington.
In the garage, the players feel safe.
“Shoot, probably since May," Jake Blair, Camas High School quarterback, said. "Ever since the beginning of quarantine.”
Blair keeps the Camas circle tight while the coaches can't be around.
“Coach [Jon] Eagle actually put out just last week that we got the okay to work out in the weight room with like five guys at a time, but that got canceled like, a day before we were supposed to do it, so we can’t even do anything as a team right now," Blair said. "This is the biggest team thing we have going on right now.”
Stacking racks and pumping iron in the belief that there will be a high school football season in Clark County to defend their large school state title after what is the longest off-season in history.
“For me, personally, it’s been a while, it’s been about a year since I broke my collarbone in week eight of last year," Blair said. "Not being able to play in the fall, obviously that sucks and everything, but we’ve come together as a team and just kind of looked at it as a positive for us, and now we have a chance to improve even more and get even more prepared for this season in the spring,”
Blair has committed to be a preferred walk-on at Oregon State, while his sophomore brother, Zach, will play baseball for the Beavers, so their mom may need to ditch the University of Washington flag over the weigh bench, as both of her sons will soon sport the orange and black.
“She’s an alumni, so that’s up to her, but I am going to put an Oregon State flag over it,” Blair said, laughing.
Jacques Badolato-Birdsell, 17, moved to Camas from the Congo a decade ago.
“Camas football is a big deal around here, of course," Badolato-Birdsell said.
The powerback and cornerback was adopted from Africa, and American football has been his adopted sport ever since.
“When I came over here, I fell in love with football," Badolato-Birdsell said. "When I first saw it on TV, I didn’t know what it was, so I had to look it up then I realized it was meant for me.”
Pac-12 schools like Oregon, Utah, and Washington State University are now looking up the hulking Papermaker who still has receipts to cash on the high school field.
“There has already been teams that are wanting to beat us and already talking smack and stuff, so we just have to show them what’s up,” Badolato-Birdsell said.
Copyright 2020 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.