Jackson Clemmer uses his height, speed, and strength in a breakout season for the senior wide receiver
CAMAS — Jackson Clemmer describes the passes thrown to him as perfect.
He got perfect passes from Jake Blair before Blair went down with an injury.
He gets perfect passes now from Blake Ascuitto, the new starting quarterback for the Camas Papermakers.
Together, they have helped Camas to a perfect season through 12 weeks of the 2019 high school football season. The Papermakers hope to make it 13 wins in a row when they take on Mount Si in a Class 4A state semifinal at 1 p.m. Saturday at McKenzie Stadium in Vancouver.
The Papermakers have aimed high all season, this Revenge Tour thing they love to promote. That 5-5 season in 2018 is in the past. Their expectations this year have always been sky-high.
A lot of those passes Clemmer has caught this season are up there, too. After all, a perfect pass to Clemmer is about 7-feet high, allowing the 6-6 Clemmer to go get it, far from the reach of smaller defensive backs.
Last season, Clemmer played on the JV team in Week 1. Eventually he worked his way to quality minutes on varsity, even started a few games, but was not yet the No. 1 target for the Papermakers.
This season, he is closing in on 1,000 yards and he has 15 touchdown receptions in 12 games.
“A year ago, I was never expecting this at all,” Clemmer said. “I expected a little bit more action as a receiver, but nowhere near the amount I’ve got so far.”
He is yet another example at Camas of a player waiting for his opportunity and then seizing the moment. Players such as Clemmer are the reasons the Papermakers are perennial playoff contenders.
Still, it took a while for Clemmer to fully understand his potential. He figured basketball would be his main priority in sports.
A couple of years ago, Camas football coach Jon Eagle gave Clemmer something to consider. The world is full of 6-6 basketball players. There are only a handful of 6-6 wide receivers with great hands and footwork.
Don’t get the wrong idea. Clemmer still enjoys playing basketball. And Eagle has always been for multi-sport athletes. The coach was just trying to let Clemmer know that if he also focused on football, Clemmer would have more options.
“When he was younger, when he looked in the mirror, he didn’t see the same thing that his coaches could see,” Eagle said. “He’s beginning to realize the impact in a game he can have.”
Clemmer now wants to play football in college. He does not yet have any offers but has been in discussions with a few teams, including a Division I program.
Clemmer credits Luc Sturbelle and Shane Jamison, seniors last year, for keeping him in the loop during all the practices last year. Those two are college players now.
Then, over the summer, Clemmer said things started to click for him in 7-on-7 drills with Blair and Ascuitto.
“I realized I had to step it up,” Clemmer said. “It’s my senior year. I’m the guy now.”
He became the guy almost immediately with a 100-yard game and two touchdowns in Week 1.
His numbers might have been even better if his team was not so dominant. The Papermakers routinely have had the game in hand in the second half in eight of their 12 victories.
Take last week’s quarterfinal, for example. Clemmer caught six passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. With the Papermakers up big, he did not get a target in the second half.
He said an injury in August allowed him and Blair to bond more during the defensive drills in practice. Blair was not in on the drills and Clemmer was waiting to get healthy. So they “goofed around” a bit, Clemmer said.
“That helped the chemistry between us,” he said.
Blair was injured in Week 8. Since then, Clemmer has caught five touchdown passes from Ascuitto.
“I’ve been playing with Blake from flag football and then middle school,” Clemmer said. “We have a natural timing with each other.”
A connection with the quarterback is beneficial, but it always comes back to hard work. Clemmer said success, real success, does not come automatically. One must put in the work. He did just that for years, even if he wasn’t sure of his own potential.
Today, he is one of the top targets for one of the top teams in the state.
“This team means everything,” Clemmer said. “This is truly my second family. I’m with them every day for two-and-a-half, three hours. I could spend every day outside of football with them. A fun group of guys on and off the field. We know we have each other’s backs.”
It has been a perfect season so far for Clemmer and the Camas Papermakers.
Together, through work and high expectations, they hope to keep it that way.