Spartans establish their supremacy
October 22, 2008
By Christopher Huber
Issaquah’s first loss is 38-0 shutout
There’s a recurring trend at Skyline High School football games: the other team doesn’t score.
It’s not that the other team is bad — certainly not the Issaquah Eagles, ranked third in the state with a record of 6-0 coming into Friday night’s showdown. Skyline is just that good.
Such was the sentiment buzzing from spectators on both sides of the field at Issaquah High’s stadium as they watched the Spartans put the smack down on the Eagles.
Skyline’s first-team defense kept its seven-game shutout streak alive with a 38-0 win
in front of nearly 4,500 people.
“We didn’t have many penalties, didn’t turn the ball over. It was a complete game,” Skyline head coach Mat Taylor said as he exited the field.
It was one of the most anticipated games around. Fans lined up at the ticket booth hours before the game as misty rain fell. And parking was a nightmare, just like going to a professional sporting event downtown. Eager families walked a half-mile with hopes of even getting a post along the stadium fence.
No. 3 at home against No. 1 in state Class 4A rankings. Both teams undefeated coming in. This was the first true test for Skyline, a team that has outscored its opponents 296-8 in 2008. Issaquah had to leave with a blemished record.
The student sections for both schools turned out in droves. The sides traded chants, taunting each other when their own team came on to the field.
Unfortunately, for the Eagles, the game turned ugly quick.
Issaquah began the game from its 20-yard line, but had to punt after a failed third-and-long. Skyline took over from midfield and just four plays later, Spartan quarterback Jake Heaps was in the end zone on a QB keeper. Skyline led 7-0 just five minutes into the first.
With two starting wideouts and a handful of linemen not playing, Issaquah struggled early against the dominant Skyline defense.
“There were just so many breakdowns everywhere,” Issaquah head coach Chris Bennett said after the game. “We looked like a team that never played football before in the first half. We had a lot of guys who looked like a deer in the headlights. We have capable players and, you know, we didn’t play well.”
The Spartans forced another three-and-out for the Eagles. When the Skyline offense took over from its own 49, Issaquah fought hard, putting the team in a third-and-long position.
But Heaps and his receiving corps did what they do best — make crowd-energizing big plays. Heaps, who threw four touchdown passes to four different receivers, launched his first one 34 yards to Jake Knecht to go up 14-0 with three minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Issaquah took its possession into the second quarter driving, but had to punt, yet again, from midfield. What came on Skyline’s next possession is why Heaps is one of the most sought after junior quarterbacks in the nation.
On third-and-7, Issaquah defenders nearly sacked Heaps near the 10. But the Skyline phenom shed the pressing Eagles, rolled out to the left and fired the ball down the sideline to a streaking William Chandler, who finished the 87-yard play with the third touchdown of the night. If there was any pep left in the Issaquah crowd after that, it came from the dance team performance at halftime.
Issaquah channeled its frustration late in the second quarter and forced a couple of Skyline punts. The Spartans led 24-0 at the half after kicker Brian Schwartz made a field goal.
“Their defense actually did a pretty good job,” Heaps said. “We took what they gave us, and they came out and played hard every snap, no matter what the deficit was. They’re a great team.”
Heaps connected twice more in the second half with sophomore Kasen Williams and senior Gino Simone for touchdowns of 24 yards and 2 yards, respectively.
Before Friday’s game, Issaquah averaged 35 points and about 390 yards per game. After Skyline was done with the Eagles, they totaled 59 yards of offense, including -1 yard on just nine plays in the second half.
“We’ll find out a lot about who we are in the next week,” Bennett said. “This is a plain old-fashioned butt kicking. There’s no doubt about that.
“They’ve got a good team, but I don’t think we brought the best out of them tonight,” he said. “They just kind of did their thing and took it to us.”
The Spartans, on the other hand, finished with a typical 477 yards of offense. Heaps completed an impressive 20 for 27 for 308 yards passing. Chandler caught six passes for 148 yards and running back Joey Evans carried the ball 21 times for 69 yards.
“We just gotta keep staying hungry and being humble, and just be focused on the task at hand, and it’s Redmond next week,” Taylor said.
Skyline faces the 1-6 Redmond at 7 p.m. Oct. 24 at home. Issaquah looks for its seventh win when it plays at Newport (4-3) at 7 p.m. Oct. 24.
Reach Reporter Christopher Huber at 392-6434, ext. 242, or at email@example.com.