Skyline dominates in rivalry with Issaquah
November 23, 2010
By Christopher Huber
Spartans win quarterfinal match with Eagles, 42-21
Skyline High School football fans expect star receiver Kasen Williams to pull out all the stops and lead the Spartans to another victory every Friday night. That was the case Nov. 19 in a Class 4A state quarterfinal game against rival Issaquah.
Williams and the No. 1 Spartans overcame a sloppy start but managed two key fourth-quarter scoring drives to defeat the host Eagles 42-21 at Gary Moore Stadium.
Skyline, 11-1, advances to the Nov. 27 semifinals and plays Curtis, 12-0, at 7 p.m. in the Tacoma Dome. Issaquah, hoping to avenge an early season loss to Skyline, ended the season at 9-3.
“We knew what we were up against,” Williams said of the tough Issaquah team. “(But) we came out with the Skyline swagger.”
University of Washington-bound receiver Williams tied the score at 7 in the first quarter on a 30-yard fumble recovery return. But he also caught 10 passes from quarterback Max Browne for a whopping 237 yards, including three touchdown passes — 59, 46 and 51 yards, respectively — in the second half. It wasn’t so much how far Browne threw the ball, but how many tackles Williams broke after each catch that made all the difference.
“That No. 3, he’s playing possessed these last two weeks,” Skyline coach Mat Taylor said. “It took a really composed sophomore (Browne) to get the ball to him.”
Issaquah opened things up in the first when it recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff and scored six plays and three minutes later to go up 7-0. Eagle running back Taylor Wyman took it all the way on the ground and punched it in on a 1-yard run.
Wyman led the ground attack for Issaquah as the defense took it to Skyline for the first half. Wyman finished with 30 carries for 140 yards rushing, and Issaquah tallied 229 total yards in the first half to Skyline’s 133 yards.
Skyline went up 14-7 after a 20-yard Browne-to-Jordan Simone touchdown pass in the second quarter. But Issaquah came back with two touchdown passes from quarterback Brayden Bouwman. He fired first to Spencer Warren, who caught a 38-yard touchdown pass. Receiver Evan Peterson gave the Eagles a 21-14 lead going into halftime after laying out for a 14-yard touchdown catch.
“I felt like we could’ve been up 21-7 or even 21-0 at the half,” said Issaquah coach Chris Bennett. “Our effort was phenomenal.”
Bouwman threw for 126 yards in the just the first half, completing five of six pass attempts. He finished 11 of 19 for 159 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Skyline came out in the second half with a new perspective. Browne, who had thrown for just 99 yards in the first half, finished the night completing 27 of 36 passes for 409 yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
“I didn’t really change anything,” Browne said after the game. “We just weren’t playing our game (in the first half). They key to the game was I just needed to trust myself and my guys up front.”
As both teams recovered from their turnover-filled first half, the Skyline defense shutdown the Issaquah offense, allowing just 113 yards of offense. While the Eagles’ production waned, the Spartans’ passing game found success, which made up for the contained run game. Skyline receiver Teran Togia made it 42-21 when he scored on a 19-yard pass play from Browne. He also intercepted a Bouwman pass in the final minute.
“We just came out with a fire in the second half,” Browne said. “Whether it’s 99 yards (to go) or 20, you gotta get it to the house.”
7 p.m., Nov. 27, Tacoma Dome, Skyline vs. Curtis
Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.