Spartans conquer Vikings 35-34
November 30, 2010
By Christopher Huber
Skyline faces rematch for another state title
Rahmel Dockery and the Curtis Vikings had the Skyline High School football team’s number in the first half of their Class 4A state semifinal match-up at the Tacoma Dome on Nov. 27.
The undefeated Vikings, of University Place, were ready to depose the perennial champion in a rematch of the 2009 state quarterfinal. And by the way Dockery and his team performed, and with the mistakes Skyline made from the onset, it looked like Curtis would run away with a victory.
But as any team that leads the Spartans at halftime learns, Skyline isn’t the same team at the start of the third quarter.
“They only know one way and that’s to win football games,” Skyline coach Mat Taylor said.
Skyline (12-1) advanced to the Dec. 4 Class 4A state championship game after eking out a 35-34 win over previously unbeaten Curtis. The Spartans play Ferris, of Spokane, in the title game.
The Bellarmine Prep-Ferris semifinal was originally scheduled for Nov. 26 in Spokane but Joe Albi Stadium was unplayable because of ice and snow. The contest was moved to the Tacoma Dome and played Nov. 29.
Like usual, many impact players, like receivers Teran Togia and Jordan Simone, played much-needed supporting roles on offense, but the game ended up, literally, in the hands of University of Washington-bound receiver Kasen Williams.
With the game tied at 28 and just 4:23 remaining in the fourth quarter, Williams intercepted a Tyler Jamison pass in the end zone and returned it to the Skyline 15-yard line. On the next play, Browne fired a pass that Williams took 85 yards for a touchdown, breaking two seemingly sure tackles along the way.
“I knew I had an opportunity to make a big play,” Williams said after the game. “It felt good.”
Williams finished with nine catches for 147 yards. Browne tallied 405 yards passing, completing 27 of 42 attempts. He was 13 of 20 for 216 yards in the second half.
“He’s got great poise,” Taylor said.
After Skyline went up 35-28, the Vikings staged a comeback of their own, completing an 11-play, nearly four-minute touchdown drive. But Curtis decided to go for two with just 27 seconds left. An extra-point field goal would have tied it at 35 and likely sent the game into overtime, but the Vikings chanced it and went for the win. Taylor said he was a bit surprised about the decision, but he ultimately had to worry about controlling Curtis’ ensuing on-side kick.
“I was just thinking about what we were going to call (for the kick-off),” Taylor said. “They were doing good things.”
Dockery and Curtis quarterback Jamison led the attack in the first half and got the Vikings out to a 21-0 lead. In the first quarter, Jamison scored on a one-yard touchdown run nine minutes in. He hooked up with Dockery on an 11-yard touchdown pass and scored again on a 48-yard pass in the second quarter after capitalizing on Skyline turnovers.
The Spartans committed four turnovers in the first half alone, including two Browne interceptions and two lost fumbles.
“We kind of started off slow,” Browne said. “We were moving the ball, but turnovers killed us.”
Curtis led 28-7 at the halftime break after Browne tossed a six-yard touchdown pass to Togia.
Skyline came out refreshed. Its defense had a fire not seen in the first half and it held the Vikings to two yards on its first possession. The Spartan offense took just two plays to score on its first possession of the second half. Browne connected with Togia for the second of three touchdowns — a 22-yarder three minutes into the half. Togia caught another one for six yards with 5:51 left in the game.
“We just came together as a team,” said Simone, who made some big plays for Skyline, including catching a 46-yard bomb from Browne in the second quarter. “Curtis had some good players.”
Dockery finished with 140 yards on eight receptions. He also rushed for 31 yards and threw a 40-yard pass.
In the end, Curtis, which relied on numerous impact players who played both sides of the ball, showed more fatigue from the hard-fought match.
“We came out firing. We just got it done, I don’t know,” Browne said. “Our conditioning kept us going.”
- 4 p.m., Dec. 4
- Tacoma Dome
- vs. Ferris
Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.