Skyline quarterback Max Browne uses last season’s title-game loss as motivation

August 31, 2011

By Mason Kelley

NEW — 9 a.m. Aug. 31, 2011

For all the things Max Browne accomplished as a sophomore, it is the one thing he didn’t that pushes Skyline’s quarterback.

When the 2010 Class 4A state title game ended with Ferris claiming a 24-16 victory over the Spartans, Browne didn’t drop his head, at least not right away. Instead, he turned to the Saxons’ sideline. He watched them celebrate.

“Some people may think it’s crazy,” he said. “But it definitely fueled me.”

From that moment on, through every workout, camp and practice, one thing has continued to carry him: Get it back.

“His dedication to this team is unbelievable,” Skyline coach Mat Taylor said.

Browne was so determined to improve, the 6-foot-5, 205-pound junior went through 2 ½-hour basketball practices and still made it to offseason football workouts. After one weightlifting session, Taylor said, “It’s OK to go home.”

“I’m a captain,” Browne replied. “I need to be here. I want to be here.”

The Spartans are a favorite to win their fourth state title in five years in large part because of Browne’s leadership.

“He got to learn from one of the best (former Skyline star Jake Heaps, now the starting BYU quarterback), so he got to see how Jake commanded the offense and the leadership skills he would use to communicate with the receivers and the linemen,” Taylor said.

Last season, with tremendous targets in Kasen Williams (now at Washington) and Jordan Simone (a walk-on at Washington State), Browne threw for 4,182 yards and 50 touchdowns.

This year, his receivers are different, but Browne and Taylor like the depth Skyline has at the position.

“We’ve got guys filling roles, some guys who, quite frankly, it’s pretty unexpected,” Browne said. “They’re doing a great job.”

His teammates are following their leader, a player some already predict could be the top quarterback in the 2013 recruiting class.

“With his production, at 6-5 and his arm strength and everything else, I would have to say he would rank No. 1 for the next class,” said CBS recruiting analyst Tom Lemming.

Lemming has been spot on in the past, saying the same thing about Jameis Winston, the Hueytown, Ala., senior who is rated either No. 1 or 2 in the country, depending on the scouting service.

“Peyton Manning, Tom Brady — Max is in that mold,” said former UW quarterback Taylor Barton, who trains Browne through the Barton Football Academy. “The bigger kid, the stronger arm, but he has good enough footwork in the pocket to buy that extra split second. That’s all you really need.”

More important to Browne than his national ranking and all the praise he has received is the 2011 season and Skyline’s goal to bring a championship back to the Plateau.

“To end the streak, there’s no denying not getting the fourth consecutive state title, that was a big loss,” Browne said. “It’s kind of fueled this offseason for Skyline and our goal is definitely to get it back.”

Get it back. That’s all that matters.

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