Issaquah, Skyline to face off in powerhouse battle

September 20, 2011

By Bob Taylor

NEW — 10 a.m. Sept. 20, 2011

Issaquah High School football coach Chris Bennett knows Skyline is better than its record shows and that concerns him.

Bennett’s Eagles and the visiting Spartans collide at 7 p.m. Friday in a big KingCo Conference 4A confrontation in Gary Moore Stadium.

The contest is the league opener for both teams. Issaquah enters the game with a 3-0 overall record. Skyline meanwhile is off to an unusual start. The Spartans are 1-2 on the season, having lost their last two games.

“The difference is that two of Skyline’s losses were to two pretty good teams,” Bennett said of Skyline’s losses to Bellevue and Lake Oswego, Ore.

“I think Skyline probably knows a lot more about its team than we do about ours because two of our wins were against Heritage and Ballard,” Bennett said. “In both games, we had our starters on the bench for most of the second half. We weren’t tested like Skyline was.”

Issaquah certainly had an easy time Sept. 16 when it walloped Ballard, 55-15, in Seattle’s Memorial Stadium. The Eagles had the contest wrapped up early, rolling to a 41-7 halftime lead.

Senior quarterback Ethan Kalin completed 14 of 25 passes for 189 yards and five touchdowns.

“Ethan has been throwing the ball great for us,” Bennett said.

Reed Peterson hauled in seven of the passes for 108 yards and scored two touchdowns. Sophomore running back Jack Gellatly complemented Kalin’s arm by rushing for 79 yards and three touchdowns. Gellatly had one run called back because of a penalty.

“If we had gone to him more, he probably could have rushed for 300 yards. He has really run well for us this season,” Bennett said of Gellatly.

Issaquah’s defense has played well to date, but the Eagles figure to get their toughest challenge of the season. In particular, Issaquah has yet to face a quarterback of Max Browne’s caliber. The Skyline junior has completed more than 80 percent of his passes this season. He passed for a school-record 459 yards Sept. 16 against Lake Oswego.

“Max is the best quarterback I’ve seen come out this league. He not only has that great arm, but he has great feet in the pocket. He has great composure. He never panics,” Bennett said. “Skyline lost its super star (Kasen Williams) from last season, but it has a lot of good receivers who Max can throw to. We also have to worry about the run. (Damian) Greene is very explosive. We will have our hands full.”

Skyline has won the last five meetings between the two teams. Issaquah’s last victory against Skyline came in 2006.

“I think this will be another great game. It is a big game because if you want to have a chance to play for the league championship, this is one of the games you need to win,” Bennett said. “Both teams will want to win this game. There should be a big crowd. The atmosphere will be electric.”

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