Skyline Spartans’ aerial attack grounds Issaquah Eagles

September 27, 2011

By Christopher Huber

Damian Greene, Skyline High School senior running back (left), left, holds on to the ball and spins around Issaquah High School defensive back Derek Chapman to score a pivotal touchdown during the third quarter. By Christopher Huber

Max Browne didn’t set any school passing records in week four like he did in Oregon Sept. 17, but the star junior quarterback did help the Skyline High School football team get its first win in three weeks by connecting with five different receivers for six touchdowns Sept. 23 against Issaquah.

The Spartans beat the host Eagles, 41-14, in front of a packed Gary Moore Stadium. Skyline improved to 1-0 in KingCo competition and 2-2 overall. Issaquah fell to 0-1 in KingCo and 3-1 overall.

Skyline’s win came after it lost its previous two games to Bellevue and Lake Oswego, Ore.

“We knew we needed to get this thing back and rolling,” Browne said. “We prepared well. We settled down and trusted our play calls.”

Issaquah scored first, on a 21-yard passing play from Eagle quarterback Ethan Kalin to sophomore receiver Derek Chapman. Skyline had turned the ball over on downs on its first possession, but down 7-0 with 6:02 left in the first, it took the ball 80 yards in nine plays and finished with a 13-yard Browne-to-Andrew Giese scoring strike.

The Spartans settled for three more points on the board a little more than a minute into the second quarter on a Sean McDonald 35-yard field goal.

Issaquah scored with 4:39 left in the half on a Kalin-to-Jack Gellatly 14-yard pass play to make it 14-10 Eagles. Issaquah looked confident heading into halftime.

But Skyline ended up leading 17-14 at halftime after Browne connected with receiver Matt Sinatro for a 7-yard scoring strike. Sinatro, a junior, stepped in for an injured Nic Sblendorio and ultimately tallied 117 yards on seven receptions.

“He stepped into the role,” Browne said.

The second half was a different story.

Browne said Skyline recognized Issaquah’s 3-4 defensive scheme early on and adjusted.

“We gotta step on the gas pedal,” he said.

And they did.

While Skyline gained just 166 yards of total offense in the second half, its defense held Issaquah to just 60 yards. It often had a short field to work with, capitalizing on two of Kalin’s three interceptions.

Running back Damian Greene put Skyline up 24-14 in the third quarter after catching an 8-yard pass from Browne. Chase Premone deflected an Issaquah punt and gave Skyline the ball at the Eagles’ 33-yard line. That resulted in a touchdown just 14 seconds later after Browne aired one out to wide receiver Trevor Barney to make it 31-14. Barney finished with two touchdown receptions.

The performance seemed to clear up some worries for Skyline players and coaches.

“We just gotta erase everything from the last three weeks,” Skyline head coach Mat Taylor said.

Unable to get anything going on offense, Issaquah went three-and-out twice and turned the ball over three times, first to Skyline’s Adan Lopez and then to Brandon Crandall. In the fourth, the Eagles strung together a promising drive, but fumbled to Skyline on a pass play with just more than 2 minutes left.

Browne finished the game 30-for-42 for 361 yards passing, with one interception. Kalin completed 16 of 29 attempts for 189 yards.

“We just came out flat in the second half,” said Jake Bakamus, who caught seven passes from Kalin for 72 yards. “They made adjustments. We didn’t capitalize.”

Christopher Huber: 392-6434, ext. 242, or chuber@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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