Skyline Spartans claim opening round in run for state title, 27-17
November 15, 2011
By Bob Taylor
Skyline High School’s football team is renowned for always having an explosive offense. However, the Spartans also know that this time of the year a team had better be playing solid defense, especially if it has aspirations of playing for a state title in the Tacoma Dome.
And Skyline always has those aspirations.
The Spartans, coming up strong on defense, moved another step closer to the Tacoma Dome Nov. 12, when they defeated the Greater Spokane League Champion, 27-17, in a first-round game in Spokane’s Joe Albi Stadium.
With the victory Skyline, 8-3, hosts Central Valley, another Spokane-area team, at 1 p.m. Nov. 19 in a Class 4A state quarterfinal. The winner of the game will meet either Union or Woodinville in the semifinals Nov. 26 in the Tacoma Dome. The semifinal winners play for the state title Dec. 3 in the Tacoma Dome.
Central Valley, 9-2, comes to Skyline riding a five-game winning streak. The Bears defeated defending 4A state champion Ferris, 23-7, Nov 12. Central Valley takes big pride in its defense. The Bears have five defensive players who earned all-league, first-team honors this season.
But Skyline’s defense, often overshadowed by the potent offense, had one of its best performances of the season against Mead.
Skyline vs. Central Valley
The Spartans overcame the elements and Mead at Spokane. Skyline survived frigid temperatures and snow flurries.
The passing game was not hindered, as junior quarterback Max Browne completed 12 of 27 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns.
Skyline also capitalized on Mead mistakes, two that came on kick returns.
The Spartans opened the second half with a kickoff that the 10th-ranked Panthers (9-2) essentially stood around and watched bounce near their sideline. Skyline junior Peyton Pelluer alertly recovered the ball before sliding out of bounds, giving the Spartans possession at Mead’s 24-yard line.
Three plays later, Browne hit receiver Mason Gregory wide open in the end zone from 11 yards as Skyline built a 20-9 lead.
Skyline opened the game marching 80 yards on 14 plays with Damian Greene running the final two yards for a touchdown.
Mead countered with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Andy Wetzel to Danny Mattingly. A safety later in the quarter gave Mead a 9-7 lead.
Skyline regained the lead in the second quarter when Browne connected with Taggart Krueger on an 82-yard touchdown pass. The Spartans, who missed the extra point, led 13-9 at halftime.
Browne’s touchdown pass to Gregory gave the Spartans an 11-point lead, but Mead cut its deficit to 20-17 with 10:49 left when Davian Barlow bolted 82 yards for a touchdown and Skyler Lookabill ran for the two-point conversion. But before the quarter was over, Skyline answered when Browne hit Jack Valencia on a 37-yard touchdown pass to give the Spartans their final 10-point margin.
For most of the game, Skyline’s defense was able to keep Mead’s fly offense in check.
Central Valley is in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2008. The Bears won the state championship in 1997.
On offense, the Bears rely on the passing of quarterback Gaven Deymarin, who has passed for 1,481 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, and running back Grayson Sykes. Both earned second-team All-Greater Spokane League honors. Tight end Anthony Brommer is the Bears’ leading receiver.
The Bears also have a standout kicker in Austin Rehkow, who has booted eight field goals this season.
However, it is defense where Central Valley has shined this season. Defensive lineman Alex McClendon, linebackers Alex Jacot and Pat Williams, and defensive backs Ryan Leone and Dustin Dach all earned first-team honors this season.